There comes a point where there is seemingly no solution to our pain. No matter what causes it, you just feel broken. You try to occupy yourself constantly with petty distractions – whether it’s hours of YouTube or Netflix or drinking or being around people constantly. Your emotional suffering can be anything from overwhelming to dull and dead. But it’s there. Always. And no distraction, no drug, no drink, no person, no medication is going to fix your broken heart.
If you’ve read my testimony, you know I have struggled with depression and anxiety on a deep level. I didn’t go wildly into detail but we will leave it at I was reaching a point where I was hoping to get smashed by a semi. My circumstances weren’t terrible, and certainly not the worst I’d ever seen. But my foundation in faith was gone and therefore I stood in quicksand, just waiting for it to pull me under, and sometimes hoping it would.
When I look out, I see a lot of broken hearts. Sometimes I see even worse – empty chests. That’s where I was. Dried up. Empty. And when your heart decays this much it affects everything. The relationships around you, your emotional state, your work ethic, your passions and hobbies, and even your physical health.
You can’t bandage your way to healing. You have to heal from the inside out. It starts with a new heart.
God says, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you,” (Ezekiel 36:26a, ESV).
This changed my life. God tells us that he will start us completely new on the inside. You can’t fix what you have, so he’s going to give you a new start. Whether you know Jesus or not, like him or don’t like him, you’ve probably heard that Christian’s become “born again” because Jesus Christ died on the cross for our salvation and rose again. That’s what God is talking about here. He’s going to completely resurrect us from the sin that is hurting us and bring us new life.
This means not only are we now saved from damnation, but we are changed here and now in our current life.
Ezekiel 36:26b-27 says, “And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a new heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules!” (ESV).
It just gets better! Now, God is telling us that he’s not just giving us a new heart and a new spirit, but he’s also going to put HIS Spirit in us. This is one of my absolute favorite things about God. He actually sends us his own Spirit to guide us and help us through our lives. Of course, many people may want to cringe at “obey my rules!”, but God is an orderly being. The rules are meant for our good and our protection. When we stray, we leave God’s protection and enter ourselves into a whole lot of trouble. If we listen to the Holy Spirit, we are led to things that will grow us, make us better and stronger, help other people, and advance the kingdom of God so that more people may know his incredible love. Sounds like a better path, right?
So what does this all mean for us? Ephesians 4:14-19 paints a nice picture:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (ESV)
The Apostle Paul is about as wordy as I am. So let’s break this down:
First of all, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit strengthens us with his power into our inner being. Divine, mystical strength? Um, yes please! This is how we endure our suffering right here. This is why once we have a new heart and spirit it will prevail through all trials and prosecutions. There is literally an all-powerful, all-mighty Spirit inside of me and all who allow him in. That means there is nothing, not one thing, that could ever stand between me and my salvation or my purpose given to me by God. That means when someone tells me off, when I am sick, when I am injured, when I feel weak, a living being inside me will hold me up. So stand down depression, stand down anxiety — no one has power over the Holy Spirit of God.
Secondly, Paul tells us that Christ is in our hearts. So what’s in my new heart I didn’t have before? Christ. What does that even mean? That now we can begin to be molded into his image. Jesus Christ was the only perfect human being to ever live. He is the ultimate role model and teacher. We can never be him, but with him in our hearts – his love, his compassion, his mercy, his wisdom, his understanding – we are able to become like him. So perfectionists, you wanna be perfect? Let Jesus into your heart and see how close to his image you can get, because he is the only perfect thing worth striving to be like. When you have this new heart of Christ, it becomes much easier to forgive others, move past your grudges and regrets, heal, and live a joyful and effective life. It becomes way more difficult to throw your heart and other peoples’ hearts into a blender, or live bitterly, or fall into pits of depression.
Lastly, Paul tells us that the ultimate key to this is love. “The love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge.” This means Jesus loves us beyond all reason and understanding and that if you let him into your heart, your love will grow and grow and grow until you start to experience the “fullness of God.” That is to say, God will work in you, around you, for you, and most importantly through you. You become a vessel baring the heart and spirit of God.
I could go on about this forever. There is nothing in all the world that will ever heal you like a heart transplant from God. If you are sick of feeling bitter, anxious, angry, sad, heavy, empty, lost, disconnected, broken, or depressed – you can go to the doctor, you can take a pill, you can see a counselor, or drown yourself in whatever you have to distract yourself. Or, you can give it to God. Tell him how you really feel, even if you have to scream it at him. He can handle whatever you have to say. Just know, he is there, full of mercy and healing. He wants to heal you from the inside out. He wants to make you feel alive and restore a purpose to you. Ask him for a new heart, for his strength, for his Spirit. The Lord never fails a promise and he will draw close to you if you draw close to him (James 4:8).
Verses to think about:
Philippians 4:11b-13: “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Colossians 1:11-12: “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”