The Gift of a New Heart
Updated: Mar 24
What would you do with a second chance at life? There is hope with a God of second chances. Read about one man's story of a second chance in today's blog.
For the eyes of The Lord move here and there throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are completely His.
2 Chronicles 16:9
You are to love The Lord your God with all you heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Matthew 22:37 (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Several years ago, I became friends with someone who had a heart transplant. The theme of a new heart, is heavy on my own. If we get to the heart of the Christmas story, isn’t that what it is ultimately about anyway?
My friend found out that a virus had stricken his heart years earlier and that a transplant would be needed, or he would be dead within months. Most of us do not come face to face with our own mortality in the prime of our lives. Some of us do.
Few of us will ever need a new physical heart … one donated by someone who died suddenly, often violently, so another might live. But all of us need a new spiritual heart. Jesus Christ died a violent death, so that we might live. He gave His life in place of ours to cover our sins. God loved us so much, that He came to earth as a baby and lived in human skin, experiencing everything we experience in our human condition. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection three days later, bridged the gap between fallen, imperfect man and a holy, perfect God.
He gave us a second chance. A chance to be spiritually born again. A chance to have a relationship with a living God who knows us intimately and intricately (Psalm 139) and who longs for us to know Him the same way. God is a relational God. He is not some white haired, long-bearded judge sitting on a throne pointing a finger at us when we do wrong. He is a loving, caring Father who hurts when we hurt, who cries when we cry, who rejoices when we rejoice. He is a feeling God, not impersonal and detached from our lives, but there, involved in every way, and any way we are willing to let Him be.
My friend was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease that usually makes the heart muscle soft, floppy and weak. However, his condition was one of restrictive cardiomyopathy, his heart was turning into scar tissue, becoming stiff and hard, like a rock. The Lord says,
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you;
I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26
Some of us may have a new spiritual heart, but what is keeping us from experiencing all God has for us, is a wounded emotional heart. Life is hard. We get hurt, bruised, scarred. Some of us experience abuse in one form or another. We go through life with a wounded heart or a heart that has turned to scar tissue. Some of us determine that the way to survive is to harden our hearts. We put walls around our emotional selves; no one can get too close or have the power to hurt us again … no person, not even God. But in doing so we trap ourselves, because we are not free to express, feel, or let love in, as long as we have walls up to keep out pain.
I have discovered that we don’t get to selectively choose the emotions we want to feel or block out in life based on our experiences. Truly loving and really living require courage, both are risky … but I believe that in great risk is great reward. In great risk, is great love, and in that, the possibility of great pain.
God took the greatest risk ever, and by grace, gave His life for us out of love. He loves us completely, unconditionally, wholeheartedly. And we cannot, ever, do anything to earn that love. When we surrender our pain, when we surrender our hardened hearts, when we ask Him to give us a new heart, He will.
God desires our hearts to be tender toward Him and toward others. He desires our love, but He never demands, never insists. God created us with the freedom to choose, for only in freedom is love genuine. When we truly get a hold of what God has done for us, loving Him with our whole heart is no longer a struggle or a battle of will. We will love Him out of sheer gratitude, pure humility, and faithful devotion.
In experiencing this heart disease, the various medications, the transplant, as well as the subsequent changes and challenges a new heart and a new life brought to him; my friend also experienced betrayal, rejection, and abandonment by those he loved. He experienced isolation, depression, and overwhelming loneliness, as well as incredible physical pain most of us never experience, and only a few of us ever will. Yet his resilience and tenacious determination to live life, and to not be defeated by that which ravaged his body, is a testament to the strength of his spirit and also, to the God who loves him and has suffered every minute with Him. Scripture says, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:4) … we are not without a comforter who has walked where we walk, felt what we felt, experienced what we experience. (See also, Isaiah 61:1-4).
So what do you do when God gives you a second chance? A third? Even more? Do you live your life for yourself, or do you chose to live your life for the One who has saved you and redeemed you? God has a purpose for you to fulfill in your lifetime.
If you have been given a spiritual second chance, God has something great He wants to do in and through you. If you have been given a physical second or third chance, God has kept you alive because He has something great He wants to do in and through you. If you have been given emotional chances, it is because God wants to heal you, free you, and use the very thing that wounded you, to help others.
In this generation, in this time, in this place, exactly where I am, exactly where you are, certain people have been assigned and entrusted to us, dear believer. Our obedience to God is paramount to those people seeing the divine hand of God in their lives.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
The good works are not for our own glory. The good that we do, the kindness we show, the faith we inspire, the love we give, the seeds of hope we sow, the difference we make in how we live our lives day to day is to glorify God. Why? Because God’s principal goal is to turn people to a relationship with Himself. The assignment God has given you and me, the purpose He has called us to, is not the foundational purpose of God choosing to work through us. The foundational purpose of God choosing to work in us is to draw us to Himself; and the foundational purpose of God choosing to work through us is that others are blessed and encouraged to follow Him more fully.
Oh, dear friends, God wants to do great things in and through you! We each touch lives that no one else will touch. In I Corinthians 2:9 Paul quotes Isaiah,
No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no one’s heart has imagined all the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.
God has prepared great things for those who love Him! So let us “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” (Ephesians 4:1).
During this special, wondrous, beautiful, meaningful, and sometimes sad, nostalgic, painful and challenging time of year … let me encourage you dear ones, wherever you are, to commit afresh and anew to love The Lord God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength … and in doing so, allow Him to put a new heart in you, a heart that reflects His love.
If you feel like a wounded emotional heart is keeping you from experiencing all God has for you, I invite you to learn more about how we can support you through Christian Life Coaching. You can schedule HERE for a no-obligation Create a Life You Love Discovery Session.
This blog is by Freedom to Flourish Life Coaching Founder and Christian Life Coach, Jen Stone-Sexton. She is currently accepting new clients. You can learn more about Jen here.
Jennifer Stone-Sexton © 2022 Freedom to Flourish Life Coaching All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credits: Cover Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash | Photo 1 by Liv Bruce on Unsplash | Photo 2 by Morgan Howard | Photo 3 by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash