This is me with my oldest son, off on a morning walk to try and get back in
shape! (9/28/2013) The blaze orange vests are because hunting
season is starting and we don't want to be mistaken for deer.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
The Condition of the Heart - (Updated 9/29/13)
(Originally written 2/27/10...one of my very first blog posts)
Proverbs 12:25: "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad."
Proverbs 14:30: "A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones."
Proverbs 15:13: "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Proverbs 17:22: "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones."
Nowadays the grocery stores are full of "heart-smart" foods, and there is much emphasis on being "heart-smart"....in other words, eliminate cholesterol and fat from your diet, eat properly, exercise regularly, and take care of your heart! I recently had my cholesterol checked, and discovered that is was much higher than it ought to be. Of course, when we get over the age of fifty, nearly everything is higher than it ought to be...weight, blood pressure, body-fat composition, our unpaid bills...etc. About the only thing that isn't as high as it ought to be is our bank balance!
But back to the heart...as I read over the above Proverbs, I had to agree with the writer in every situation...the condition of my heart has a lot to do with the attitude of my heart. If we have anxiety in our hearts, we will become depressed...but when someone shares a word of encouragement with us, or we read in God's Word His encouraging words, it helps to dispel our anxieties and depression. Our fears are taken away, and our countenance changes to joy. Likewise, if we have envy or jealousy in our hearts, we become bitter and critical of others. We begin to complain about the "breaks" that others seem to get, while we suffer away, stuck in our little mundane world of mediocrity. It does become like rottenness inside of us, eating away at our hearts and making us very unpleasant people to be around. A broken spirit is not really a positive thing in this particular instance. Certainly we are not to have a haughty and proud spirit either, but what I believe is being referred to here is a spirit that is so defeated and cast down that the person just cannot or will not overcome it. We begin to literally dry up, shrivel up, if you please, and are no longer able to maintain a cheerful countenance. Our faces become permanently fixed into a frown, and it looks as if the whole face would crack if we tried to smile!
Have you truly looked at yourself in the mirror lately? What did you see? A cheerful face? A person ready to face the new day with joyous anticipation...or with dread and anxiety? Is it easy to smile at yourself in the mirror and laugh at your crows' feet that are appearing...or is there a frown that just won't go away, even with a concerted effort? Often when I am going through some difficult trials, I find that my face actually beings to hurt. The jaws become sore and painful from clenching my teeth and grinding them in my sleep. My jowls begin to droop, and my lips turn downward in a tight frown. The space between my eyebrows becomes tightly furrowed and compressed, and my eyes tend to squint and tighten. Then when I even try to smile, it actually is painful. The muscles won't cooperate because they have been forced in the other direction too long. By the sorrow of my heart, my spirit is broken. By the envy I feel for others, my bones begin to ache and rot. They actually feel like they are dry and cracking. My heart becomes heavy with depression because of my anxiety, and I no longer feel the joy of living. It's quite an ugly picture, I agree.
What can be done to bring back the joy...the merry heart, and the cheerful countenance? Must I just wait until the trial is over, or can I experience joy in the midst of sorrow? First, I must determine the source of the sorrow...is it self-induced by envy, needless anxiety, bitterness, fear? If so, I need to get to the root of the trouble. If there is unconfessed sin, confess it. If there is unforgiveness, forgive. But if the trial is brought on by the fact that you are who you are, a servant of God, then cast your care upon the Lord...know that He cares for you (I Peter 5:7) "Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."(I Peter 4:13)
And SMILE! :)
Let your heart become a good medicine to bring back the cheerful countenance and dispel the gloom! Remember, God is able!