Vol. 7, No. 2
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
~ Page 16 ~
Coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death in women today. Webster's Talking Dictionary defines "coronary" as "of or pertaining to the heart. 2. a. pertaining to the coronary arteries." This dictionary further defines "heart" as "a muscular organ in vertebrates... that receives blood from the veins and pumps it through the arteries to oxygenate the blood during its circuit." "Disease" is defined as "a disordered or abnormal condition of an organ or other part of an organism resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, nutritional deficiency, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness. 2. any harmful condition, as of society." Thus, "coronary heart disease" would be any physical ailment that affects the heart or the surrounding arteries. Currently, much research, money and effort is expended to educate women about this national killer. Women are encouraged to alter their eating habits and lifestyles to lower their risk of contracting coronary heart disease.
Statistics show men have more heart attacks, but women are more likely to die from a heart attack with a ratio of 25% deaths for men to 38% deaths for women. "Coronary heart disease claims the lives of 248,184 females annually" in this country. As tragic as this may seem, there is another form of heart disease that is not covered in these statistics and has far reaching consequences. Spiritual "heart disease" will cause one to lose his or her soul in eternity.
The spiritual heart is not the pulsating pump that pushes blood through our arteries, giving life to our bodies. The spiritual heart is the brain, which, when educated through knowledge and experiences, decides what and when we will do the various activities of life. Just as we must take care of the physical heart to sustain life on earth, we must also take proper care of the spiritual heart to sustain life in the hereafter.
Our physical heart becomes diseased when we fail to maintain a nutritional diet for a healthy body. Our spiritual heart will also become diseased when we fail to feast upon the Word of God. The apostles Paul and Peter used the terms milk and meat (physical food) to explain the spiritual diet one must eat (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Peter 2:2). One of the duties of elders is to feed the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2). When we willingly miss worship services, Bible classes, Gospel meetings and the many other opportunities to feed on the Word of God, we are setting ourselves up for "spiritual heart disease."
Unfavorable environmental factors can affect our physical hearts. Our spiritual hearts are affected when we allow ourselves to become involved in activities and around individuals that encourage us to forget God. Continued association with individuals who fail to acknowledge and who curse the one true God, view pornography, use vulgar language and practice immoralities will eat away the armor that is to protect our spiritual heart (Ephesians 6:11-18).
Likewise, abnormal conditions will affect both the physical and the spiritual hearts. The continual bombardment of the eyes and ears with pornography, vulgar language, sexual activities and other immoralities through movies, television, radio, internet, magazines, etc. will desensitize our spiritual hearts, pulling us away from God's way of life for us.
Just as an infection in the physical body can affect the heart, the infection of sin can affect the spiritual heart. Sin, for which we do not repent, can weigh on our spiritual heart, separating us from God (Isaiah 59:1-3).
There are many symptoms and indications of physical heart disease. Likewise, there are symptoms of spiritual heart disease. The most noticeable is choosing to spend more time with people of the world who pull us away from God than with Christians who will uplift and encourage us to serve God. Jesus stated in Matthew 6:21, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Jesus went on to explain that we cannot be faithful and loyal to God and the devil at the same time (Matthew 6:24). God wants our whole heart, not a part of it (Psalm 119:2). Our words and our actions are the outward expression of what is in our spiritual hearts (Matthew 12:33-36). What is the condition of your heart?
Many times the physical heart is permanently damaged through disease or heart attack. This is not true with the spiritual heart. God can heal and restore the spiritual heart no matter how damaged it may become through neglect and abuse on our part. If we will obey the Gospel, ask God to forgive us of any sin committed after baptism and make a renewed effort to study the Bible, applying it to our lives, God will make our Bible hearts free from spiritual disease and defect.
Webster's Talking Dictionary, CD-Rom. Exceller Software Corp, 1996.
Women and Coronary Heart Disease. American Heart Association. 29Mar. 2005 <http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2859>.