How Does Your Heart Rate?

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7

A medical study was done that measured the effects of mental stress on blood pressure. The results were surprising: If your blood pressure goes sky high during a “mental challenge,” you are a prime candidate for hardening of the arteries, which can cause strokes and heart attacks. 

Researchers used a tricky computer game to test their theory. Words for colors were written in color, and the 348 volunteers had to identify the color in which the words were written. To make things more difficult, the computer sped up the game to guarantee everyone would have a seventeen percent error rate. Blood pressure monitors recorded the effects. 

Over the next two years, researchers used ultrasound to check for obstructions in the volunteers’ carotid arteries(blood vessels that feed the brain). Those volunteers whose blood pressure soared during the computer game had a higher rate of obstruction in their arteries.

Hardening of the arteries can cause physical death, but hardening our heart toward God and toward others can destroy something much more important than our bodies – our ability to live fulfilling lives and be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ in this world. As much as we need to take care of our health and learn to cope with stress, we should be even more concerned with what God sees when He looks into our hearts. Are we soft and malleable, or hard and unyielding? 

“Love one another deeply, from the heart,” says 1 Peter 1:22. That’s the best exercise our hearts can have!


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