The heart is an amazing organ of the human body. According
to the Texas Heart Institute, “The heart weighs between 7 and 15 ounces (200 to 425 grams) and is a little
larger than the size of your fist. By the end of a long life, a person’s heart
may have beat (expanded and contracted) more than 3.5 billion times. In fact,
each day, the average heart beats 100,000 times, pumping about 2,000 gallons
(7,571 liters) of blood” (http://www.texasheartinstitute.org/HIC/Anatomy/anatomy2.cfm).
The heart has four chambers. The upper chambers are
called the left and right atria, and the lower chambers are called the left and
right ventricles. A wall of muscle called the septum separates the left and
right atria and the left and right ventricles. The left ventricle is the
largest and strongest chamber in your heart. The left ventricle chamber walls
are only about a half inch thick, but they have enough force to push blood
through the aortic valve and into your body.
Doctors tell us that in order to have a healthy heart,
it is important for us to eat low fat foods, get plenty of exercise, get the
proper amount of rest and keep our bodyweight at a healthy amount for our
In the Bible, the word heart is used numerous times. However,
the term seldom refers to the blood-pumping organ of the human body. Alexander
Cruden states, “the word heart is used in Scripture as the seat of life or
strength; hence it means mind, soul, spirit, or one’s entire emotional nature
and understanding” (Cruden’s Complete
Concordance 290). In Matthew 15:19 Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (emp. mine).
Jesus is not saying it is from the blood-pumping organ that these evils are
devised, but rather from the mind. In a person’s mind, a righteous idea or an evil
idea is created, and then those thoughts proceed with righteous or evil
actions. Just as it is important to have a healthy, physical heart to live a
healthy, physical life, it is important to have a healthy, spiritual heart to
have a healthy, spiritual life.
The four physical chambers of the heart must work
together properly to result in a healthy status. The following are four
spiritual chambers of a healthy spiritual heart.
The Thankful Chamber of the Heart
In Psalms 100:4,
the shepherd David wrote, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His
courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.” Christians have so
much for which to be thankful. We could never list all of our blessings for
they are too numerous. We have the redeeming blood of Christ, our church family
and a peace that passes understanding (cf. Ephesians
1:7; Acts 2:47;
Philippians 4:7). We ought to be
thankful to God for these things. We should also be thankful to others. Whether
we are driving in traffic, at work, at home or in a restaurant, we should have
a heart of thanksgiving. A healthy spiritual heart is one that is thankful.
The Forgiving Chamber of the Heart
Webster defines forgiveness as to “grant pardon for
(something) or to (someone)” (The New
American Webster Handy College Dictionary 217). It is the idea of letting
go or leaving. Christians need to have a nature of forgiveness. The Bible tells
us that if a brother is repentant for something he has done to us, we need to
forgive him (cf. Luke 17:3). We
all can relate to doing something wrong, in word or deed, to another. We must feel
regret and grief for our wrong and seek forgiveness. Jesus says, “…if you do
not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). Only God can forgive sins, but Christians need to
have a heart of forgiveness when someone
has done wrong to us and is remorseful. A healthy spiritual heart is one that is
The Repentant Chamber of the Heart
This chamber of the heart is one of regret and carries
with it a willingness to change. When Christians sin, we not only feel sadness,
but we are ready to turn our ways around and change. “Godly sorrow produces
repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:10). There are people today who refuse to let
their sinful deeds and sinful words give them a feeling of remorse; thus they
have chosen to harden their hearts and live as they want, making no changes. This
is not a healthy spiritual heart—one that pleases God. A healthy spiritual
heart is one that is repentant.
The Faithful Chamber of the Heart
The apostle Paul, through inspiration, wrote in Galatians 5:22 that Christians need to have a
spirit of faithfulness. To be faithful means to be loyal to or have fidelity or
faithfulness toward. Christians must be faithful to God and Him alone. We do not
have any other gods nor do we put anything before God (Luke 16:13). Our service
to God must come before everything else. Once a person has been baptized and
lives his/her life for Jesus, they do not leave Jesus for the worldly life
again (cf. Luke 9:62). We have a
faithful heart, one that follows Christ in good times and in bad, in sickness
and in health, until death (Revelation 2:10). It is the quality of faithfulness
that Jesus rewards as He says: “Enter into the joy of your Lord” (cf. Matthew 25:21-23). Having a heart of faithfulness
is a prerequisite to receiving the “crown of life” (cf. Revelation 2:10). A healthy spiritual heart is one
that is faithful.
Just as it is required of one to implement certain
behaviors into life to keep his/her physical heart healthy, so a person must
work at having qualities of thankfulness, forgiveness, repentance and
faithfulness to have a healthy spiritual heart.
Cruden, Alexander. Cruden’s Complete Concordance. Philadelphia: John C.
“Heart Anatomy.” Texas
Heart Institute July 2007. <http://www.texasheartinstitute.org/HIC/Anatomy/anatomy2.cfm>.
Morehead, Albert and Loy, ed. The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary. New York: Morehead