“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” ~ Proverbs 14:30
Several clinical studies show that this proverb is perfectly correct: The Bible reveals truth that modern medicine took >2500 years to catch up to. Here are brief excerpts from just two such studies in reputable medical journals:
“Depression is associated with alterations in behavior and neuroendocrine systems that are risk factors for decreased bone mineral density…As compared with the normal women, the mean (±SD) bone density in the women with past or current depression was 6.5 percent lower at the spine… 13.6 percent lower at the femoral neck… 13.6 percent lower at Ward’s triangle… and 10.8 percent lower at the trochanter…” (Michelson et. al., The New England Journal of Medicine)
“Negative emotions can intensify a variety of health threats… …including cardiovascular disease, **osteoporosis, arthritis**, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, frailty and functional decline, and periodontal disease.” (Kiecolt-Glaser et. al., Annual Review of Psychology)
However, aside from confirming the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible, there are at least two key points we should draw from this proverb:
FIRST: Spiritual health is critical to our physical well-being. Therefore, it is important that we allow God to govern our hearts and that we protect what enters our hearts. Scripture tells us to put our hope/trust in God, not in man (Psalm 118:9, 146:3). People will break our hearts but God will always love us and do what is best for us. Here are some strategies/practices that will help us maintain good emotional health:
(A) Guard you heart from ungodly influences
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
(B) Focus you heart on God and godly things
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” ~ Colossians 3:2
(C) Allow God to keep your “heart” healthy
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-8
SECOND: Avoid negative emotions, like envy. Envy is a synonym for covetousness, which the Bible tells us is the same as idolatry (Colossians 3:5). When envy consumes us, we have entered into idol worship: worshiping the the very thing we envy/covet.
However, our bodies are not designed for negative emotions: God designed our bodies to worship Him. Indeed, the Bible tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19). Hence, negative emotions do not coexist well with the body: they are like a disease.
Let us give God our hearts (and minds). Let us allow The Holy Spirit, which indwells the hearts of believers, to keep us away from negative emotions and keep us in perfect peace and good health instead.
(NOTE: To be clear, NOT all diseases result from negative emotions, and even great men of God got sick, e.g., Hezekiah, Elisha, Paul, Timothy. Good Spiritual health does not guarantee good physical health. But poor spiritual health does guarantee poor physical health.)