What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘heart condition’?
Most of us in the United States would probably think of some form of high blood pressure, blocked arteries or the need for by-pass surgeries that have become almost commonplace today.
But that’s not the case for our friend Chris. His heart was failing. I don’t know all the specifics of his particular ailment, but he’s struggled with it the entire time I’ve known him. But as you might expect, his condition had an extreme impact on his livelihood and lifestyle. He couldn’t work or exert himself and had to be hooked up to portable machines for constant monitoring. But all that changed just a couple weeks ago, when he got the call to let him know that a donor match had been located and was given instructions report to the hospital immediately for a heart transplant.
After chronic medical concerns, years of waiting and through the miracle of modern medicine, Chris finally has a new heart. While he is still in the hospital and working through a few issues, the doctors report that his new transplanted organ is functioning perfectly! If his situation continues to improve as expected, once his recovery is complete, he can expect to have a long, healthy and active life.
You know, Chris’ experience is very similar to what needs to happen at some point to every single one of us.
Scripture tells us that all people are born with a corrupt, deceitful heart and cannot please God. (Jer. 17:9) Ephesians 2:1 clearly describes our dire diagnosis as “dead in transgressions and sins.” Our prognosis is terminal and no medication nor any plan for self-improvement will do anything to improve our condition. If we’re to survive, we must have a transplant.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. ~ Ezekiel 36:26-27
These verses were written to the nation of Israel at a time in their history when they had deliberately turned their backs on God and indulged themselves in blatant, unrepentant idolatry. As a result of their disobedience, they’d been forced from their homeland and come under the domination and subjugation of a pagan nation. But in spite of their dire (and self-inflicted) state, God generously offered wholeness and restoration to a people who didn’t deserve it. These encouraging words are also spoken to us today and bring hope, and the guarantee of the healing that we, too, can receive from the Lord. A promise of revival, vitality and redemption.
But just as in the medical world, one cannot receive a new heart without first finding a donor.
The good news is that God graciously provided one for you… In fact, He sent Jesus, the only One who has ever possessed a pure and untainted heart and thus, has the ability to revive you. Through His death, you have the chance for spiritual life and strength. The good news is that there’s no waiting list and no chance of rejection! All you need to do is take what He offers freely to you!
But remember, that receiving this incredible gift of a new heart doesn’t require going anywhere or doing anything. There are no forms to fill out and no requirements to meet. It doesn’t come by being good enough to earn it or trying hard enough to merit it. Receiving this gift of life requires only one thing: trusting in Jesus as your Savior, and being willing to accept forgiveness that He offers by grace through faith. (Eph. 2:8)
So take a moment to assess your medical status. You either have a heart of stone or a heart of flesh. A heart that is dead, or a heart that is alive. And no matter how wealthy eloquent or influential you are, you can’t change your heart’s condition by yourself. It only happens through belief in Christ’s work on your behalf.
Here is Christ’s promise. “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (Jn 11:25-26)