The Importance of a Heart Examination

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Scientific study and research reports are a staple of news media. It could be the latest indicators of climate change, or some new insight for a healthy life.

One report tells of the danger of certain foods that drive cholesterol up, then another report seems to contradict the first one.

As noted by many, the health and fitness industry is a popular and lucrative one. We're also reminded that heart disease continues to be a top health problem.

But what about the heart issues spoken of in the Bible? They're not related to cholesterol, diet, or exercise, but they are important.

Scripture

The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the lordhe guides it wherever he pleases. People may be right in their own eyes, but the lord examines their heart. The lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices. Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin. [vss 1-4]

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap. The violence of the wicked sweeps them away, because they refuse to do what is just. The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road. It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. Evil people desire evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them. [vss 5-10]

If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded become wise; if you instruct the wise, they will be all the wiser. The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked; he will bring disaster on them. Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need. [vss 11-13]

(Proverbs 21:1-13 NLT) [Context– Proverbs 21]

Key phrase— The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than...sacrifices

[bctt tweet="The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than...sacrifices"]

Digging Deeper...

Which verses speak of the heart, and what is said about it?

What contrasts do you see in these verses, and how are they related ton one another?

What descriptive picture language stands out to you in these verses?

Which of these verses describe attitudes and motives that move a person to certain actions, or prevent them from doing what is right and just?

Reflection...

You've probably heard expressions like, "Good health is everything, " or "...priceless," or "...better than wealth." But is this true? I believe it's a blessing to have good health, and I'm conscious of that.

But, if I'm just healthy on the outside (my body and physical heart), and not on the inside (my mind and inner heart), how is that good?

Physical health is valuable while I'm physically alive, but my soul will outlast my body. More than that, our internal, spiritual health has a direct impact on our physical health, as well as our attitude and behavior.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again to consider and answer the following questions

Do you ever take time to examine your heart, your motives, and attitudes?

Do you ever find yourself struggling to do what you know is right to do?

How do you determine what is valuable and important in your life, and what are these priorities based on?

Are you willing to evaluate what fills up your life and time, and what your actual priorities are?