1. THE HEART—ESSENTIAL FOR MAINTAINING LIFE
a. Why is the heart key to maintaining health? Proverbs 4:23.
“Perfect health depends upon perfect circulation.
“The more active the circulation the more free from obstructions and impurities will be the blood. The blood nourishes the body. The health of the body depends upon the healthful circulation of the blood.”—Healthful Living, p. 178.
“The love which Christ diffuses through the whole being is a vitalizing power. Every vital part—the brain, the heart, the nerves—it touches with healing.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 115.
b. What does the heart represent spiritually? What effect does the spiritual heart have on spiritual health? Luke 6:45; Isaiah 26:3.
“Diligent heart-keeping is essential to a healthy growth in grace. The heart in its natural state is a habitation for unholy thoughts and sinful passions. When brought into subjection to Christ, it must be cleansed by the Spirit from all defilement. This cannot be done without the consent of the individual.
“When the soul has been cleansed, it is the duty of the Christian to keep it undefiled.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1157.
2. DISEASES OF THE HEART
a. How is arteriosclerosis (the most frequent cause of disease and death in the world) produced, and how can we prevent it? Leviticus 3:17; Genesis 1:29.
“Flesh meats, butter, cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods, and condiments are freely partaken of by both old and young. . . . The blood-making organs cannot convert such things into good blood.”—Healthful Living, pp. 180, 181.
“When properly prepared, olives, like nuts, supply the place of butter and flesh meats.”—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 359.
“A bad circulation leaves the blood to become impure, induces congestion of the brain and lungs, and causes diseases of the heart, the liver, and the lungs.”—Healthful Living, p. 180.
“Catarrhal difficulties, kidney disease, headache, and heart troubles are the result of immoderate eating.”—Ibid., p.181.
b. What are some of the diseases of the spiritual heart? Ezekiel 3:7 (last part); Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 16:5.
“Can anyone think it possible that pride can exist in the heart and yet that heart have a place in the kingdom of God? It was pride that caused the fall of Satan. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty.”—The Signs of the Times, February 5, 1894.
c. What reveals the state of a person’s spiritual heart? Matthew 7:20; 12:34 (last part); 15:18, 19.
“Our thoughts are to be strictly guarded; for one impure thought makes a deep impression on the soul. . . . If the thoughts are pure and holy, the man is better for having cherished them. By them the spiritual pulse is quickened, and the power for doing good is increased. And as one drop of rain prepares the way for another in moistening the earth, so one good thought prepares the way for another.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 222.
“Not only our words and actions, but our thoughts, make up the picture of what we are.”—Child Guidance, p. 563.
3. THE APPROPRIATE TREATMENT
a. If a person is diagnosed with heart disease, how should we speak to him or her and what should we say? Proverbs 25:11.
“Those who argue for the policy plan will not enlighten the suffering one as to the nature and cause of the disease which has seized upon his body. They should, with tact and wise discrimination, with tenderness and love for his soul, open to him the reason of his sickness, and then seek to enlighten his mind, that he may bring his appetite and passions under the control of reason, and find a sure remedy for every malady in Jesus Christ.”—Pamphlet, no. 167, p. 27.
“The chief if not the only reason why many become invalids is that the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in the vital fluid which are necessary to life and health do not take place. They have not given their bodies exercise nor their lungs food, which is pure, fresh air; therefore it is impossible for the blood to be vitalized, and it pursues its course sluggishly through the system.”—Healthful Living, p. 180.
b. Who diagnoses the state of the spiritual heart? Jeremiah 17:10. What is the recommended treatment? Ezekiel 36:26.
“When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart?—a changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride.
“One of the most earnest prayers recorded in the Word of God is that of David when he plead, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God’ (Psalm 51:10). God’s response to such a prayer is, A new heart will I give you. This is a work that no finite man can do. Men and women are to begin at the beginning, seeking God most earnestly for a true Christian experience. They are to feel the creative power of the Holy Spirit. They are to receive the new heart, that is kept soft and tender by the grace of heaven. The selfish spirit is to be cleansed from the soul. They are to labor earnestly and with humility of heart, each one looking to Jesus for guidance and encouragement.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, pp. 1164, 1165.
4. PERMANENT HEALING, IN THE FUTURE
a. Although any physical healing on this earth is only temporary (including that performed by Jesus and by the apostles), when will the healing be permanent? Revelation 22:2, 14; 2:7.
“The fruit of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden possessed supernatural virtue. To eat of it was to live forever. Its fruit was the antidote of death. Its leaves were for the sustaining of life and immortality.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 988.
“The transgression of God’s commandments deprived man of all right to the tree of life. Christ died, that by virtue of His blood, obedience to God’s law might make man worthy of the heavenly benediction, and grant him a right again to the tree of life.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 88.
b. How much can a person do in cleansing and purifying his or her spiritual heart? Proverbs 20:9; Jeremiah 13:23.
“O, that all might realize that without Christ they can do nothing! . . . Our actions have a twofold influence; for they affect others as well as ourselves. This influence will either be a blessing or a curse to those with whom we associate. How little we appreciate this fact. Actions make habits, and habits, character, and if we do not guard our habits, we shall not be qualified to unite with heavenly agencies in the work of salvation, nor be prepared to enter the heavenly mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare; for no one will be there except those who have surrendered their will and way to God’s will and way.”—Christian Education, p. 92.
c. What is God able to do for us in this regard? Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 51:10.
“But to him who by patient continuance in well-doing, seeks for glory, honor, and immortality, God will render eternal life.”—The Signs of the Times, September 24, 1894.
d. What is the promise to the pure in heart? Matthew 5:8.
5. THE REMEDY FOR SPIRITUAL HEART DISEASE
a. What must we do in order to have true healing of the spiritual heart? Psalm 32:5; 1 John 1:9.
“God requires that we confess our sins and humble our hearts before Him; but at the same time we should have confidence in Him as a tender Father, who will not forsake those who put their trust in Him. Many of us walk by sight and not by faith. We believe the things that are seen but do not appreciate the precious promises given us in God’s word; and yet we cannot dishonor God more decidedly than by showing that we distrust what He says and question whether the Lord is in earnest with us or is deceiving us.
“God does not give us up because of our sins. We may make mistakes and grieve His Spirit; but when we repent, and come to Him with contrite hearts, He will not turn us away. There are hindrances to be removed. Wrong feelings have been cherished, and there have been pride, self-sufficiency, impatience, and murmurings. All these separate us from God. Sins must be confessed; there must be a deeper work of grace in the heart. Those who feel weak and discouraged may become strong men of God and do noble work for the Master. But they must work from a high standpoint; they must be influenced by no selfish motives.”—Gospel Workers (1892), pp. 411, 412.
b. When does God want us to experience this healing? 2 Corinthians 6:2.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What do we understand by the word “heart,” from a spiritual point of view?
2. What are the main causes for disease of the physical heart?
3. What does it mean to have a new heart, in a spiritual sense, and why is it necessary to completely replace the old heart?
4. What is the only type of character that God values, and why?
5. When and how is the full healing for the physical heart achieved? When and how do we have true healing of the spiritual heart?