(Photo by Selma Komisky)
4 Lessons on Maintaining Spiritual Heart Health
Taking Up the Breastplate of Righteousness
By Sarah Komisky
I’m fascinated with battle scenes in films. Think Braveheart, The Patriot, Narnia, Gladiator, and Robin Hood. There is something about these scenes that intrigue me. I guess I love the bravery displayed. The valor to fight for a cause, the fearlessness that is possible, and the epic victory that occurs! I cheer with Mel and throw a fist pump in the air as Russel Crowe defeats the enemy. I’m right there with Merida, shooting some arrows in Brave! But what happens in my own life when the enemy shoots an arrow my way and it’s aimed at my heart?
Back in the day, the breastplate was used to as full protection to the vital organs including the heart, the lungs, the pancreas, and the liver. They say that most of the weight of the full armor a solider or knight would wear would be concentrated in the breastplate area! The ancients also believed this was the “seat of emotions,” as well as the seat of a person’s will, beliefs, and attitudes. In Charles Stanly’s book, “When the Enemy Strikes,” he writes, , “A person cannot live if the heart is penetrated by a sword or arrow, or if the lungs are punctured by an enemy weapon. Death is immediate, and efforts of resuscitation are rarely successful.” Therefore, it is essential that we learn how to use this awesome spiritual weapon and that begins with the choice to walk in righteousness (or right living). While we are made righteous because of a relationship with Christ, we must also make choices that align with God’s heart to gain ground in our spiritual lives. So let’s begin by exploring some ways we can avoid an assault to the heart in guy/girl relationships.
**Note: Although guys can wrestle with these heart issues as well, I’m going to focus on females since our makeup is generally more prone to struggle in this area. But guys, sick around! I invite you on the journey too and hope it gives you a little insight as well. Let’s begin!
Leading with Your Heart
An artist named Alice Peacock has this song that illustrates this point supremely. The lyrics say: “Leading with my heart again/I’m leading with my heart again/I don’t know if I’ll lose or win/But I’m leading with my heart again. Putting my mind on hold/Yeah, I’m putting my mind on hold/I could be risking my very soul/But I’m putting my mind on hold.” Later she sings, “I’m leaping before I look…It may not be the same chance you took but I’m leaping before I look.” Eek!! That is the tragic reality of what it looks like to lead with your heart! While the world may chant “follow our heart,” it doesn’t tell us it’s an unreliable guide leading to a dead end. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart is “deceitful above all things.” When our emotions are invested, we can often fall unbeknownst to us into a pit when our heart is directing us. While our emotions are there and do speak, they don’t have to drag us around! God didn’t call us to lead with our emotions, He calls us to let Him lead. Although emotions are normal and good in the appropriate context, we must be careful not to go with everything we feel because our feelings can deceive. Instead, bring our feelings to God and let Him guard them.
Giving Over Your Heart
I once was visiting my cousin who had a friend over who was venting his girl troubles. Come to find out he was asking for advice after he bought roses for a girl he just met a few days ago. He was hoping she would be “the one” and wanted some feedback. Unfortunately, this hopeless romantic type was rushing too soon into romance with someone he did not yet know or feel the way he did. My heart hurt for him! This is why the Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” (Matthew 6:21). Those we invest in, we naturally treasure. So, we have to be careful how we invest our heart and who we’re investing it in. If we place it in the wrong hands, we are guaranteed heartbreak. As Adele poignantly penned, “You had my heart inside of your hand (you’re gonna wish you never had met me). And you played it to the beat (tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep).” This is isn’t pretty. It’s the ruined state we leave our heart in when we place it in the wrong hands. The heart is not to be tampered with. God knows how heart health is vital to our very being! So, it is necessary to guard it and be choosey about who we give it to. While I unfortunately can’t promise your heart will never get broken, I can say that you can prevent unnecessary heartbreak from occurring by choosing wisely who you give your heart to.
Sharing Your Heart
I have guy friends and I love chatting with them. Their perspective on things is something I truly value because as guys, they think and see life differently than I do. So, it’s their insight that really helps balance and compliment me. However, when it comes to conversation, I do consider what I share. Regardless of who the guy is, I like to interact in circles. You see, women tend to like deep conversations where they can share their heart. This is where the fine line comes in with emotional attachment. Secondly, I’m careful about the words I do say. For females, words are everything. They hold great meaning and depth and we can hang on them quite easily to bond, be consoled, affirmed or encouraged. Therefore we have the propensity to fall quickly with the words said to us. The problem is, sometimes guys say things that don’t really mean what we think they are saying. A compliment could just mean he’s being nice, not that he likes you. I’ve had many friends throw out the word “love” in the “you’re my awesome friend kinda way.” See the meaning is quite different. While conversation with the opposite sex can be great and life giving, we need to watch our words. The Bible says to guard your heart with all diligence because out of it flow life. Oversharing prematurely or to the wrong person can reap great devastation to our heart. Also, using words that can connotate another meaning or be taken the wrong way for a guy or girl is something we need to be careful of in order to protect both parties emotionally.
Neglecting Your Heart
When our heart is neglected, we are susceptible to all kinds of trouble. This includes not making time to rest, spend time with God, share openly and honestly with Him, and not being re-filled with His love. All these things can lead us to act out and search for love in the wrong places. Instead, God wants to be the source. Colossians 2:10 says we are “complete” or “full” in Christ. Ephesians 3:18-19 says, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Knowing we are supremely loved and running to the Source to fill us first will make us complete and fill our hearts. While it’s easy to run to get caught up in life and get distracted, we need to make time to let God nourish our hearts. If not, we are less prone to recognize the arrows the enemy of our soul is aiming at our heart. His goal is to steal, kill, and ultimately destroy (John 10:10). His doesn’t care about your heart. So, be ahead of the game and protect what is vital to your soul and course in life.