A New Heart

by Pastor Andrew Wolfenbarger

Ezekiel 11:19-20 – “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

I attended Bible College with a student body of about 1,000 students. One day in Chapel, the vice president of our school announced that we needed to pray for a young man who had experienced severe heart issues and was in critical condition.

It wasn’t until later that I learned this young man had received a heart transplant as an infant. At that time, he was the youngest person to undergo this procedure. Since then, he was required to take anti-rejection medication that kept his body working harmoniously with his foreign heart.

As the story goes, he decided that his body had been functioning well with that heart for years; and he no longer saw the need to continue his medication. Soon afterward, his health took a drastic turn and he almost died. Thankfully, he recovered and returned to school sometime after.

The key passage today references a time when God promised to develop within the people of Israel a new heart. This promise is made again in Ezekiel 36:26-27, Jeremiah 24:7, 31:33, and 32:39-40 and it was always God’s ultimate design. God didn’t desire forced coercion. That is nothing more than tyranny. Nor does He permit total defiance because that would lead to anarchy.

God has designed man with the capacity for free will. It is this freedom of choice that God can produce an intimacy and fellowship with Him that is of an even more pure quality than any other kind.

Our natural heart is not prone to desire this nearness with our God. While in his natural state, Adam hid behind the trees, afraid of God. When Jesus came to Earth in the fullness of God’s glory, Isaiah says, “we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” So, God mandates a heart transplant where the old ways of our hearts are exchanged for the new man in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I believe this occurs when we believe in the Lord Jesus as our Savior. This is a supernatural work of God whereby He changes us, not merely externally, but internally. Just as the blind, leprous, and crippled in Jesus’ day experienced immediate and obvious changes, so does the born-again Christian.

Our problem is when we stop taking our anti-rejection drugs. Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically, but we are inclined to stray back into our old mindset and old habits and forfeit the joy of this new heart that God gives us.

How can we tell if our heart is right?
1. Does your heart align with the Heart of God?
“I will give them one heart” – That means our heart should be united with His in the things of God. Do we love as He does? Do we rejoice in the same things that bring Him joy? Do we enjoy serving others just as Jesus served?

2. Do you have a changed attitude?
“I will put a new spirit within you” – God’s people should have a disposition of grace and peace. We should not be easily provoked or ready to fly off the handle in anger. We shouldn’t be prone to complaining and only see the bad in every situation. Our attitude is one of hopeful anticipation of the great work that God is doing even if we aren’t aware of it at the time.

3. Is your heart sensitive to the Word of God?
“and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them” – While the lost world looks at the Bible as a rule book, the child of God sees it as a help manual. It troubleshoots many of the problems we encounter in life and equips us with the knowledge to handle them with grace for the glory of God. Do you love His Word? It is surely evidence that He has changed your heart.






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