A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart (Luke 6:45 NLT).
Patricia Winters was tired. She just wanted to be a good mother, but could barely make it through the day. Cardiomyopathy had left her winded and sleeping eighteen hours a day. Her heart wasn't going to change and something radical was needed.
So what do you think she did? Well, she went out and bought a book called "Five Steps to a Healthy Heart." She listened to an audio series called "40 Days to a Strong Heartbeat." She went to the hospital and sat in the cardiologist's waiting room for an hour every week.
Of course she didn't do that. If you were her friend, you'd tell her she was crazy! You'd say, "Those books and podcasts could be of help if you had a good heart to begin with, but you don't. And just sitting in the cardiologist's waiting room gets you close to someone who might help, but you've got to go further than that."
Jesus would say the same about your heart. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus attacks the reason we're tired and have hearts that are not aligned with his. Some in the audience loved the Law and thought they had kept it. Some loved the Prophets, served people, and felt smug they weren't like the "Law-keepers." And both thought they were righteous.
In other words, they weren't much different than us. We check off our religious duties just like they did.
Been to church once in the past five weeks. Check.
Said a prayer or two when I thought about it. Check.
Read the scripture for the day that came across Facebook once this week. Check.
Gave a couple of dollars to the Salvation Army last Christmas so I wouldn't feel guilty walking by the bell-ringer again. Check.
Jesus doesn't say these attempts are bad. He says they just don't go deep enough. He says, "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Most listening thought the scribes and the Pharisees were the standard. Jesus moves on to show them another.
"Don't get angry. Don't lust. Don't divorce for just any reason. Be a person of your word. Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies."
Yes, with my sick heart it is. What I need is a new heart.
Her heart was sent to Patricia. Although most organ donations remain anonymous, friends of Patricia read about a thirteen year old who had a skiing accident and whose heart was sent to a thirty-nine year old woman. The two families connected and met. When they did, Patricia gave Tara — Taylor's mother — a stethoscope and let her listen to her daughter's heartbeat. Through tears Tara said, "It's so strong."
Can you imagine hearing your child's heart inside the body of another human being? God can!
That is our Father's dream for you and me. He wants to hear the heartbeat of his son in each and every one of us. He wants each of us to have a strong heart so we will live a strong life.
While sitting in a church building listening to "How to be a Great Lover" or "Six Steps to Successful Parenting" may have helped people a little bit, it hasn't cured anyone. A heart transplant is needed. Heart transplants don't just happen because we walk into a hospital. And our hearts won't change just because we walk into a church building a few times a year.
If someone were to put a stethoscope to your heart and listen to it, what would you want them to hear? A heart that's still strong and with a rhythm that is in step with God's heart? No five-step sermon will do that for you. Only Jesus can. Ask the Father to give you a new heart, a heart like Jesus!
Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 18:31 NLT).