(Heb. 13:9; Prov. 4:23)
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23).
The physical heart is not just a muscle; It is the body’s engine room, responsible for pumping life-sustaining blood via a network of vessels. It sends oxygen to the entire body. The heart is an amazing pump; it beats 72 times a minute. It is truly the spring of life. When it stops life stops with it. It is the center of our emotions. As such it is the symbol of goodness or meanness. At the act of one’s goodness, it is said to be from a heart of gold. But it is there that bitterness is harbored and evil springs forth. A carrier of life in the physical, the heart is also a receiver of good and evil in its emotions. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things and perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it (Jer. 17: 9). The tendency of the heart is to be evil. It is in agreement with the ingenerated soul of men which comprises the mind also. It is hard to understand that a body organ so vital to bring life is also a haven to harbor corruption, destruction, and bitterness. Solomon admonishes us to guard the heart with all vigilance, because the heart is vulnerable to all things. The heart receives and the mind processes whatever enters the heart of men. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to hold our thoughts captive into obedience to Christ and to have a renewed mind. That in itself is guarding the heart. We are what we think in our heart. As the heart is, so is man. The mind, the master controller of the body, is key in guarding the heart. When the soul is mentioned, it is implied to be the heart and the mind, that is, emotion, will and intellect. We feel with the heart, we desire with the heart and we think with our mind. Heart and mind are inseparable in their functions.
Who would think that good news would have an effect on the bones? Emotions, the carrier of whatever happens, have a way to internalize news- good or bad on the bones. The mind receives everything that looms around it and translates into happiness, joy, contentment, and more, or worries, fears, anxiety, bitterness and more, depending of the kind of news that are flying around, personal or not. The body receives the happy news as nourishment to the bones, but the bad news stirs the negative emotions and establishes them in different parts of the body, destroying it with diseases. If not dealt with, it will continue from generation to generation, as in the sin of iniquity, leading to inherited physical diseases. There is a connection between a stuck emotion and certain diseases that we must rid of, not to suffer the consequences. Since the body is intrinsically connected, it will feel the emotional and the mental pains through diseases. We have learned that the emotion translated as worry lodges in the stomach, weakening it to be vulnerable to serious problems. So, it is that when the stomach suffers, the digestive system also suffers. The emotion of fear is lodged in the kidneys. But fear, can be very destructive to other organs besides the kidneys. Fear, they say is physical. It affects the heart by quickening its beat, by increasing the pulse and the blood pressure; by changing the breathing patterns – shortness of breath or rapid breathing. (Well ahead blog). Many of us are unaware of the correlation between anger and the liver. As a matter of fact, the way we feel and express our emotion shows the state in which the liver is in. The emotion of grief is the emotion affecting the lungs. When we hold onto grief too long a time, like any other emotion, grief will become stuck, causing the constriction of breathing and of the chest, bringing discomfort to the lungs. Long time contraction of the lungs will affect the dispersion of nutrient to the body. Stress, the culprit of many diseases, is lodged in the heart. When stress lasts for a while, the heart will respond with high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Happy emotions will affect the bones, as Solomon said, Good news nourishes the bones; a happy life- happy bones; depressed life, unhealthy bones as in arthritis, brittle bones as in osteoporosis and several other bone diseases, including cancer. We see in this short summary that our body is not immune from what happens in the world, or around us.
The spiritual blindness of the soul has embraced the world, creating turmoil and chaos; when right is wrong and wrong is right, we know that confusion has taken its toll on people, for the lies of today’s life style has touched them all. The obviously, seemingly so, is not so for many, for choosing not to see that which stands right before their eyes, refusing to accept the truth. As in the days of Israel, when the nation behaved contrary to God’s commandments, they saw, but they did not perceive the true meaning of what they had seen. In YAHSHUA’S day on the earth, He dealt with his disciples for acting blind to what they had seen and heard. The disciples, representing the nation of Israel, continued blind, missing on many things that was expressed by our Lord YAHSHUA. They had seen many things, but perceived none. In several occasions, He called their attention to their spiritual blindness. When they saw YAHSHUA walking on water, they failed to recognize Him and were taken by fear. They failed to consider or understand [the teaching and meaning of the miracle of] the loaves; in fact, their hearts had grown callous (Mark 6:50,56). On another occasion, YAHSHUA clearly told them about His coming death, calling their attention by saying, Listen! We are going to Jerusalem, and all things that are written about the Son of Man through and by the prophets will be fulfilled. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles and will be made sport of and scoffed and jeered at and insulted and spit upon; they will flog Him and kill Him; and on the third day He will rise again. But they understood nothing of these things; His words were a mystery and hidden from them, and they did not comprehend what He was telling them (Luke 18:31-34). Peter, in his spiritual blindness, took YAHSHUA aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You! (Matt. 16:22). YAHSHUA knowing that Peter’s words had come from Satan himself, rebuked him by saying, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in my way; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men (vs.24).
Man, without God is lost in his corrupted mind and heart, without direction as one blind in the midst of chaos. Created in God’s image, he chose to give it up to go his own way, or the way of the serpent- the devil, to the point of discrediting the very existence of God. When Adam heard the news through his wife, he didn’t seek God for answers. He decided to eat the forbidden fruit with her. Man then lost the image of God. They hid themselves, instead. Feeling ugly and guilty for the decision they had made, then in the awareness of their nakedness, they were ashamed. Hiding from God was their solution to their problem of committing the first sin. Sin that separated them from the Creator, Who often came to the garden to talk to them. Their action of disobedience broke their relationship with God; they no longer had Him to visit them. Separated from the glory of God, Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, never to enter it again. They suffered two separations: from God and from the beautiful place, the Garden of Eden, where they lived. It must have been a place like heaven, free from sin and misery it causes. Free from weeds, bugs that destroy; a soil that was perfect and easy to manage, where Adam and Eve benefitted from for their sustenance. Who would like to change it? Satan did. The enemy of humankind had one goal in mind: to destroy men’s relationship with God and take them under his control. As a result, we all became a fallen race from that time on and needing to return to God for our spiritual, physical and mental restorations, through a relationship with Him. You see, God longs to have fellowship with us; He longs to bless us; He longs for us to call on Him in times of trouble. The Psalmist said, Test and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who hopes in Him (Ps. 34:8).
Hope, as I have said before, is a product of faith. It feeds on it to be alive in every circumstance that presents itself. When hope is deferred, the soul is affected and the heart, too. The word deferred means to put off or drag out, as hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Prov. 13:12). One example of hope deferred is found in the life of Jacob, after he labored for seven years to marry Rachel, only to end up with her sister, Leah. Imagine the emotional pain he suffered! Seven years of hope and then been deferred is hard to swallow. That’s the hope that the world offers. Despair and anxiety with depression is often the fruit of a deferred hope. Man in his sinful nature, offers nothing that is not tainted with his sinful nature. Applying hope on the wrong dream, on the wrong person and on wrong things, often results in disappointments. We all have suffered from deferred hope embed in false promises from jobs, relationships, family and friends. Everything in this world that originates from man, is prone to be uncertain and deserving of wisdom on our part. In whom to believe? It is the question echoing in the voices of those depraved of hope, for having had bad experiences. If the hope we have is only on the physical world, we are most miserable and hopeless people, for hope that comes from God is hope that brings us joy, and peace. By believing in Him, His Holy Spirit will empower us to abound in hope (Rom. 8:24-25).