Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tuesdays with Jesus #197

#197 "Heart Transplant"
May 3, 2011
"I'll give you a new heart; put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You'll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You'll be my people! I'll be your God!" (Ezekiel 36: 26-28 The Message)
By the time most people notice that they have a heart problem and seek medical advice, their heart has been "failing", for a long time. They have experienced a pain now and again. They complain of fatigue and loss of appetite. Something just doesn't seem right, but their symptoms aren't serious enough to seek treatment, at least not in their opinion. Experts warn us to see a doctor even if our symptoms seem mild. Early diagnosis may prevent a heart attack later.
It's so common for the spiritual to mirror the natural in our lives. How long have our hearts been failing, often asymptomatically, or with symptoms not serious enough to go to the Great Physician for an exam? We started out our journey on holy fire for God, but little by little all we may be able to detect is a spark. Jesus promised that He came to give us abundant life; full life. (John 10:10) If we're honest, we may describe our spiritual life more like sparse, lacking, and scarce. It transfers into the physical and natural realm and we may say, "there's got to be more than this; something's just not right." You can pinpoint the symptoms, but you're oblivious to where the real problem lies. You have spiritual heart disease and it is the very root that is causing the symptoms. You need to make an appointment with the Healer. Before you pick up that phone, here is a warning.
Examination and spiritual heart transplants are not for those with feeble arms and weak knees.
If you're serious about taking a look at your spiritual health and making the necessary changes, let me assure you that you are in for one wild ride. My desire in this "Tuesdays" is to make you clear as a bell on one thing before you enter the door of the exam room of God. What I am about to tell you is essential and vital for you to get before you ever go under the knife.
As soon as you go before God in all sincerity of your failing heart and ask Him to examine you and make the necessary changes in you, you will be naked. You won't even have one of those handy dandy gowns that are open in the back. God will ask you to strip your heart naked and bare before Him. He needs to look at every single nook and cranny. He needs to look in the hidden places that are not so readily visible to the naked eye. He will go where no man has gone before, into the deepest recesses of your heart to search for the disease that is manifesting itself in your symptoms. He's going to find some things. Unless you are Jesus, God will find disease upon examination.
Get ready to be astounded. I won't even begin to surmise here what God will find when you expose your heart, get naked before Him, and allow Him to look closely. That is individually, uniquely, between you and your God. I only know the things that He has found in me when I made the decision to give Him more than a peek. But if you only get one thing, get this:
When God reveals your heart disease, He is convicting you. He is NEVER condemning you.
I promise you that you'll know it when it happens. If God reveals something to you about your heart that is ugly, sick or diseased, He will gently show you and ask you to repent. If you begin to hear condemning voices, words of shame and loathing, depression or despair, that is not God. It is the devil and he is a liar! The Bible says, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done." (2 Corinthians 7: 10-11)
When the light shines on those places in your heart that need surgery, you need only to repent. Repentance is turning away from something in the opposite direction. The light shines. Sorrow comes, but never should it lead you to despair, depression or self-condemnation. Under the examination lights of my God, I have felt alarm and concern and out and out surprise at what He has found in me. He has revealed things that I wasn't even aware of. He has shown me that I really didn't have some things from my past under as much control as I thought. I have hit my knees and laid with my face to the floor at what has been revealed to me. But surrounding me, enveloping me, clothing me, and enfolding me, has been the love of my Savior. When I surrendered and asked Him to reveal ANYTHING in me that He desired to show me, He first assured me of how high and wide and deep and long His love is for me. If you will submit to His probing, He is assuring you of that same thing too.
You may be afraid to get your heart checked out under the eye of the Great Physician because of how you were treated by people as a child, or even as an adult, when you were found to be less than perfect. You may have suffered extreme or unreasonable punishment. God is not that person. You may have suffered under the hand of a spouse or parent who shamed you or disciplined you unfairly.  God is your loving Heavenly Father who only wants what is best for you. Those things that He reveals in your heart are killing you. They are silent killers eating away the abundant life that you are meant to live. If left untended, you will suffer a spiritual heart attack.
I beg you to submit to this examination of your heart. You aren't too old or too young, too far gone or too sinful to even bother. A spiritually healthy heart will make all the difference in every area of your life. Ask with all honesty. Get naked before God. Let Him poke and prod and shine the light into those parts of your heart that you let no one else see. It's between you and Him. Then listen. Be aware. God will speak in all sorts of ways to give you the diagnosis. He may reveal it in His Word, a message being preached, a song, or a Bible study lesson. He will tailor it uniquely for you, because you are unique and He loves you enough to show you the truth. I promise you that it will be so worth it. You don't have to live a less than life. You were made to live the abundant life that Jesus died to give you.
In our opening verse, God said that He would give His people a new heart and then they would live in the land of their ancestors. They would live in the Promised Land.  Don't be afraid. You're on the way to your promised land.  Trust Him to do it. No one will ever be as tender with your failing heart.
Living the Word along with you,  

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