Salvation ... comes from the Lord ... because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Heart Re-creation

The house re-construction illustration in the previous article shows how transformation from the inside out is the only way to a firm foundation for meaning and purpose in life, and being productive as a person (see Matthew 7:15-27).  All through Christ’s teaching he also illustrated heart re-creation.   I also discussed the importance of protecting your inner life (see Guard Your Heart )   Now on to re-creation. 

To follow Jesus, we must examine, and respond to him, with our heart.   He uses the illustration of fruit (thoughts, affections, and behaviors) growing on a tree.  “You’ll never find choice fruit hanging on a bad, unhealthy tree. And rotten fruit doesn’t hang on a good, healthy tree.  Every tree will be revealed by the quality of fruit that it produces. Figs or grapes will never be picked off thorn trees.  People are known in this same way. Out of the virtue stored in their hearts, good and upright people will produce good fruit. But out of the evil hidden in their hearts, evil ones will produce what is evil. For the overflow of what has been stored in your heart will be seen by your fruit and will be heard in your words” (Luke 6:43-46; TPT).

Although the word “soul” may have many different connotations in readers’ minds, I use the word “heart” almost synonymously with soul.  The soul is the intersection of the physical and spiritual realities in a human body,  In viewing the human makeup as a house (from the external view), we have a heart (inner habitation of the dwelling) that determines the house’s identity.  In viewing out heart from inside the house (internal view), we are the heart that no one else sees.  We have a house (physical body), and are a house (spiritual inhabitant).  We have a heart (physical organ), and are the heart (living soul).  Both the house and the heart are a physical structure and a spiritual application of reality. 

            There is an external surface to the house that the outside world can see, but the real house is what’s inside.  The heart represents the internal  atmosphere of what really goes on in the house.  The house is not a house if it has no inhabitant(s) to house.  The inhabitants cannot be sheltered (housed) by a house, if they have no house to house them.  The human being is both the house and  inhabitant  together.  The body is dead without the heart, and the heart cannot exist without a body. 

Besides the shelter that the house provides, the physical body has another basic need for existence.  The body needs water and food to sustain life.  The picture of a water pump helps us see how a physical house (entire property) needs a water source to thrive.  Not only humans, but also the animals living on a property need water.  The plant life also needs water.  Animals and plants supply the food source.  Even the most well-equipped house cannot function without a connection to, and dependence on, outside source for water.  

Our physical heart is a pump.  When the pump stops, life stops.  The body needs a constant stream of blood flow for existence.  Spiritually speaking, the heart maintains the flow that sustains life (see Job 32:8). 

Another connection that most houses have to the outside world, is an electrical panel box.  In the last century electricity has become the means by which we provide light in the darkness, run our power tools for (re)construction, preserve our foods with refrigeration, recharge our batteries that run our phones and appliances, and so on. 

As a living soul our house is in need of a power source to run electricity throughout the house to power all that needs powered up.  Our heart is like a panel box for the house.  As the container for the spiritual part of our being, it is the center for transforming the outside power from the power grid.

The community where I live is home to the original Amish settlement in the USA.  The Amish are known for their simple ways of living and doing without electricity.  The Amish do not connect to the power grid fed by the utility company.  They choose instead to generate their own power. In order to remain self-sufficient.  I see this as a picture of what our life is like before converting to Christ.  Whatever “power” we have to function, isn’t coming from connection with God. When we believe in Jesus and start relying on God’s power, it is like connecting our house to the power grid.

Connecting to God in this way is an ever deepening commitment to his re-creation process.  Our heart is being transformed so that he can bring Light to the dark spots (see 1 Peter 2:9).  Our broken world creates dark spots in the form of burdens, brokenness, hurts, wounds, traumas, and injustices.  They may be hidden in dark closets, fixtures that need to be replaced, entire rooms that haven’t yet been renovated, or even basement foundational issues never discovered before.     

Our houses (containing our hearts) are vulnerable to many issues that could shape the condition we are in at any given time.  Environmental and construction influences (eg. Foundation flaws), damage caused by storms or pests (eg. Tornado or termites), system breakdowns (eg. heating or A/C), abuse (eg. Misusing equipment), clutter, and normal wear and tear.  In our personal lives, these may translate into family of origin issues, generational sins, other background turbulence, abuses, health issues, financial concerns, relational difficulties, and other negative influencers.  Before we realize it, loss conditions create hard, “stoney” hearts hiding in denial and numb emotions.

A prophetic word spoken through Ezekiel in ancient Israel gives us a picture of what it is like for God to call a people (both individually and corporately) out of ungodliness to godliness.  

For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.  Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.   Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:24-26).    Jesus is the one who revives and re-creates our hearts.  He washes us clean, empowers us with his Spirit, and makes us pliable and receptive to the ongoing process of transformation.     

            Although we are bound to a natural body (house) for life, we also have access to a supernatural realm with God providing an oasis of love and faithfulness unmatched in the universe.  We are reminded of some verses in the book of Romans that give us great hope, "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you" (Romans 8:9-11).

            We can all take hope today.  There is no condition too hard, no heart too stoney, no sin too dreadful, and no deeds too bad for God to redeem and re-create.  We can simply pray and ask him to do for us what he promised, and what he’s done so many times before.  Communing with God keeps us connected to the power source that never runs out.  May God grant each reader the grace for tapping in to his transformational power source today. 

 by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry