Summary: Do you know what the single most talked about topic in the entire New Testament is? It’s not heaven or hell. It’s not the second coming of Christ. It’s money. In fact, 15% of everything Jesus Christ taught about had to do with this topic. And yet, for mos
The Heart of the Problem: The Problem of the Heart
In October of 2001 my wife and I lost our son, Isaac, at only 17 days to a cause that has yet to be determined. The days that followed that life-altering moment were the worst days of our entire lives. But during those moments we were asked to make an important decision. We were contacted by the Upstate New York Transplant Service and asked if we were willing to donate his heart. It wasn’t a difficult decision. You see, we believed, that the possibility of his life living on through the life of another child was perhaps the only good that could come from such a tragedy. And so we said “yes”. After a few months we were notified that one of his heart valves had been too small to transplant while the other was able to be transplanted and was being held, awaiting a need.
In February 2003 such a need arose. A little girl was born with some sort of heart failure and at 11 days old she received Isaac’s heart valve. Today the life of my son lives on in the life of another precious child.
Never before had I understood the power of the heart. The encyclopedia defines the heart as the “muscular organ that pumps blood to all parts of the body. The rhythmic beating of the heart” the article says, “is a ceaseless activity, lasting from before birth to the end of life.”
Failure of the heart, statistics tell us, kills more people in the United States each year than any other cause, in fact, heart failure is the number one cause of death in the United States accounting for more than half of all deaths.
And even if heart ailments don’t kill they injure, they debilitate, and they alter our lives. How ironic it is that the very instrument of life is the cause of death for millions of Americans each year.
The Bible talks a lot about the heart, in fact it mentions the heart some 779 times, because in the same way as the physical organ which pumps blood throughout our body sustains life, so too is that organ at the center of our beings, our heart, that sustains us spiritually.
Ultimately everything in life, whether physical or spiritual depends upon this organ. And as important as it is to us to have a healthy physical heart to live, it’s even more important to have a spiritually healthy heart. Because one day when this physical heart gives out, it’s the spiritual heart which will determine how we will spend the rest of eternity.
The book of Proverbs, a book full of wisdom for daily living, gives this instruction regarding our heart: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Over the next few weeks I want to look at the condition of our hearts and I want to talk to you about a difficult topic, something which can not be ignored, but must be addressed if you and I are to live healthy lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Before I elaborate on what I believe this symptom is I want to take you with to visit the Spiritual Cardiac Catheterization Lab. For those of you who are medically illiterate Cardiac Catheterization is the definitive test to determine if the coronary arteries are blocked or restricted in any way. This test can determine if blood flow is restricted to the heart muscle, which can cause pain and damage to the muscle.
I want to pause and take a look at our hearts to determine if they’re functioning in the right way and if we are in fact able to sustain and live life as we’ve been called to do so.
If you were to enter the Spiritual Card Cath Lab you would immediately discover two primary truths that are outlined in scripture about our hearts. If you’re following along in your outlines, the first truth is that your heart is evil. I visited someone recently who told me she didn’t like going to a particular church because they kept telling her she was a sinner. I’m sorry to say that we’re all sinners. We can’t avoid this truth. Jeremiah 17:9 says this, “The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse – who can understand it?” As human beings each and every one of us carries the stain of sin that was handed down to us by Adam and Eve. We are sinners at birth. And while we were created in God’s image and I believe that a portion of that image still resides in each and every person, the reality is our hearts are evil.
If you don’t believe me just look at this weeks news. Just south of Columbus Ohio this week a bullet pierced a van’s windshield on Interstate 270 which was linked to a stretch of shootings including cars, school buses, and homes, since May bringing the total number of shootings to 21.