An Enlarged Heart (A Meditation on Psalm 119:31-32)
I was born with an enlarged left ventricle. A few years ago, however, my cardiologist’s phone call confirmed the “extraness” of 3 of the 4 chambers of my heart, meaning I have bi-atrial enlargement. None of this causes me any daily distress or need for medicine, but it does create a need in my mind for extra care in regards to exercise and muscle strength. Over the last several years, I have developed a habit of a daily 20 minute workout video, taking extra steps and increasing water intake. In that time, I have lost many pounds, lowered my cholesterol and built muscle I don’t believe I even had as a teen.
The above facts, about my heart, cause me to especially love verses 31 and 32 of Psalm 119:
“I cling to Your testimonies O, LORD; let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of Your commandments when You enlarge my heart.”
When I think of the word cling, I envision a shy child peeking from behind their mother’s leg, with both arms grasping her firmly. The Hebrew not only has the idea of adherence and abiding, but also of pursuing hard after. So, if the mother started to walk away, that child would run to keep up and stay close. The author uses the same word in verse 25:
“My soul clings to the dust: give me life according to Your word!”
By myself I cling to the dust, to earthly things that will one day be destroyed. As the writer progresses through verse 26-30 pleading for God’s teaching, understanding and strength, he arrives at verse 31 with a renewed desire to cling not to earthly things, but instead to God’s testimonies, the eternal Word of God.
This doesn’t just happen overnight. We don’t wake up one morning pounds lighter, points down in cholesterol and with visible muscle tone. Just the same as we don’t wake up one day desiring God alone with a joy-filled and undivided heart. Both of these goals take discipline, we see that in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27:
“Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an unperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
When I open my Bible, I want to be focused, I want to hit the target of knowing God’s character better and following His rules with more precision. I have goals! 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 tells us:
“The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has known the mind of the lord so as to instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
We are completely dependent on God to give us the mind of Christ. The mind that wants to run toward His commandments. We are totally trusting our heavenly Father to expand our hearts with love for His glory and for others.
When you get the call that your heart has been widened, what do you do next? Do you sit and wait on the sofa or do you get up and start exercising the new areas with reading the Bible, fellowship with believers, corporate worship and memorizing His word?
This week I pray you will take a few extra steps to be a Christian that runs toward God’s commandments. Drink a few extra ounces of His word, and lift up your soul in worship and service to God. With discipline you will soon find you too have an enlarged heart!