Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me.

Psalm 51: 10

Heart disease is a killer, both men and women die from it every day, and entire
floors of hospitals are devoted to its treatment. There are drugs, diets,
exercise programs, and stress management plans that are intended to increase
heart health and to overcome the existing bad effects of our lifestyles. This
is all good stuff; God wants us to take care of our bodies; yet, none of
this deals with the most fundamental of issues. When people do not know
God on a personal basis, when they have not surrendered their minds and
hearts to Him, their orientation is toward the darkness that is evil by
nature and that creates a state of perpetual death. When we are at
this place in life, God’s response to the plea in this Psalm is to ask us to
come to Him, accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and accept Him
into our lives.

After we have come to the place where we do know God on a deep and an intimate
basis, we still need to look to Him for direction, orientation, and the
strength to live in a righteous manner. It is as if our
arteries begin to become blocked by the build-up of plaque that is the
result of misdirection, selfish ambition, hurtful interaction, and lustful
desires. Our heart muscles are weakened by the stress of attacks by evil,
and our best intentions for preventative exercise and for consuming a
healthy diet for the soul are subverted.

The first step to take in seeking to rebuild a healthy heart comes by recognizing
the need. We need to talk with God about the issues and the aspects of life
that are distracting us from looking Him squarely in the face; share the pain
and the frustration that is creating stress; and allow the voice of
the Lord access to our minds and to our hearts so that truth can drive out the
misinformation that Satan has been planting there.

Like all life style change and improvement programs, this process takes time, and it
won’t always go perfectly. In my experience, the unfortunate aspect of all
of this is that I am the one who makes the decisions about following the
health plan, and I continually follow the path of much of humanity and
have a bad track record of inconsistency. The best aspect of it all is that God
never quits on me. He always puts me back on the program, and when
the heart-felt pains that result from my inattention come back,
the Lord eases the guilt and the sorrow, and He even helps me
lift my tired feet to start me on my heart muscle strengthening walk with