I wasn’t prepared the first time I visited someone in the hospital with a heart condition after bypass surgery. The heart had blockage that needed surgical correction and now the patient was recovering. All the machines, tubes and IVs on the person initially frightened me, although I knew each one had a function in restoring health.
Cautiously, I stepped into the ICU room. With a deep breath I stepped to Mom’s bedside and held her hand as she awakened. For the first time in several days, I had hope that she would be okay. Heart surgery restored her physical heart, and now the recovery process would begin.
Mom’s successful heart surgery extended her life many years. Advanced medical technology had allowed her heart to be repaired and strengthened.
The physical heart can be addressed through surgery, but what about the spiritual heart condition? Only God can offer us true heart restoration and transformation.
The heart is spoken of in Scripture as the center of the moral and spiritual life. The conscience, for instance, is associated with the heart. In fact, the Hebrew language had no word for conscience, so the word “heart” was often used to express this concept: All moral conditions from the highest to the lowest are said to center in the heart.
Because the heart is at the root of the problem, God works in our hearts.
Before coming to Christ, our heart condition is sinful and corrupted, as described in this acrostic for HEART.
- Hurt. Our emotions have been hurt. The hurt can be from past events, from others or even from our selves. It can be as a result from unpleasant incidents or unfortunate accidents. This internal hurt can heal, but a scar of hardness of heart is left behind. The result is a spiritual heart blockage that prohibits the flow of love and forgiveness.
- Empty. Without God, the heart is empty, yearning for peace. We can try to fill our lives with possessions, people, or productivity but there will remain emptiness until we seek fulfillment in God. The emptiness can lead to destructive habits and addictions.
- Atrocious. This is the deceitfulness of the human heart. The events of the past year, with the health crisis, social unrest and political turmoil, can depress us when we see crisis after crisis on the news. We see the effects of despicable actions. These atrocious events have had negative impact on nearly everyone, increasing fear and despair. Personal problems become overwhelming. Life is long on trouble and short on hope.
- Rebellious. The human heart is rebellious. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve with pure hearts and free will. They chose disobedience, which introduced sin. We live under the impact this today. We can choose to live our lives for our selves and our own glory without the Lord. God does not demand that we choose him. When we follow our own will we are rebellious, independent of God.
- Tainted. The heart is polluted by sin. Impure. Polluted. Permanently stained, like a black ink spot on a white carpet. There is a barrier separating us from God until we acknowledge it—our sin. The conditional of the heart before coming to Jesus Christ does not leave us much hope.
God’s heart is very different from ours as revealed in various scriptures describing Him.
Love radiates through all aspects of God’s HEART, as described with these words:
- Holy. God is described as “majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders ” in Exodus 15:11, and in 1 Samuel 2:2,
“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
- Everlasting. He is eternal.
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him.” Psalm 103:17
- Awesome. This word is used 46 times to describe God.
“How awesome is the Lord Most High.” Psalm 47:2
- Righteous. Righteousness belongs only to God. This characteristic is expressed prominently in many scriptures. He does only the things that are right and blameless, setting the standard for behavior. Because of His standards, He judges evil. God’s justice flows out of his righteousness.
“God is a righteous judge.” Psalm 7:11
- True. God is true to his word and keeps his promises.
“But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.” Jeremiah 10:10
We have a problem: We cannot stand before the holy God because of our sinful heart condition.
The dilemma of our heart condition is stated in Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
The good news is that God cares about our heart condition. God is able to transform our hearts; we can’t do it on our own. God bridged the gap between His holy heart and our sinful hearts when he reached into history becoming one of us through the life of Jesus. Only God is able to reconnect our hearts with His, saving us from sin to so that we might become new creations.
Through the depth of God’s love and grace, He improves our spiritual heart condition, found in Ezekiel 36:26,
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.
After we accept the “new heart” from the Redeemer, our HEART is:
- Humbled by His forgiveness. He does give us another chance. Gratitude to God leads to a humble heart. Grateful to be forgiven, loved and accepted. Grateful for all He has done. Ephesians 2:8-9 says,
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- Embraced by His love. It’s hard for us to comprehend the depth of His love for us that God would send His Son to live on this earth and die to bring us back into relationship with Him. Romans 8:38-39 says,
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Awakened to His Glorious Power. We are empowered by the Holy Sprit with a new boldness. The Resurrection power that raised Christ from the grave is available to us. We cannot live the Christian life on our own. In Ephesians 3:20 we read:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more that all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
- Renewed by His Spirit. When we are weak, He refreshes us by His Spirit restoring perspective. When we are discouraged His word gives us hope. Hope in the Lord is a renewable resource. Isaiah 40:31 says,
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
- Transformed through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, not through anything we have done. The transformation happens from the inside out, beginning in the heart and spreading through to the thought life and emotions. This is the how grace works in becoming a new creation.The beginning of heart transformation occurs when the hopeless human heart is exchanged for the new heart offered by God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!
We are awakened by God with the love He has for us, in spite of our heart condition.
Through the depth of God’s love and grace, He provided a “procedure” to improve our heart condition— salvation through Jesus Christ.
What is your heart condition? Are you ready for a heart transformation?
The loving Father is waiting for you.
Beautiful post, Nancy – especially the ending !
Have you read Man the Dwelling Place of God by A.W.Tozer? He starts out with this statement – “Deep inside every man there is a private sanctum where dwells the mysterious essence of his being…From man’s standpoint, the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God…For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ, and He will enter only by the invitation of faith.”
This is beautiful Nancy.
Nancy Kay Grace
thank you, Monica! Be blessed!
Nancy Kay Grace
Sheriena, thanks for sharing that quote-it’s really good! I haven’t read that book.Tozer is very insightful. Be blessed!
Nancy Kay Grace
Thanks, RJ! Be blessed!
Love the verses about God being awesome! Thanks, Cheryl
Your acrostics offer such great contrasts between our hearts –Hurt, Empty, Atrocious, Rebellious, Tainted. And God’s heart for us–Holy, Everlasting,Awesome, Righteous, True. And then our hearts when we accept Christ– Humbled, Embraced, Awakened, Renewed, Transformed! Very insightful and memorable!
Nancy Kay Grace
Thanks, Kathy! be blessed!
Nancy Kay Grace
Thanks, Cheryl! yes, God is awesome in all ways! be blessed!