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Vol.  10  No. 3 March 2008  Page 13
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Priscilla's Page By Marilyn LaStrape *Editor's Note*

Julene NulphChambers of the Heart

By Julene Nulph

    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 stature.

    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 forgiving.

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.

Works Cited

Cruden, Alexander. Cruden’s Complete Concordance. Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1949.

“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 Publications, 1981.

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