Congestive heart failure
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. – Ezekiel 36:26
25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.
26 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.
27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
Heart failure is a very common condition. In fact, it is the number one cause of death in the United States. It occurs both in young and old. Congestive heart failure sounds really scary. Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart does not pump blood as well as it should. CHF undermines the heart’s job of pumping blood around the body. It results in shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, and swelling of the legs. Many people can live long full lives through appropriate intervention and lifestyle changes.
Spiritually speaking the entire human race is suffering from spiritual congestive heart failure. Human sin results in spiritual congestive heart failure. We struggle to connect with the Father. Our spiritual life force is diminished, almost nonexistent. We need radical transformation.
Why is this so? Our hearts become hard, fossilized, and stony. When the Scriptures speak of the heart, it is not a reference to the physical heart, but rather an individual’s internal control center, our immaterial heart. It includes our emotions, thoughts, and will. The people Ezekiel was confronting had hardened their hearts. How hard were they? As hard as they could possibly be. Ezekiel uses the metaphor of stone. The Hebrew word translated stone is ‘eben. Stones are very common and among the hardest substances known in the Middle East. Both rocks and precious gems were referred to as stones, even as it is today.
A stony, stubborn heart develops when people set their hearts like stone. They become stubborn and recalcitrant. Their hearts become petrified, calcified, even fossilized. When this condition arises, there is no therapy to reverse it. There is no curing of a stony, stubborn heart. What is required is a spiritual heart transplant. The petrified heart must be removed and replaced with a warm, sensitive, responsive heart of flesh (Block).
That is exactly what the Father promised. He offers each of us a heart transplant. He has a perfect spiritual surgical technique. Each of His spiritual heart transplants has perfect results. In the Father’s kingdom, there is no concern for complications or rejection. He promises to remove our old stony, hard heart and replace it with a vibrant, completely healthy one. He promises to remove our impurities and put His Spirit in us. As a result of a spiritual heart transplant, the Father gives each child of the King a fresh start.
This is the miracle of regeneration. It is a simple yet profound exchange. He takes from us our hearts of stone and replaces them with soft, tender hearts of flesh. He takes away our cold, stubborn, recalcitrance. In exchange, He provides a warm, soft, supple, compliant, responsive heart. It is quite similar to the changeover that Paul teaches regarding the exchange of our sin for the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ referred to this as being born again. We are given a second chance at life. We begin afresh with the new, regenerated heart and the presence of the Holy Spirit within. At the moment this occurs, the spiritual lifeblood of the Father flows within us.
REFLECT & PRAY
Even though we are children of the King, we are still plagued by the symptoms of our human condition, spiritual congestive heart disease. We often feel blocked when we attempt to draw near to our Father. Sadly, both our desire and ability to do what is right are frequently impeded.
Father thank You that You have given each child of the King a new heart. Increase the flow of Your spiritual life force within and through us.
In the physical world when corrective heart surgery will not resolve heart failure, a heart transplant is often the option of choice. Similarly, the Father is well aware that attempting to correct spiritual congestive heart failure will be ineffective. Trying to reform our old lives is simply not enough. Instead, the Father opts for a spiritual heart transplant. There is the miracle of transformation. He takes the old stubborn, stony heart and transforms it into something entirely new. When our hearts are transformed, we are given the amazing ability to become just like His Son without ever losing our identity or personality.
Through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and our acceptance of Him as our Savior, we are forgiven, cleansed, and given the Holy Spirit. This occurs once and for all.
Why does this often seem ineffective? We have lived our whole lives walking in the flesh. That was our norm and habit and we have become addicted to it. Now we must learn to walk in the Spirit and not carry out the desires of the flesh. We must dedicate ourselves to it and renew our commitment daily. Our spiritual rehabilitation is analogous to physical therapy required to restore health and well-being after physical surgery.
A new heart does not guarantee perfection. But it does guarantee opportunity.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Your goodness, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for your courts above. – Robert Robinson