Medical Science has developed at a phenomenal pace over the years and nowhere more so than in the treatment of heart disease. The first heart transplant by Dr Christian Barnard in December 1963 was headline news throughout the world; yet today such surgery is happening on a regular basis and seldom makes the news. But many are alive today because of such advanced treatment.
There is an emphasis nowadays about ‘heart health’ – the importance of looking after your heart, but there is less emphasis on ‘spiritual heart health’ Our heart’s core attitudes and beliefs form the desires that drive us, revealing what we really ‘worship’ – and what we hold most dear.
In the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel’s time, people’s hearts had gone astray from God; they’d compromised their faith and worshipped ‘gods’, idols and lifestyles. Their hearts were ‘divided’ against God and spiritually dead. Like the stone idols and the lifestyles they loved more.
In Ezekiel 36:26, God makes an incredible promise; one that is central to the whole of the Book of Ezekiel, and indeed runs through the pages of the whole of Scripture.
Ezekiel 36:26 – ‘I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh’… or as the New Living Translation puts it, ‘And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a responsive heart’……….
God promises to transplant people’s dead spiritual hearts with living breathing hearts; hearts capable of receiving and responding to His love; hearts that want to worship, honour and obey him! God can have his rightful place on the ‘throne’ of hearts like these.
The hymnwriter, Frances Ridley Havergal wrote these challenging words, ‘Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne’….
But a patient can’t transplant his/her own heart; they need a skilled surgeon to do that. Ezekiel’s people weren’t capable of making this heart-change themselves, and neither are we! A quick makeover, or a ‘self-help’ manual won’t do – we need the complete heart transplant that only the Holy Spirit can provide, on the inside!
And, if we’re in Christ Jesus this process has already begun. As Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, ‘Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun’….
May ‘self’ be replaced by the Holy Spirit on the ‘throne’ of each of our hearts.