I can vaguely remember at the age of 13, hearing about the world’s first heart transplant. It was headline news for sure. Today, approximately 3,500 transplants are performed worldwide every year and for nearly twenty years now, doctors have been implanting both animal and artificial hearts as well as human ones. It’s amazing! Reminds me of a spiritual principle.
Proverbs 4: 23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” The natural heart supplies life to the body. Arteries carry blood to enable you to live. If this process is hindered, you will weaken and eventually your very life will be threatened. Spiritually, we need to have a continuing stream of life flowing within us. If this process is hindered, you will weaken and eventually die spiritually. Another reason to watch over our hearts with all diligence is that what defiles us comes from within, from our hearts. (Mark 7: 20-23)
I have found that what endangers a human heart transplant also endangers a spiritual one. True to Ezekiel’s prophecy, millions of us have received a spiritual heart transplant. I received mine some 36 years ago and I’ve grown healthier by the year. Charted by graph, this would not look like a long “upward only” line; but I can say that by His grace my heart has been enlarged. The greatest risk facing natural heart transplants is “graft rejection.” Approximately 20% are no longer alive two years after the operation due to the heart being rejected. The main issue at stake is medically controlling the rejection. When a transplanted organ comes into your body, your immune system considers it an infection and fights against it. The old organs are in essence saying, “We were here first and you don’t fit in. We are not about to change and adapt to accomodate you.”
Can you see the same problem occurring in our spiritual lives? The Book of James tells us that the implanted, or engrafted, word is what dynamically changes (saves) our soul. It’s the new heart coming to replace the old. How often I have heard the refrain of rebellion from within me, my old false self (the old organs) musing as to whether or not it wants to surrender to being replaced! My carnal DNA rages against the new seed of Christ forming in me. Graft rejection must be controlled and conquered. The new heart given to us by God must have dominion. Dual ruler-ship of soul must not be tolerated. The Spirit is waging war against our flesh and the flesh against the Spirit. In this sense, growth conflict is good; i.e. the fact that you’re in this battle is proof that you’re God dwelt and Spirit led. The Spirit is waging war against the flesh and the flesh is waging war against the Spirit, all this on the terrain of your soul. Our choice is to either sow to the Spirit or sow to the flesh (Galatians 6:8). Here’s a life principle: Whoever you feed the most will grow the most.
Psalm 119:32 “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart.” Be encouraged today: you DO have the heart to run this race.