My Dad has been in pretty good shape all his life. We were talking about how he hasn't had a full physical since.. well.. he can't remember when. The navy, 50 years ago? It was a long time. After he retired, his diet got progressively worse, and he exercised less. Still, this was a BIG surprise for him.
Heart ProblemsI've been thinking off and on lately about the message in Revelation to the Church in Ephesus - 'You've lost your first love.' Or, in another translation, 'You lost the love you had at first.' They had a heart issue, and God was calling them out. The Ephesians were doing everything right: persevering, doing good deeds, working hard, not tolerating wicked people, and enduring hardships for Jesus. Yet He had this one concern - they had lost the love they had for Him at first.
Weeds & NeglectWhere do most heart problems come from? I'm no expert, but after reading Rick W's Daily Hope entry for today, neglect is probably one huge factor in developing heart problems - either physical or spiritual. For my Dad, neglecting a consistent physical checkup, his diet, and the amount of exercise he was getting probably contributed to what happened last week. Spiritually, Rick compared this to letting weeds grow around you. Rick says 'You don’t have to cultivate weeds. They grow automatically, don’t they? In fact, weeds are a sign of neglect. If you see weeds in your yard or garden, it means you’re not tending it. The weeds in your spiritual life reveal that you’re neglecting time with God.'
It makes me stop and think: What is consuming my thoughts? Am I constantly thinking about finances, or worried and anxious about things that don't really matter? Is my life just too busy with 'things'? Perhaps they are even good things, but are they what God wants for me today? Did I take time to stop and listen to Him today?
Time for a Check Up?That scripture in Revelation about the Church in Ephesus has always bugged me a bit. How do I know if I've left my 'first love'?
Giving this some thought, three questions come to mind that help me do a 'check up' and see the state of my heart... or how my garden looks:
- What am I thinking? Someone, somewhere recently made a reference to this passage and laid it out this way for me... What are you constantly conscious of in your mind? Or, what does you mind always return to? This cleared things up for me, somewhat. At least now I don't feel condemned every time I read this passage.
- Am I taking time to rest & listen? Kind of the opposite of exercise, I know. I guess I could consider this exercising my relationship with God, and what better discipline could I be doing? If I'm stressed and uptight about things, my mind and my attitude isn't going to be in a good spot for listening & resting. I need to 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication make my requests known to God, so that He can guard my heart in mind.' A bit of a paraphrase, but makes total sense to me.
- What kind of fruit is my life exhibiting? Am I stressed? How am I dealing with people around me? Am I laughing a lot, or am I short tempered - leaving disharmony, distress, and hurt people in my wake?