Ellen, a friend who is in her 40s, was recently driving to work when she suddenly felt an overwhelming chest pain. Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack, she drove herself to a nearby hospital, where her fears were confirmed.
After her surgery, her doctor said that she was one of the "lucky" ones. She had suffered and survived the type of heart attack that he called a "widow maker."
Now there's another type of hidden killer, but instead of attacking the body, it strikes the soul. We are told in Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?"
What are the symptoms of this type of heart disease? Discontentment … self-righteousness … bitterness … envy … . If the initial signs are ignored, the ultimate result may be death—of a relationship, a marriage, a family.
The older I get the more I realize that my heart needs daily examination. Although I'm a Christian, I naturally lean more toward sin and my heart is proud. Psalm 101:2b admonishes, "I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart."
If you're like me, it may be time for a "heart" check-up. Here are ten questions that I want to regularly ask myself, to be sure that I have a healthy heart:
1. Am I beginning this day realizing that I am a sinner, saved by grace?
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8, ESV)
2. Will I pray about everything today, knowing that nothing is too big or too small for God's counsel?
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
3. Will I ask God for His help today?
I seek Your precepts. (Psalm 119:45b)
4. Am I really aware that not only will my family and friends be naturally sinful today, but so will I?
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
5. Will I give grace to others today in the same way that I want to receive it—quickly and without restraint?
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
6. Do I want understanding that leads to wisdom, or answers based on incomplete knowledge?
My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding; That you may observe discretion And your lips may reserve knowledge. (Proverbs 5:1-2)
7. Am I consciously aware that my citizenship is in heaven and that we live in a fallen, imperfect world?
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)
8. Will I put Jesus Christ on the throne of my life today, allowing Him to work and love through me, and giving Him all of the glory?
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
9. Am I going to follow Jesus' example today and not demand my rights?
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8, NIV)
10. Will I weigh my responses on eternal scales—does a particular thing really matter?
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
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