The overflow of the heart.
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Brillat-Savarin was a nineteenth century lawyer who gained his fame as a connoisseur of fine food. Was his statement true? Can we tell who people are by what they put in their bodies?
Yes, we can, but it has nothing to do with meats, vegetables, or beverages…
First, let’s do a quick refresher on the way in which our bodies work. What we see or hear goes straight to the brain, which immediately processes the information that it has just received. The brain filters out that information and sends messages to every part of the body to respond accordingly.
What’s the end result? Hands are raised in defense if the brain senses danger. Smiles are registered on faces where there is happiness or joy. Stomachs churn if there is anxiety or stress.
Funny…hands forget the danger, faces forget the joy, and stomachs forget that there was anxiety, but the heart? It holds the danger, and the joy, and the stress. The heart, much like the brain, never forgets, because the two are so connected, so closely linked, that the lines of communication between the two are always open. If you’ve ever wakened from a nightmare to find your heart pounding, you know this quite well, don’t you?
Two personal experiences come to mind that illustrate the connection between the brain and the heart, and curiously enough they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum; one is about life, and the other is about death.
I remember the first time that I held both of my sons, Brian and Christian, in my hands on the day that they born, thirty-five and thirty-two years ago, respectively.
Conversely, I remember the last time that I held my Dad’s hand just before they closed the lid on his coffin almost ten years ago.
My hands don’t remember holding either of my sons, or my Dad’s hand, but all three events will be etched in my mind’s memory banks forever. And my heart? It will always carry the feelings associated with the joy of life, and the sorrow of death.
What if our hearts stored pretty much everything that our minds processed?
Listen to the words of Jesus.
“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:18-19
What we “eat,” what we “take in,” through movies that we watch, music that we listen to, books that we read, conversations that we have, and what we look at on our computers goes directly into our minds and our hearts and remains there. What remains in both is evident in what we say, how we act, and what we do.
Do you want to know who someone is? Spend some time with them. Listen to what comes out of their mouths. Take a close look at how they treat others, at how they treat themselves. Watch their actions. Look at their walk in life. You’ll know who that person is.
Feed your mind and heart with the Word of God. Listen to worship music. Don’t watch questionable movies. Hang with people who know Christ. Install “firewalls” on your computer. In prayer, ask for the Mind of Christ. Ask for his heart. Seek to be filled, not by the garbage of the world, but by the Holy Spirit.
People will know who you are by the overflow of your heart. More importantly, so will God.