In this video from her keynote at Lifeway Women’s Leadership Forum in 2017, author Lisa-Jo Baker talks about how we don’t need to just replace the things around us to affect our hearts, but we need a complete heart transplant.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
The problem though is it’s not how I’m built. I have a sin nature in me that constantly wants to turn around and look at what everybody else is doing and compare and feel bad about myself.
And thank you Instagram for inventing a new way to do that for me real fast. You know? Oh, thank you Facebook for now all these million and one ways I can peer into somebody else’s house. Thank you Pinterest for inventing new way to feel insecure about my mascara, my messy bun, my house, my parenting, my Christmas decorations, the cookies I tried to make that I will never post a photo of. Thank you Pinterest for that.
But as Lysa taught us this afternoon, Eve is the original mother of FOMO. Fear of mission out. Right? There she is in the garden and she’s worried that there’s something out there that will make her better, more like God, that she needs to get her hands on.
I wish this problem was as simple as removing social media from my phone. But clearly, it predates our phones. Clearly.
Here’s the thing, I don’t need a social media transplant. I need a heart transplant. That’s what has to change.
Jeremiah 17, verse 9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and incurable; who can understand it?” Incurable. I need a heart transplant. And you know what? I have a Savior who hung on a cross to donate His heart to me and to you. Because we are His called and we are His anointed.
My father was a medical resident in South Africa and he studied under Dr. Chris Barnard. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but he’s the first surgeon who ever performed, successfully, an open heart transplant. And my dad was one of his residents.
And he tells this story, of course in his beautiful British South African accent, about what it was like to train under this great surgeon who was perfecting what it meant to transplant a live heart into a human being.
Now, of course, the back story is very unique because in order to perfect this technique you must practice, right? Yes, the Pork Board of South Africa donated as many pigs as Dr. Barnard needed to perfect this surgery. And my dad said they’d be in the OR operating over and over again and there’s the pig and there’s the heart and then the pig would flatline. And Dr. Barnard would just lift up his hands and say, “Bring in the next one.” And they’d start over and over and over until he had perfected the technique of the open heart transplant.
But where do you find a patient who’s desperate enough to be the first patient? One thing to be the first surgeon, right? But to be the first patient. And his name was Louis Washkansky. He was 54 years old. He was a green grocer. And he was suffering from congenital heart failure.
And I love how Dr. Barnard describes what would bring a patient to the point where they’re desperate enough to lie down on an operating table with an untested doctor and let this procedure happen. Dr. Barnard, in great South African fashion, says this: “When you are being chased by lions through the bush and the only way away from them is to swim through a river of crocodiles, you will take your chance with the crocodiles.”
Are we desperate enough? Do we sense our heart failing so desperately that we will risk everything to come to a Savior and say, “Jesus, I need Your heart.” This corrupt heart beats me over and over again. What I want. What I’m left out of. What I’m entitled to. What I feel sad she got that I didn’t. This corrupt heart makes it so I can’t breathe anymore, let alone fulfill the mission You’ve put in front of me. Will we be brave enough to come to our Savior and ask Him for a heart transplant?
Because here’s the thing. He will take His own bloody, still beating heart out of His chest and graft it into you. He promises it to us. In Ezekiel 36:26 He says, “I will you give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
But here’s the thing. The most dangerous part of an open heart transplant is actually not the transplant itself. Weird, right? I wouldn’t have thought that. The most dangerous part is what they call Graft-Versus-Host Disease.
This is actually the reason that Dr. Barnard was the first person to perform the open heart transplant in South Africa. Other surgeons, both in New York and overseas in Europe and Germany, were qualified. They had the technique, but they were afraid of Graft-Versus-Host Disease.
What this means is that the body often will recognize an organ as not being part of it and will reject it. So the danger is, you put a new heart in, what happens when the body rejects the heart and in essence begins to attack the heart? And sadly for Louis, he only lived fourteen days after the surgery before he succumbed to Graft-Versus-Host Disease.
We run the same risks when Jesus gives us His heart. Because at the end of the day, what we surround the heart by will determine if the heart lives or not in us. We can’t ask Jesus for His heart and then feed it a constant diet of comparison, of constantly looking at what other people are doing, of feeling entitled or angry or belittling others. What we feed our body will determine if our heart lives or dies.
Pastor Tim Keller calls this place “the hallowed place.” And you know that from the Lord’s Prayer, right? “Hallowed be Thy name.” To hallow is to give all of your honor, all of your worship, all of your praise.
And the problem is that we are a culture who has worshipped at the altar of inclusion when we are meant to worship at the altar of the only living God. We need to saturate the new heart in us with who the Scripture says we are in Christ. To actually become a new creation, we have to invite His Word into the hallowed place.