A prick in the heart
By Keith Newman
THE LIFE FORCE of humans is the blood flowing through our veins. When our lifeblood is spilled our tenure as temporary custodians of the planet comes to a sudden close.
The internal biological pump; that complex mass of muscle we call the heart is regular as clockwork and more reliable than a machine. It is our central support system continually propelling litres of liquid life through a network of fine tubes.
Gently and rhythmically the heart labours away putting out as much effort as it would take to lift a tonne weight five stories high.
Like a power station generating energy for a massive underground city, the human heart actually outputs an electrical field equal to one millionth of the earth’s magnetic field and yet the heart, is a most sensitive organ.
If you get a sudden shock or fright the first reaction comes from your heart. Your whole system goes into overdrive, the brain squirts a dose of adrenaline into the bloodstream so the body can cope with whatever it is you're faced with.
People have been known to find hidden resources of strength in such times. Cars have been miraculously lifted off children by mothers who never considered they couldn't do it. Great distances have been covered in short times by normally unfit folk, amazing endurance and courage has been found by others in their moment of dire need.
In anger we can begin to shake, and sometimes the heart responds so dramatically we hear the blood pounding in our ears. Preparing to go on stage before a crowd of people can have our hearts feeling like the epicentre of an earthquake as we battle to keep our knees from knocking together.
The heart also seems to know when we are sad, down, lonely or suffering from a broken relationship. It is such a finely tuned instrument that it seems to react to almost every change in our circumstances.
The excitement of being near somebody special, or falling in love can have the poor old thing almost doing somersaults inside.
In fact emotion and sensitive reaction have become so identified with the heart that we often speak of it as the seat of our inward life. The heart is often referred to as the centre of our will and understanding — the core of our moral and spiritual life — the spiritual headquarters of our being.
In the Bible the Apostle Peter talks of the “hidden man of the heart”. Paul a teacher with direct revelation from Jesus Christ explains that everyone receives from life what they put into it, according to the attitude of their heart.
Christ's disciple Matthew explains that wherever our priorities lie there our heart will also be focused. And doctor Luke in his gospel says the qualities of our words and activities will soon betray just what state our hearts are in.
In the Old Testament the Psalms tell us “the fool has said in his heart there is no God” but the Psalmist also writes “if we delight ourselves in God he will give us the desires of our heart”.
After Jesus walked this planet as a man tested and tried in every aspect of life, as we all are, he made some amazing promises to those who would dare follow in his footsteps.
He told a group of his followers to wait for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit; the agent of God's power, to come upon them. So they waited, 120 of them, and then just as he had promised the power fell.
The followers of Jesus were so full of life that day because God had begun a new thing in their lives and indeed in history. It had begun in his Son and would yet culminate in the establishment of the heavenly Kingdom in earth.
Many among that multitude who heard Peter tell of the things Jesus had done cried out with a deep desire to be released from their bondage and to know the sweet presence of God’s Spirit. They were touched by words spoken with great authority — they were pricked in their hearts.
Many called out to Peter asking what they must do. Peter told them they must believe in God and make him the prime motivation in their lives. They must adjust their way of thinking and leave behind selfish ways of living.
As an outward sign of their sincerity he asked them to be baptised, ‘made fully wet with water’ representing the transition from the old life into the new. Old things would then be considered washed away and the new begin with a clean slate.
Peter proclaimed that God was now able to set them free from their inner turmoil, guilt and fear. For their faithfulness they would receive forgiveness, deliverance and liberty.
He told them they'd been living life backwards — missing the mark. But now because they had faith, because they believed, they would receive ‘a gift; from God, a down-payment on the life to come.
This ‘gift’ was the same Holy Spirit who descended on the 120 followers of Jesus in the upper room; the life giving pure breath of the Heavenly Father. The offer of the same of the gift' is made to all people everywhere today.
Anyone with the desire to become a son or daughter of God can respond to the life and teachings of Christ. He alone is the author of salvation; he sets a new dimension in motion in our lives. He restores our heart, allows us to become who we are meant to be, releasing us into our full potential as we work out our salvation, bringing us into wholeness, completeness and spiritual health.