A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. ~ Ezekiel 36:26
Remember the Grinch? He hated the whole Christmas season! No one quite new the reason. Maybe his head wasn’t screwed on right, or his shoes were too tight. Come to find out, the Grinch was grinchy because his heart was several sizes too small.
Have you ever known a Grinch, or perhaps even been one—a bit greedy, grumpy, jealous, mean-spirited, or, small-hearted? The good news is that all hearts have growth potential. Challenged in healthy ways to pump a little harder or a little faster, hearts do grow—not necessarily in size, but in capability. A conditioned heart delivers more blood with each beat. Even “broken” hearts can grow new vessels to restore blood flow where it is needed.
When God promised a new heart to Ezekiel and the people of Israel, rather than just replacing it, God was making improvements. “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). In place of the granite that would last for centuries God put flesh that would only last a lifetime, but it could beat. Only a beating heart can respond not only to challenges, hardship, and heavy demands, but also to opportunity, inspiration, and awe. Our hearts are made to come to life.
Touched by the merry sound of the Hoos, the Grinch felt his shriveled heart “grow three sizes” on Christmas day. Our hearts, touched by the spirit of Christmas, are poised to respond, too. Isn’t it amazing what God can do with a willing heart?
- In a quiet moment, place your hand over your heart to feel it beat, or if that proves difficult, find your carotid pulse (at the side of your neck) or your radial pulse (at your wrist). Can you feel the pulse of it beating?
- Now, stimulate your heart by doing something active you enjoy. Pause midway and notice your pulse. Feel the beat-beat-beating.
- Speak your thanks in rhythm for the heart God began beating in you. Listen for God’s response to your good stewardship on behalf of God’s creation livening you.
- What does it mean to love God with your whole heart?
- What has changed in you as you have attempted to love God with all of your heart?
- What does the beating of your heart suggest about of the nature or character of God?
Thank you, God, for my heart, the magnificent organ that serves with such humility to distribute my life’s blood. Help me to care for it well so I can use it to respond to the needs of my world and to your calling on my life. Father, you always know best. Amen.