Heart disease kills many people. Several risk factors for heart disease are behavioural and so under our control. Health campaigns urge us to change our lifestyles in order to reduce our chances of developing heart disease.
Our Sick Hearts
In the Bible a person’s heart means more than a physical organ. The Bible refers to our hearts as the source of thinking (Matthew 9:4), emotion (John 16:22) and moral conscience (Hebrews 10:22).
However, the natural state of our hearts is extremely unhealthy. An Old Testament prophet said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Jesus reiterated this view in Matthew 15:19.
This problem is so acute that an untreated heart leads inevitably to destruction.
Whilst we cannot help being born into this sick and sorry state, we can help what we do about it. In His great mercy, God has provided the one and only remedy—the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 5:21). This can solve our terminal problem. But we need to accept this solution in the way specified by God. So God tells us to repent—to change our way of thinking, which in turn will change our behaviour. This is so important that in the New Testament ‘repentance’ is mentioned in 53 verses. Repentance must be followed by baptism (Romans 6). And by reading God’s word and learning about Him and the Lord Jesus we can start to purify our hearts (James 1:21–22; 4:8). If we do this then we remove the inevitability of extinction because God offers us eternal life (Ephesians 2:4–9). Whilst we can never earn this amazing gift we must try hard to live godly lives (Romans 12:2).
By changing the way we live we can reduce our chances of early death by heart disease. It is certainly worthwhile to stop smoking, eat sensibly, exercise, and avoid stress. However, by doing this we can at best gain only a few years on what is a short existence. By changing the way we think and behave—that is by adopting God’s health plan—we can receive eternal life in His future most wonderful Kingdom on earth. This is the most important health campaign we can ever embrace. Let us be fully persuaded and respond in faith—RIGHT NOW!