These days, amidst the global pandemic that has affected us all, we are hearing over and over again to ‘stay safe’ and ‘take good care’. We are being reminded to ‘wash and sanitize our hands’; ‘practice physical distancing’; ‘wear a mask’; ‘essential travel only’; ‘stay home’; ‘work from home’ and, depending on where in the world you reside, this verbiage changes based on local virus activity.
We are also hearing a lot about how to cope with the isolation we may be experiencing due to lock-downs, socializing limits, and activity cancellations. Exercise, ZOOM-calls, outdoor recreation, new hobby learning are some of the suggestions being offered.
All these suggestions are good and aid in our physical and psychological health but they do not deal with a central area of our lives that needs constant attention whether there is a pandemic raging around us or not; that being the heart. Our inner person, the invisible part of us that no one sees yet is laid bare before the Lord Jesus.
How do we take good care of our hearts? How do we keep our spiritual lives healthy, active, and growing?
Here are a few things we can do whether we find ourselves amidst COVID-19 or not:
1) Read the Word regularly
2) Speak with the Lord continually
3) Forgive each other quickly
4) Respond in obedience immediately
5) Rejoice with thanksgiving ALWAYS
Staying in God’s Word allows the Holy Spirit to use it to guide, remind, correct, encourage, reveal, answer and challenge us. It’s a vessel He uses to speak to our hearts (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Any healthy relationship requires good communication and lots of it. Speaking to the Lord, praying to Him keeps the lines of communication open between Him and us. Being in fellowship with Him is a means of getting to know Him better as well as receiving and hearing from Him directly. It helps to keep the relationship growing (James 4:8).
Quickly forgiving those who have wronged us does not allow for any seeds of bitterness to grow or take root in our hearts. Bitterness and animosity towards people and situations can harden hearts and dull them to hearing the Holy Spirit speak. The sin of pride acts as a barrier between us and God as it postures us in a place of self-importance that is not in line with Christ’s character (Matthew 6:6, James 4:6). This too is why responding in obedience to the Lord promptly is an essential aspect of ‘heart health’. For it is with reverence, humility, and surrender, we allow the Lord Jesus to direct our actions, responses, and decisions as we acknowledge His right to do so, believing that He is working out His GOOD & PERFECT will in and through us while bringing glory to Himself (Ephesians 4:32, Hebrews 12: 14-15, Psalm 112:1).
To rejoice with thanksgiving causes us to recall to mind who Christ is, all He has accomplished for us, and who we are in Him. It takes our focus off of ourselves and onto the only One who is truly worthy of our praise. We don’t wait until we ‘feel’ like rejoicing, we set our minds and hearts on the truth of Who He is and all He has done and discover that the byproducts are joy and thankfulness. (Phil 4: 4–7).
As we navigate this international health crisis or Lord willing, find ourselves on the other side of it, adopting or continuing with these daily practices, they will help in keeping our hearts healthy and our fellowship with Jesus growing all the days of our sojourn here on earth (Prov 3: 5-8).
By: Elizabeth Joslin