Getting to the heart of the matter

Tips for Life

by Alan Bailey

When life seems a bit mundane, a bit ordinary, think about what is going on inside your body. One of the many things we take for granted is that wonderful pump, the heart. We don’t even feel its action most of the time but it is working away day and night keeping us alive.

It is amazingly efficient. Its job is to keep a river of life flowing through our blood vessels. There is no provision for a shut-down for repairs, or for a monthly service, it must just keep pumping, hour by hour, day by day and year by year. Muscles expand and contract, valves open and shut, all prompted by nerve impulses.

Sure, many folks have problems with diseases and disorders. This doesn’t reflect on the design and efficiency of the healthy organ. Very often it reflects on the way we treat our bodies and the things we ask them to do.

The other heart
There is another wonder within us, also called the heart. In many cultures, it is thought of as the place of feelings, decisions and affections. To say “I felt deep in my heart that she was right” is easily understood. We don’t have difficulty knowing what someone is talking about when they say they love us with all their heart. Some decisions seem to be made in the heart rather than in the head.

Now no-one could possibly assert that we are talking about that faithful pump when we speak in this way. What we are referring to is the core of our being, a place where we hold counsel, a place where deepest feelings lie buried in a world of personal privacy. It is where we live, it is the seat of personality, the sum of all that is important about us as human beings.

The question of health
This heart is also subject to fault. Even disease. Yes, capable of much that we would see as good, but, alas, capable of everything awful under the sun. As Jesus said, out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. A prophet called Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

It is not pleasant to contemplate these statements but we are forced to acknowledge that they are absolutely true. The evidence is stacked high all round us. And the rub is, within us. Who can say I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin?

Change of heart
Since Christian Barnard pioneered heart transplant surgery, there have been countless people who have benefited by various heart operations. Is it possible that changes could be made to that other heart we have talked about?

The difference I have seen in people over the years who have had a radical change in their natures, shows me that it is possible. It ties in with what the Bible teaches. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone; the new has come (2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17).

An in-depth encounter with Christ makes changes in us. We will never be the same again. Obviously there are many vestiges of the old person still there that surface often. But there is a fundamental difference. The heart has been changed. Outlooks alter, desires are different, new qualities appear. A Christian is working on the problem of increasing the virtue and decreasing the vice. Or, if you like, living in the power of the risen Christ.

Two healthy hearts add up to one large blessing.

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