Hole in the Heart
By: Jim O'Brien
A close friend and I once had an ongoing conversation about a plan I was contemplating for the Church. He was convinced that it would have a positive impact in a needed area. After several discussions he humorously chided me for not taking action. "Why donít you do it?" he asked with a big grin. "Probably because of my Irish DNA," I replied.
"Well," he said, "some sins are given to us to overcome."
However lighthearted the conversation, it is true that humans are born with things to overcome. The problem is the failure to recognize our own flaws. We think we came equipped with everything we need. Then something happens and weíre surprised to learn that we are inadequate.
In Psalm 51 King David prayed, "In sin did my mother conceive me." Some otherwise bright commentators have jumped to the conclusion that Davidís conception was illegitimate. That hardly seems likely since David was the younger of several siblings. Furthermore, the Bible speaks of Davidís father, Jesse, in respectful terms, even listing him in the lineage of Jesus Christ. The problem does not seem to be with the parents, but with David.
But that leaves a more disturbing question. With what sin could a newborn baby be charged?
Maybe it isnít what we are born with so much as what we are born without.
C.S. Lewis, the famous author, once wrote that man is born with a hole in his heart. Something is missing from the start. Lewis said humans try to fill this missing dimension with substitutes such as drugs, alcohol, money, or sex. He could have added a lot of other things to the list such as science, government and work.
Lewis says the hole can only be filled by Jesus Christ. Itís like a lock with only one key. Humans come equipped with a spirit that is incomplete. The only key that can fill the spiritual hole is Jesus Christ. Anything else is a poor substitute.
Why is this key so important? The answer, in part, is revealed in a discussion Jesus had with Peter. Once when Jesus was talking with the disciples he turned to Peter and said, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail" (Luke 22:31-32 NIV). Jesus was aware of another world not visible to the human eye. Like a ubiquitous virus that is unseen, it can cause terrible damage. Without a defense mechanism, humans are vulnerable. But how can you defend yourself against an invisible attacker if you donít know it exists?
This was apparent from the beginning. When God was displeased with Cain for an inadequate offering, Cain was angry. God revealed something to Cain that all humans need to understand. He said, "Ösin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it" (Genesis 4:7 NIV).
There is a spirit world not recognized by the scientific method of observation. Paul warned Christians that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). Our job is to overcome.
The mark of a righteous man is not that he never sins. We all do. It is whether he recognizes that his heart is inherently incomplete and fills the empty space with the only key that fits.
And that key is Jesus Christ!
Until next time,
Pastor, Church of God Cincinnati
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