February 15th

Heart Transplant 

"Therefore say: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.'  "They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols.  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. They will be my people, and I will be their God.   But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD."   Ezekiel 11:17-21 NIV 

Our flesh is usually regarded as a hindrance to our walk with Jesus.  It is sin-prone and usually distracts us from total devotion to God.  In this passage, however, flesh is used to describe a desirable condition of the spiritual heart.  A definition of flesh is “the soft tissue of the body” (American Heritage Dictionary), and the point is that God wants us to have a spiritual heart that is soft and pliable for his purposes.   

The setting is during the time just before the majority of Israelites were taken into the Babylonian captivity.  God planned to scatter the Israelites across the nations and then reunite them in the future.  He set some conditional promises that would result in their return to the land. 

First, the people were to remove the vile images and detestable idols from the land.  God would then respond by giving them an undivided heart and putting a new spirit in them.  God explained that he would remove their hearts of stone and replace them hearts of flesh.   He didn’t say that he would help them change their hearts, or that he would give them pointers on how to do so, or that he would heal their hearts.  He simply was going to replace their hearts completely!   

The results of their heart transplants would be extraordinary.  The people would follow God’s commands and keep his laws.  They would be God’s people and he would be their God.  As a warning, God mentioned that those who failed to remove the idols and detestable things would certainly reap judgment. 

We can draw applications from this scripture to our own lives.  If you feel that your heart has reached the hardened condition where you are distant from God and insensitive to him, then you are a candidate for a spiritual heart transplant!  There are some key steps we can take to receive it. 

First, we must take the initiative and remove the idols from our lives.  Whether it’s porn, bad movies, money, materialism or something else, we must take action to remove them.  We can pray for help, strength and guidance in how to do this.   Some examples of things to remove are:  pornography, rated “R” movies, movies depicting sin, occult material, and music w/lyrics glorifying sin.  These things all contribute to “spiritual heart disease” and should be removed!  Think of it as clearing out the infected surrounding tissue in your old heart, so that the new heart is not also infected.  Your obedience in doing this will prove your readiness for the new heart that God wants to give you.   Getting rid of your idols may sound extreme, but often we have to take extreme measures to free ourselves of extreme bondage.   (see Clean House for more info) 

Next, we can pray for a heart transplant.   It’s possible for the sin-hardened heart to be so corrupt that it needs complete replacement.  Like an engine that fuses together from a lack of oil, the sin-hardened heart will have to be replaced.  God can certainly heal our heart in any way he chooses, but why not pray for a complete change-out?  NOTHING is impossible for him.  He can give us a heart transplant and a desire to follow his commands in righteousness.   

After we’ve thrown out our idols and prayed for a heart transplant we then should receive the new heart by faith.  Our belief that God has heard our prayer and will answer it is the key ingredient to complete the transplant.  We can start by thanking him for giving us a new heart that is responsive to him.  We can also “fill our house” with things that will point us to God.   Examples of “house fillers” include Praise & worship CD’s, Bible teaching tapes and scripture memory tools.  Please see our Clean House page for more suggestions.  House fillers will bolster our walk with Jesus and help us keep our minds on God.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:  If you would like God to give you a spiritual heart transplant, please pray this suggested prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned by entertaining the idols of ____________(list them).  Please forgive me for giving them a place in my life.  I commit to removing them from my life from this point forward.  Please guide me through the Holy Spirit in doing this.  Father, I see how my heart has become hardened by sin.  I want to be sensitive to you again and obedient to your commands. Please give me a new heart of flesh that will serve you diligently.  (Pause) I receive it now by faith.  I praise you and thank you for what you have done!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”