THE Bible makes many references to the human heart. It proclaims the merits of a pure heart; a heart made new through Christian growth and practice; a sound heart; an understanding heart. Contrariwise, it warns against hardness of heart, a proud heart, a heavy heart, a heart rebellious against God and His commandments, a heart given over to selfish, worldly ambitions. Of course, such verses refer metaphorically to the heart as the seat of motives, affections, desires. Yet heeding their counsel can have a profound effect on physical health, including the health of the heart. An examination of the instances of spiritual healing recorded in the Bible shows that there is a connection between the state of one's thinking and one's physical well-being. For instance, Christ Jesus clearly indicated the importance of quieting fear as a basis for healing. Once he told a man whom he healed of a longstanding illness to stop sinning -- obviously addressing the need for a change of thought. At other times, Jesus commended such qualities as faith, gratitude, humility.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gleaned from her study of the Scriptures the important relationship between Christlike, spiritually based thinking and physical health. In answer to the question, ``Do you believe in change of heart?'' she gives this poignant response: ``We do believe, and understand -- which is more -- that there must be a change from human affections, desires, and aims, to the divine standard, `Be ye therefore perfect;' also, that there must be a change from the belief that the heart is matter and sustains life, to the understanding that God is our Life, that we exist in Mind, live thereby, and have being. This change of heart would deliver man from heart-disease, and advance Christianity a hundredfold.''1
Christian Science teaches that what is vital to our existence is God Himself. In divine reality God, Spirit, is the source and substance of all true being; and His creation, man, is purely spiritual, immortal. We lose the fear that a bodily condition can destroy us as we come to understand these spiritual facts and purify our sense of existence.
We might do well to ask ourselves: What is my central purpose today? Am I working to advance myself or to serve God and humanity? Are my plans in harmony with God's will -- that is, are they the outgrowth of prayerfully listening for divine guidance? Are my motives honest and pure? Are my feelings toward others tender? Am I loving all those I think of? A sincere willingness to examine our hearts in this way and to submit even our most cherished feelings and desires to God's, divine Love's, transforming power contributes to healing.
Fundamental to all Christian healing is a change of heart, a heart transplanted from merely self-centered concerns to a more God-centered purpose for living. Jesus emphasized this need when he summed up the whole law of God in two brief commandments: ``Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.''2
God loves each of us, and His love never fails. It could be said that our God-given function is to express His love. As this function occupies more of our time and attention, we learn the joy of living to love. And Christian history has proven that this has a health-giving, revitalizing effect on our lives.
1Miscellaneous Writings, p. 50. 2Matthew 22: 37-39; see Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23