September 29, 1998
The World Heart Corporation is putting finishing touches on a device they intend as an implant for heart patients. This machine is designed to give blood a boost from the bottom left ventricle into the aorta. It is called a HeartSaver, essentially a second heart that works along with a person’s natural heart.
Heart disease is a serious threat. Not only that, heart victims often do not realize their danger. We knew a man who seemed in good health, even played racquetball several times a week. One day, without warning he collapsed and nearly died — from a heart attack.
The World Heart Corporation says 25,000 Canadians will need a new heart this year but not everyone will receive what they need. A less known statistic from the Word of God says heart disease is also a spiritual problem. Not just 25,000 people, but everyone needs a new spiritual heart. Most do not realize their danger either, but the good news is that there is no waiting line. New hearts are available for anyone who wants one.
Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet, spoke for God about His judgment on disobedience and His promise to those who turn to Him. He wrote, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” He also promised, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”
Another prophet, Ezekiel, also talks about a heart change. His message from God says, “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. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” He pleads with his readers, “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.”
Why did they need a new heart and a new Spirit? They seemed religious on the outside, but God knew what was happening on the inside. They resisted Him and rebelled against His rule over them. They wanted to do their own thing. His laws uncovered their independent attitude because they could not keep them. For that reason, He offered to change their hearts.
In the New Testament, Jesus tells a Jewish religious leader that he must be “reborn” by the Holy Spirit. This involves receiving a new heart too, one that wants to follow God. The New Testament concept of spiritual rebirth is the same as having faith in Jesus Christ. Those who believe have new hearts and are ushered into God’s family.
Being in God’s family is not the end of heart problems, but it is the beginning of the end. To maintain our spiritual health, we need frequent checkups. The Apostle Paul talked to a man whose “heart was not right before God.” Even though God had changed him, he continued to try and run his own life. His old heart was still in control.
How can we know what our hearts are doing? Jeremiah said they are “deceitful” and can fool us. While medical doctors test with a stethoscope and an ECG, those tests fail to give us a complete diagnosis of what is happening on the inside, in our spirits.
For that, the Great Physician is able to test our thoughts, words and actions with His Word. It will show us if we have a new heart and if we are living according its power, the power that comes from God. It will show us if we limping along with the old heart-attitudes of resistance and unbelief. Further, it is able to change our hearts and make us spiritually healthy.
God is fully aware that we cannot survive death with the hearts we have. A transplant or a mechanical HeartSaver is not able to fit us for eternity. However, He offers His spiritual heart-saver. It is just the boost we need.