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A condition of the heart
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For the Scriptures say, "If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it."

I Peter 3:10-11
(New Living

When my son turned 21, we discussed the added responsibility and freedoms that come with being "legal." It occurred to me that much of how we live our lives comes not from what goes into the mouth, but what comes from it. Jesus said that the mouth speaks out of the condition of the heart. If dreadful and disdainful speech pours out when you open your mouth, Dr. Jesus would say that is a sign of an internal problem - a heart condition.

Cardiac issues tend to run in our family. Sadly, many of us have to watch our cholesterol and fat intake to make sure that we aren't putting into our body things that will cause our hearts to malfunction. What Peter said in his pastoral words to fellow Christians gives us another clue that the spiritual kingdom of God may not necessarily operate like the physical kingdom of this world. While what we put into our bodies determines our physical condition, our attitudes speak out of the spiritual condition of our heart. Peter gives us a clue to a less stressful and more fulfilling life. "If you want to enjoy life," Peter said, "turn away from evil and do good," and watch for ways that you can help others. These are outward signs that your spiritual "heart" is working fine.

How is your spiritual heart condition today? Do you need a spiritual check-up?

Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at