We recently became reacquainted with a high school classmate of my wife. As we shared the happenings of our life, she shared that she had received a heart transplant.
We were surprised as she told us about this happening. Her heart became diseased through no fault of her own and was slowly dying and the doctors were able to give her a “new lease on life,” as they say.
I can remember hearing about the first human heart transplant taking place many years ago and the feeling of amazement that such a thing could be done. It’s still an amazing thing to me. I can understand some of the basics regarding the procedure, but no way do I understand the intricacies involved in all that is done, yet I know it is done on an almost daily basis. They tell us there are about 2,000 heart transplants per year now.
There are lots of changes that take place for a person with a heart transplant. They must make lifestyle changes, change their eating habits, perhaps exercise differently and they are told, “You’ll need to take immunosuppressant medications daily for life to keep your body from rejecting your donor heart.”
As I thought about someone receiving a new heart I realized it is no different than becoming a child of God. The scripture that came to mind first was Psalm 51:7-10 where David writes: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
“Create in me a new pure heart,” what an amazing idea for us, yet it happens to thousands of people every day, perhaps hundreds of thousands every year in the spiritual realm. It is possible and no less amazing than a physical heart transplant.
It’s just like what God promised the Israelite nation in Ezekiel 36:26-27, “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 tender, responsive heart. And I will put My Spirit in you so that you will follow My decrees and be careful to obey My regulations.” (NLT)
That is what God is about, it’s what he does, and He takes out our stony, stubborn heart and gives us a tender, responsive heart. But just like a physical heart transplant it needs constant care. Perhaps changes need to be made in our life style and other physical habits and there will definitely be “sin suppressant” treatments daily for life to keep us from rejecting our new heart.”
Of course this all comes from having a new relationship with our God and His Word. This in part comes from having a new relationship with His church. I have met so many people in my lifetime who say, “I don’t need to go to a church to feel spiritual,” but that’s like someone saying, “I don’t need to go to the doctor anymore after I receive my heart transplant.” They both are missing a key ingredient to keeping your heart alive.
How is your stony, stubborn heart doing? Perhaps it’s time to listen to God and make it tender and responsive once again.
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is the Director of World Christian Literature Outreach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.