*This blog was supposed to be on praying for our husbands, as part of the end of the three part series I began. However, I felt a continual urging to write on something different. I will finish the three part series next time, but I pray this blog will impact you all in some way.*
Signs and Symptoms to Watch For
Almost 50 years ago, my dad had his first heart attack at the age of 52. Dad was always one to not want to worry my mom or his three daughters. So, he kept symptoms to himself that he had been experiencing and prepared for his heart attack. The doctors kept saying he was fine, but dad knew down deep there were some serious problems happening.
This past year and one-half has been one the longest in most of our lifetimes! It was obvious there were very serious problems brewing. However, now that the vaccine is approved and circulating and the restrictions are slowly being lowered, some of the consequences or the unintended fall out, due to a continual barrage of negative media coverage that scared or frustrated us all, the going in and out of lock downs multiple times, mixed messages on mask wearing and vaccines, and just the pure exhaustion of it all, seem to be surfacing. It is sad to see anger and hurt that is dividing family and friends because of two opposing thoughts on an opinion or belief.
There is a palpable lack of patience between friends and family. I believe these are all symptoms of a heart issue that we each have. Just as my dad knew down deep he had a heart issue, scripture tells us that our hearts are not trustworthy. I know I have had thoughts many times over the past year that I wanted to blame someone and wanted to see them pay for the pain and suffering we were all enduring, as well as the feeling of loss of control in our lives. Great evidence of my own heart running amuck.
Dad’s symptoms caused him to not be the dad we were used to, just as our symptoms cause us to not be who we are called to be. Scripture warns us what the consequences would be if we were not prepared to fight the “heart sickness” that can creep in when we aren’t looking. Just as dad prepared for a possible heart attack, could this be a perfect time to look inside our hearts and evaluate the condition of our hearts during this upside down time? Writing and preparing for this blog has opened my eyes in many ways regarding my thoughts and behaviors over the last few months and I am not proud of what I am seeing. ☹️
The heart is mentioned hundreds of times throughout scripture. It is referred to as the inner man, the soul, the fountain of all a person does. All our thoughts, desires, words, and actions flow from deep within us. According to Jeremiah 17:9, man cannot even understand his own heart. It says the heart is deceitful (crooked or polluted). However, we still tend to rely and depend on what our heart says. It is easy to justify our feelings and decisions…..right or wrong. Satan is at work causing and promoting disunity among God’s people by keeping us thinking about ourselves.
In the book of Philippians Paul was writing to the church of Philippi. This was a church he had started. He was stressing how important it is to be united in spirit. He said, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (verse 2). United in spirit means “one-souled.” This can happen if we abide in Christ. If we listen to Paul, he is saying we should be of one mind to exalt Christ, to have the same love for each other regardless of situations, differences of opinions, or circumstances. United in spirit and intent on one purpose is a key point here. Our united goal should be to impact unbelievers by how we love each other. Our communication should be different. We are to show kindness and unity. This will bring a much better outcome in the process. Then God will be glorified. We are sacrificing on behalf of our brothers and sisters, just as Christ sacrificed for us. This is the gospel with feet, hearts, and hands.
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgives you.”
Ephesians 4:1-3: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Colossians 3:12-14: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
As you can see…love and unity are important because these words are a direct command to us. It does not say when you feel like it, or when the pandemic is over, or when the mask issue is figured out. These words are top priority! Spoken directly to us! For a specific purpose…to show that we can work out our faith in how we treat one another, keeping us unified through the Spirit.
HEART CHECK: What symptoms might you be having? Unforgiveness? Loss of patience and kindness? Wanting things your way? Difficulty in loving someone?
This takes a determined mindset and awareness of what is going on in our hearts. It means we look around us and pay attention to what others might be feeling or needing. Be alert! Praise God…God can do anything. He can put love in our hearts for those we disagree with; give us humility and forgiveness; and unify us with love for each other. Because of the Spirit, we can live in this messy world and still bring honor to God
Ladies, I challenge you, as well as myself, to pray for those who are afraid, have a difference of opinion, for the employers and church leadership who are struggling to make the best decisions they can in a constantly changing environment, and a softening of our hearts toward others to maintain the unity of God’s people. I pray that as we seek God’s Word, we ask for the Spirit’s help that we will represent Him well in a world that desperately needs Him.