If you’ve ever been driving your automobile in heavy traffic and a red dash light comes on you know something’s up. When you suddenly hear a loud sound and see a cloud of dark smoke billowing from your exhaust pipe, you know trouble is brewing. When your engine conks out and the motorists behind you start honking their horns because they apparently feel your pain and really care, you know things aren’t looking good. By the way, when anyone honks at you when you’re in trouble, it helps tremendously! If only honking could fix the problem.
After having the vehicle towed to a mechanic for his or her appraisal, they tell you the engine is blown. It’s beyond repair and can’t be fixed. It needs to be replaced. You were hoping for a simple fix - something like a smoke problem but the smoke wasn’t the problem - the problem was the engine.
In Matthew chapters 5-7, Jesus is constantly getting to the root of our problems. He knows the problem isn’t merely our deeds but it’s the motivating factors in the heart that fuels those deeds. He says things like this:
Matt. 5:21-22 “You have heard it said long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”
Matt. 5:27-28 “You have heard it said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Pretty radical huh? But then again, radical means to get to the root of something and bring about transforming change. We murder people physically because we harbor anger in our hearts. We can murder people in our hearts and with our tongues long before it happens physically. We cheat on our mates sexually and practice a sexually active lifestyle outside marriage because we carry around something called ‘lust’ in our hearts. Lust is self-centered, and is often translated ‘evil desires’ in the Bible. We look for satisfaction in pleasure rather than finding God’s purpose for us and when it doesn’t fill the void, we sing the song by the Rolling Stones: "I Can't Get No Satisfaction".
A lot of us know things aren’t right inside our lives because we see ugly stuff coming out. We erupt in anger like a volcano and spew devastating pain to those around us. We criticize and complain to such a degree that a cloud of negativism is created. Our attitudes often stink and we become an odor to avoid rather than a fragrance to enjoy. We emit enough black smoke from our lives to choke those who trail behind us.
God says our hearts are too darkened and hardened by sin to ever quit polluting life as we know it. Just like a blown engine, it needs to be replaced rather than repaired.
I’m glad for heart transplants. It’s God’s specialty! Ezekiel 36:26 - "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you a heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit in you."
Our only hope for this life - and for eternal life - is a new heart. We can't perform heart surgery on ourselves! Only the divine surgeon can do that! Why not visit one of the many Church families in Kings County this weekend. If you are ready, they can introduce you to the Doctor who can give you a new heart.