A Healthy Heart

“…be ye holy; for I am holy.”  I Peter 1:16 (AKJV)

The American Heart Association has designated February 5, 2016 as “National Wear Red Day” in an effort to raise awareness of heart health.  There will be no shortage this month of articles, commercials, websites, recipes, and numerous other resources to alert us to matters of the heart.  Just as we strive to keep our physical hearts as healthy as possible, let’s not forsake our spiritual hearts.  As the Great Physician gazes on mankind, what exactly does He consider to be a healthy spiritual heart?
My ponderings led me to seven traits:

  • Holy Heart:  I Peter 1:16 tells us “…be ye holy; for I am holy.”  (AKJV).  Now there is no way that I can even come close to being as holy as God is; but I can strive to have a holy attitude toward Him, giving Him the reverence and worship He so richly deserves.  My actions need to be holy, too — since I am His child, I need to act in a manner that reflects that fact.  We tend to imitate whom we worship, so since He is holy, we should make every effort to live in the same vein.
  • Soft Heart:  My heart should be like a potter’s clay ready for the wheel, soft enough to be kneaded and molded.  In today’s society, it’s very easy to be hard-hearted and become apathetic and self-centered.  Spending time daily with the Master Potter will help keep a heart soft and pliable.
  • Loving Heart:  It’s easy to love the people we like; but what about the folks we don’t particularly like?  A co-worker who constantly irritates us?  Or the dirty, smelly, homeless man who asks you for money?  How about the guy who cut you off in traffic yesterday?  Yes, loving can be hard — we have to remember that we choose to love; it isn’t based on feelings.
  • Obedient Heart:  This heart involves looking and listening for the urgings of the Heavenly Father, and then obeying them.  Once we recognize that His will is what’s best for us, it becomes easier to obey.  So….stop, look, and listen.
  • Servant Heart:  No doubt about it: today’s society is selfish.  We live in an “it’s all about me” world.  Watch for opportunities to serve others, even if it is something as simple as opening a door for someone.  When your heart is willing to actually look for the opportunities, you will find them.  In serving others, we serve our Creator.
  • Humble Heart:  According to Webster, one of the definitions of “humble” is “exhibiting deferential or submissive respect.”  In other words, to have a humble heart, I must recognize that God is bigger, better, and smarter than I am — and in control of everything, including me.  By giving Him control, I am recognizing His authority.
  • Forgiving Heart:  I’ve saved the best (and possibly, the biggest challenge) for last!!  Let’s face it:  sometimes forgiving can be REALLY hard.  Just this week my feelings were deeply hurt by something someone said in an email to me.  I chose to forgive that person, but the hurt feelings are still there, even though they are subsiding more and more each day — hey, no one said forgiveness was an immediate thing.  Just as we choose to love, we also choose to forgive.

 

Well, there you have it:  7 hearts and 7 days in a week.  So begin today and choose a heart from the list above and give it your best shot; tomorrow pick another heart, and so on….

…and if you would like to attend a heart-warming event this month, then station yourself in front of your TV on Feb. 15-16 for the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which airs live from Madison Square Garden in New York City. These adorable creatures are guaranteed to soften your heart!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

(c) 2012 Leslie O. Kelley Revised and reprinted by permission, January 25, 2016.

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