Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). The Lord wants us to have soft, moldable, fleshy hearts. When He initially penetrates our unregenerated, hard hearts with His gospel of salvation, a marvelous process begins within us.
Usually, we associate a romantic or emotional breaking of the heart with separation, divorce, or death. The Achy, Breaky Heart Billy Ray Cyrus sang about couldn’t bear the thought of romantic rejection, nor could the heart Elton John wrote about in Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart.
God sees the heart differently than just an ooey, gooey blob of romantic infatuation or love. He sees our hearts as the place He wants to occupy. When He takes up residence there, He begins a lifelong renovation project, breaking off hardened areas that entrap and make us unable to understand or enjoy life in the Spirit. If we want more of the Lord’s character, evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit, we should welcome His reaching into and breaking away the stony areas of our hearts.
Broken hearts are painful, but when the Lord breaks off a chunk of hardened heart, He replaces it with a portion of His character. The very life of God energizes the heart, and His love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control take over. VOILA! A new creature emerges, for If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB). Those “new things” occur first in the heart, as the Lord breaks off crusty hard chunks of our old sinful nature—our “old man,” if you will. Stubbornness, pride, selfishness, greed, hatred, jealousy, etc., make up the old man.
The crusty, hard heart of our old man describes the heart of anyone without Christ, and Ephesians 4:18 explains why such a heart is incapable of understanding the things of God. Paul tells us that without Christ, such people are being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart. How tragic to be excluded from the life of God, and yet the world is full of those who scoff at Christ's magnificent, finished work on the cross and God’s immeasurable love and plan of redemption.
In Hebrews 3:12, Paul warned believers, should any of us think our hearts are fully softened and completely moldable. He said, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” Wow. It should alarm us that unbelief, alone, can lead us to fall away from God. We desperately need Him to break off that chunk!
Unbelief is a nasty, crusty area of hardness in the heart. God gave Pharaoh a hard heart when he kept refusing to allow Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Exodus 9:12 (NLT) states, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and just as the Lord had predicted to Moses, Pharaoh refused to listen. Why would the Lord do that if He’s in the business of softening hard hearts?? God explains His motive in Exodus 7:3, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.” Signs, wonders, and miracles tend to make believers out of the hardest hearts, and Pharoah finally released God’s people, though his heart kept vacillating and became hard again.
It's a good thing when God breaks the hardness in our hearts. Recently, a prophetic word came to our body of believers. The essence of the prophecy was that the Lord is breaking off hard pieces of our hearts and making them soft as He continues to make our hearts new. He encouraged us that He will speak to us when we wake up, as we go to sleep, and in our dreams. Softened hearts open our communication lines with the Lord.
Don’t go breakin’ my heart? Let’s rethink that. There is One whom we should allow to break our hearts as often as He deems necessary until our hearts reflect His and we meet Him face-to-face for all eternity. Brooke Fraser’s song Hosanna captures the believer’s heart cry so well in these lyrics:
Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause,
As I walk from Earth into eternity. Friends, let our prayer be, “PLEASE go breakin’ my heart, Lord! Break every hard piece of unbelief and resistance to Your plan for my life, and give me a soft, tender heart like Yours.” Amen.
© 2023, Chris Werre