How’s Your Heart?
February is National Heart Month in the U.S.A. Pretty smart designation with Valentines Day on February 14th! I love statistics and found that Heart Disease was the number one leading cause of death in America in 2020 (the last year statistics are fully available) with 696,962 deaths. Second was cancer at 602,350; third was Covid at 350,831; fourth was accidents at 200,955 and fifth was stroke at 160,264. Heart disease can mean any number of things coronary artery disease to arrhythmia problems to heart defects. It is estimated that 805,000 people had heart attacks in 2020 — with 605,000 new people having heart attacks and 200,000 more heart attacks happening to people who have already had at least one.
The Bible speaks much about the heart. Sometimes, the heart can mean the mind or the soul or the spirit of a human being. Sometimes, the heart refer to the place of emotion or the seat of bad behavior or the place where one reasons, questions, thinks or motivates ones self. We know from Jeremiah 17:9 that, “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” God knows, that’s who!
Humanly, if the heart stops, life isn’t too far behind. Spiritually, we need to be recipients of a “new” heart (Ezekiel 36:26). Those reading this column have likely heard many times over the need for us to repent of our sin and receive the cleansing from sin that only Jesus can bring. That is the essence of receiving the new heart that Ezekiel wrote of under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When this occurs, the New Testament speaks of people moving from darkness to light. If people do not do this, the Bible speaks of those folks being “lost.” Jesus, Himself, spoke of this in Luke 15 when He spoke of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. Further, Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that He “came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus was referring to people!
In this season of time, it seems that some in church world are getting caught up in any number of other “issues.” Some of these “issues” are in fact needing to be addressed. BUT, in our hurry to make statements and put forth our best positions and virtuous actions, may we not move off of the mission, and the manner, Christ gave us in Matthew 28:18-20. Again, familiar words to those who will read this, but read again with fresh eyes, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
The only one who can change the human heart is Christ Jesus the Lord! Why He chooses to use you and I, we perhaps will never know this side of Glory. BUT, He has committed to those who have crossed over from darkness to light; from death to life; those who have received Him (John 1:12) the message and ministry of spiritual reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
May our collective “heart” in the Rocky Mountain District be about reaching people for Christ — seeing them come into a right, reconciled relationship with Christ! A relationship that is life-giving now and in eternity!