A nurse on the Pediatric Ward before listening to the little ones’ heartbeat would plug the stethoscope into their ears and let them listen to their own hearts. Their eyes would always light up with awe, but she never got a response to equal four-year old David’s comment. She tucked the stethoscope gently into his ears and placed the disk over his heart. “Listen,” she said…”What do you suppose that is?”
He drew his eyebrows together in a puzzled line and looked up as if lost in the mystery of the strange tap-tap-tapping deep in his chest. Then his face broke out in a wondrous grin, and he asked, “Is that Jesus knocking?”
In a way I guess you could say that it is. Every heartbeat is a gentle reminder that you have been made with a purpose. Every thump is a miracle. Every pulse, sustaining life, made in the image of God.
In illustration, the heart also stands for life in all its beauty and decadence. It can be both a blessing, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8), and a curse, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) It represents the greatest wants, the deepest pains, and the highest expectations.
In short, it represents the total person. If a person is calm, they are said to have a gentle heart and if they are evil their heart might be described as dark. If a person is caring and loving they might be said to have a big heart and if they are self-absorbed their heart might be defined as selfish.
God, in His Word, uses the illustration of the heart frequently. He wishes for our hearts to match His own. The Psalmist says in Psalm 51:19, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
He is not asking that God replace his heart organ, he is asking God to change who he is. A clean heart is one unstained by iniquity. A right spirit is in line with the will of the Holy Spirit Himself. The psalmist is asking that God bring him to purity so that he might overcome the un-right mistakes of his past life.
Just as the human heart is essential for our mortal life, so is our spiritual heart essential for our spiritual life. In both cases, once corrupted, they stand the chance of death. Only a skilled physician can make the changes necessary to heal the heart. God is the great Physician seeking to find lost hearts and to mend broken lives.
God offers us new hearts to replace the hearts of sin we have worked so hard to develop. For those who come to God for change he says, “I will give you anew heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).
He wants to bring us to new life with a new heart and a new spirit so that we might be with Him throughout the whole of eternity. He wishes to make a change within us that will sustain us in trust. The writer of Proverbs advises us wisely to, Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). This is both a promise and a blessing.
Jeremiah 17:10 records God’s words saying, “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” What kind of heart are you going to offer Him? A heart of willingness or a heart of stone?
Proverbs again reminds us to, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Let God match your heart to His. Trust in Him to sustain you. Listen for the heartbeats, not just in your human heart to remind you, but in the beats of your life to guide you. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us life and for working not just in our human hearts but in our spiritual hearts as well. Give us strength to trust in you so that our heart might be made pure, and our spirits might be renewed. Amen.