Heart Disease in the United States
About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack #2
“It’s time for your annual”- An email crosses my computer. Thanks to technology we no longer have to remember that it’s time to go to the doctor to receive our yearly check-up. And guess what- I’d never had to remind my doctor to check my heart as it is the number one cause of death per statistics. To add, I was speaking with a medical friend who advised that even at medic clinics- if a patient reports heart or chest pains, they will send them to the emergency room immediately! So this here, is nothing to play with!
Now there are circumstances where we can’t unfortunately help the condition of our heart like being born that way. For example, I recall several athletes who were taller than the norm and had different variations of heart conditions one specifically called the Athlete Heart Condition in which the human heart is enlarged, and the resting heart rate is lower than normal. Athlete's heart is common in athletes who routinely exercise more than an hour a day, and occurs primarily in endurance athletes. The condition is generally considered benign, but may occasionally hide a serious medical condition, or may even be mistaken for one. Ouch, let’s focus on the “may hide a serious medical condition.
Don’t shoot the messenger, but I believe we need to continuously conduct a heart check on our own hearts. By way of examining trigger points that may drive us to anger, frustration, shame, and even fear because this could be the very footstool to give access to the enemy. Hence, it becomes even more crucial to guard your heart. In fact, we have a responsibility to do this as Proverbs 4:23 tells us, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" (NIV). The Hebrew definition for “guard” means to keep; watch; preserve. We can easily get in the habit of “doing life” or even “living our best life” that we don’t realize that something negative has crept into our heart. Some of those things not only affect us, but they can hurt or hinder others as well. The longer an issue, or heart condition, is left unattended the deeper its roots go. Then it becomes harder and harder to resolve. However, the good news is, we can prevent that with God's help.
Frequent check-ups will enable us to identify and act on those issues quickly – both physically and spiritually because we never know what will happen in the course of one day or the next. For instance, the longer we wait in between physical check-ups with the doctor, the more likely we could be allowing a chance for something minor to turn into something major. Likewise, we need to learn to keep our hearts spiritually right so that we will be able to maintain peace no matter what the day brings. Conducting spiritual heart "check-ups" on a regular basis can consist of having honest 1-on-1's with ourselves to check pain and/or pressure points and even our motives. Working with the Holy Spirit allows us to keep our hearts pure and in good condition so we will be able to glorify Christ with our actions.
Contrary, if this goes unchecked then heart failure could soon be the result. Thanks to Jesus, spiritual heart failure can never result in spiritual death for the believer. Jesus can replace the heart of stone with a heart of flesh by the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). That new heart is receptive to the things of God and voice of Christ, and will beat into eternity.
Testing of the Heart
Tests are administered to find out what’s going on the inside of something or determine its level of functionality. Referring back to my annual physical, the doctor again checks my heart by running certain tests. Those tests are designed to discover if anything is wrong or confirm that everything is okay. There are also spiritual tests, and they could look something like when you do something you're not very proud of and after reacting you thought, “I can't believe I did that or I can't believe I reacted that way!”. God allows these situations to happen to show us what's in our heart aka "test". He doesn't do it to shame or embarrass us. He just wants us to see what's going on so we can face our issues, deal with them with the help of the Holy Spirit, and grow stronger in Him.
How do we address spiritual heart failure? Prescription for each symptom is found in the Word of God and begins by approaching the Great Physician, asking Him to “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23–24). Also, we have the power to choose life as in Deuteronomy 30:19 states "this day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Let’s choose life and commit to identifying the condition of our hearts so that we can continue to exemplify Christ in our daily walk. R.U.N.?