By Sarah Williams
The other day I received a text from my doctor’s office. “It’s time to schedule your annual wellness check,” it read. I thought to myself, “I have a million things to do, and that’s not even close to what I want to work into my schedule right now.” Our routine rhythms of screening and testing for wellness may not be our favorite things on the agenda, but they can be critical in detecting early markers of problems that are much easier to resolve early rather than in advanced stages.
This goes beyond physical health; it also applies to our spiritual health. In the same way we commit to caring for our bodies, we also need to be aware of the state of our souls. Regular check-ins with the greatest physician, Doctor Jesus, will help us with the issues of the heart, restoring the places that have been broken and bringing cold and stony parts back to life. Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Did you catch that? Your heart determines the course of your life! In other words, everything we do can be traced to what is going on in our hearts.
What does it mean to guard your heart? The word guard in the original language means “to watch, to preserve, to look at and examine, and to guard from dangers.” When was the last time that you examined your heart? Are you aware of any dangers that are trying to invade? Following are five checkpoints that will aid you in assessing your heart health. As you read them, invite Jesus to help you evaluate. He knows your heart better than you do and is eager to lead you to wholeness. Pray this as you go through these points:
Jesus, I invite you to help me examine my heart today. You said that you came to the earth to lead us to abundant life, and I trust you in this moment to help me see anything that is hindering me from walking in that promised fullness of life. I choose to open my heart to you and allow you to speak into my heart what I need to see and know.
- What do I need to repent of?
Repentance is not just being sorry for something; it is a change of thinking that results in a change of behavior. God wants to invade your mind with His kindness in order to transform you! His love burns for you to encounter His truth so you can see your life and destiny as He does.
“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2, NLT).
“God’s kindness leads you to repentance [that is, to change your inner self, your old way of thinking—seek His purpose for your life]” (Romans 2:4, AMP).
You can pray this prayer that King David prayed and then quiet your heart to listen to what God wants to show you.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV).
God, what do I need to repent of?
- Whom do I need to forgive?
Forgiveness is vital for walking in freedom and wholeness. It is impossible to receive all that God has for you if you have an unwillingness to release those who have hurt you. Sometimes unforgiveness is stuffed and buried so deeply that we don’t realize it is there. It is important to give God the opportunity to scan our hearts to reveal any of these hidden areas that we might not have dealt with. When we receive His help to remove offense, it creates room for Him to come in and minister to those places, resulting in greater wholeness.
- When preparing to walk in forgiveness, it is important to remember that forgiveness is a CHOICE, not an emotion or feeling. It does not mean that the person who hurt you is “off the hook” or not accountable for their actions. But it means that you give up your right to be the judge. Instead, it allows you to extend grace as you hand the person to God and let Him be the judge. As a result, you are relieved of the burden of hurt you have been carrying and are freed from a prison of torment. It closes a door which the enemy was using to have access to you and opens you up to God’s grace and forgiveness.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15, NIV).
God, whom do I need to forgive?
- What do I need to release myself from?
Often the most difficult person people find to forgive is themselves. If you have repented, then God has forgiven you. Not only has He forgiven you of your sins, but He has forgotten them!
“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again” (Isaiah 43:25, NLT).
While God has long forgotten your offenses, you may not find it as easy to stop thinking about them. This is because the devil is working to bring guilt, regret, shame, and condemnation. In order to forgive yourself, it is so important to ask God to help you figure out what is going on deep in your heart. Too often people don’t realize that it is the devil trying to keep them stuck in past regret. God wants you freed from the past so you can move forward with Him into His promises for your future.
God, what do I need to release myself from?
- What lies am I believing?
Perhaps you have heard the acronym for FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real. Lies are the devil’s language, and he directs them straight to our hearts in the form of fear. If you are experiencing fear, then you are likely listening to his lies. Guarding your heart means watching for what intruders are trying to pass over into your heart. If a lie has made itself at home in your life, it must be kicked out! To have a healthy heart, you must reject the enemy’s lies. You need to be aware of them and call them out!
“When he [Satan] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44, NIV).
God, what lies am I believing?
- What is the truth?
Jesus said that we would know the truth and it would set us free (John 8:32). Once you have identified the lies, you must exchange them for the truth!
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Knowing God’s Word is the most powerful weapon against the lies of the enemy.
“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, AMP).
In order to walk with a healthy heart, you must allow the power of God’s Word to fall afresh upon your heart. If you allow the Holy Spirit to quicken God’s Word to you, He will pave the way for a personal encounter with the truth, which will further dismantle the effect of the lies that have been in operation. Know God’s Word, listen for His voice, and let it revive your heart.
God, what is the truth?
If you have navigated these checkpoints with God, you are on your way to greater wholeness. But don’t let it stop there! God wants to walk with you daily to guide you toward the best He has for you. The more often you allow Him to walk through the chambers of your heart with you, the healthier and stronger you will be spiritually to walk out your destiny.
And here’s a bonus question you can ask Him:
God, what do you think of me?
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” (Psalm 139:17, NLT).
Once we have kicked out all the junk that doesn’t belong in our hearts, filling up with what God thinks about us provides us energy to thrive. While the enemy throws garbage at us, God whispers sweetness that changes us from the inside out. Taste and see that He is good.
About the Author
Sarah and her husband, George, have been in ministry together for over fifteen years. They began their journey as urban missionaries, which led to planting and co-pastoring CityLight Church for nine years. In 2016, Sarah founded the Transformation Center, which offers personal prayer ministry to help people receive heart healing and freedom. In addition to providing individual sessions, Sarah and her team also work with other churches offering seminars, training, and coaching in healing and deliverance. Sarah highly values her ministry to her family and to the Lord. Her delight is in raising her two daughters and being a friend of God.