|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on February 16, 2020 at 7:00 PM|
Guarding Your Heart Spiritually and Physically this American Heart Month
It is February 2020, and all across America, we are celebrating American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and so this month is dedicated to building awareness and encouraging Americans to take action to improve their heart health. So, in a recent meeting, I asked participants what they were planning to do to keep their hearts healthy in 2020. I heard lots of plans to get to the gym, buy and use a Fitbit, eat more fruits and vegetables, start yoga, eat less sodium., reduce stress, laugh more, etc. But, my ears perked up when one attendee said she wanted to work harder to guard her heart. Wow, this came almost out of the left-field, but it resonated with me. So, I later spend time considering how if any I was guarding my heart. Also, since guarding the heart is a biblical recommendation, I wondered how many Americans had experienced heart disease or related conditions, because they had refused to guard their hearts. Have you ever wondered this yourself? I am sure you have! If you are still with me, you might be wondering how one guards one’s heart.
I am glad you asked. In Proverbs 4:23, if read and understood in the context it is written, biblical scholars believe that this instruction is to not just guard our hearts, but to guard the godly instructions within our hearts. Not only that, but we are told that God’s instruction “is your life” and “they are life to those who find them”. A heart full of sin and foolishness does not have life flowing from it. Only when our hearts are full of his truth and love will life flow from our hearts. Therefore, to guard our hearts according to the Bible, we must guard the truths and biblical instructions God has placed within our hearts through the Holy Spirit illuminating the Scriptures. In simple terms, you do this by protecting your heart from sin at all costs.
The CDC (2018) recommended that to improve heart health, Americans should do the following: 1) stop smoking or don’t smoke; 2) manage conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc.; 3) make heart-healthy eating changes. By eating food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium. Filling half of one’s plate with vegetables and fruits and choosing lower-sodium options; and 4) stay active! Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up the 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks.
These are great ways to physically guard one’s heart and all evidence-based behaviors
that I work to follow each day. But, guarding one heart’s spiritually in practical terms is done by guarding the godly deposits that are there. Of course, we can see what is in a person’s heart by looking at the fruits of the spirit that is evident in their life. Yes, being patient, kind, long-suffering, and forgiving is more difficult, but this will go a long way in improving overall health and longevity, and shows more than anything else that we are guarding our hearts.
So, this Heart-month, I challenge you to consider how you can guard your heart spiritually and physically, and how you can use micro-resolutions to keep you motivated to continue the healthy behaviors your start this month, for the rest of your life. I would love to hear from you about how you guard your heart. So, send us your tips and tricks for keeping your heart healthy this month and all year long.
To Good Health!