Thursday, February 14, 2013

If I Only Had a Heart

One of the most common Valentine symbols is the heart.  As I pause to consider what this signifies, I recall an incident that occurred during my emergency nursing career.

The paramedics reported that they were transporting to us a female who had been stabbed in the chest.  When she arrived, she was triaged into my care.  She was in no obvious physical distress, but was quite emotionally distraught.  As I patiently and gently prodded, she was able to give me a report of what had happened.  As the story unfolded, I discovered that she’d stabbed herself in the chest with a pair of scissors.  She felt that she was a bad person and feared that she didn’t have a heart.  Consequently, she decided to open-up her chest to find out!

While this seems odd to those of us who consider ourselves more emotionally stable, this precious woman may have had more sense about herself than most of the rest of us!  She realized that she was evil and that something needed to be done!

Scripture is replete with descriptions of the evil human heart, however Ecclesiastes 9:3 seems to sum it up best; This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead.
The standard “treatment” for “psychos” such as this lady is medication and psychological therapy.  Sadly, the true condition of the heart is only masked through this approach for there is no cure.  The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9)?

Even the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz expressed his awareness that something was missing within when he sang, “If I only had a heart!”  While the answer certainly isn’t in the Wizard, most would say that the answer is in Jesus.  Yet, nothing in Scripture indicates that our hearts are cured in choosing Christ.  Instead, Ezekiel 36:26 tells us that it is in receiving a new heart and spirit that we are cured,

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.

The Hebrew word for “heart” is “leb” and it refers to our inner man, mind and will. 
The Hebrew word for “stone” is “eben” and it means rock or death.  In other words, the will is dead.  It can not choose!
The Hebrew word for “flesh” is “basar” and means mankind, flesh, meat.  In other words the will is made alive.

A dead rock cannot choose Christ!  But if it were given a heart filled with life: its will, its desire would be for Jesus.  So which comes first, we choose Jesus and He moves in or He chooses to dwell in us?  According to Ephesians 1:4, He chose us before the creation of the world.

Most would argue, “But we have free will.  We are not robots!”  Yet Scriptures reads that every intention of our hearts is evil (Genesis 6:5).  Is an evil heart capable of making such a righteous decision as choosing Jesus?  Instead, Ezekiel 11:19 tells us, I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  It seems that Father is the only one with free will and will never yield His glory to another (Isaiah 48:11) for such an honorable decision.  Jesus makes this clear when He says; No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father (John 6:65).

Not unlike Lazarus, we lack the necessary power to resurrect ourselves.  Father saw the desperate and helpless state of our souls and in His great love and mercy commands, “Take away the stone.”  He then commands us to “come out” of the spiritual grave of lifelessness into life as a new creature (John 11:38-44, 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Note that once Lazarus was re-created, He wasn’t made perfect.  Instead, he was bound-up in grave clothes which needed to be shed.  Jesus didn’t tell Lazarus to take them off.  Lazarus couldn’t because he was bound by them.  Instead, Jesus told those who were in fellowship with Lazarus, “You do it!”

Celebrating love really isn’t about giving gifts of candy, flowers and cards on a certain day of the year.  True love is demonstrated daily, stinkin’ grave clothes and all, in noticing that which has us bound and helping one another to walk in the freedom which is ours in Jesus.

With new hearts it is possible for us to recognize who our LORD is; in fellowship with His people we are able to return to Him wholeheartedly (Jeremiah 24:7).


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

No comments:

Post a Comment