"I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 11:19
A serious error was made when a heart patient in a St. Louis hospital was given the wrong heart. The patient had Type A blood, but the transplanted heart was type B. Fortunately the patient was able to survive the error.
God, our heavenly Physician, makes no such mistakes. When we pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me,” God the Holy Spirit gives us the kind of heart we need. What we ourselves are unable to do to meet our spiritual needs – and we know our inability – God can and will do, as He has promised through the prophet Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you” (Ezekiel 36:26). He replaces the heart of stone with a heart of flesh.
This new heart is not a physical organ, such as beats in our chests. It stands for the human mind, soul, and spirit by which we are enabled to harbor and hold the saving faith that God grants through the Gospel (and, as a result of it, a warm, living heart of flesh).
Having given us the right kind of heart – a heart that trusts in the life-giving, forgiving, sin-atoning death of Jesus – God grants also the other spiritual gifts we need. Jesus has promised that the Father in heaven gives good gifts to those who ask Him. He is unlike such fathers who give their children a stone when they ask for bread or a snake when they request a fish (see Matthew 7:9). This would be a cruelty far beyond the nature of our good and gracious Father in heaven.
We are like our divine Father and perfect Physician when we share God’s blessings with others who need them and when we exercise great care to supply them with the right things they need. It helps very little – it may hurt, in fact – when we give a type B gift instead of the needed Type A. Worse still is the giving of empty words when loving deeds are in order, such as saying, to quote Saint James, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but then doing nothing about it (James 2:16).
God blesses His children so that they can be a blessing to others.
PRAYER: Lord God, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)