This morning while running indoors with Rob Sinclair and Bob Turner, we happened to notice a news story about a woman who just completed 52 half marathons in 52 weeks. That alone is impressive, but then we learned that Aurora De Lucia had open heart surgery in 2010. She was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White, a rare congenital heart condition. She had an extra pathway to her heart, and several complications that extended halfway through 2011. With her repaired heart, she became determined to complete the incredible fitness goal and she reached her goal (via www.laketahoenews.net).
Most of us without the excuse of a serious heart problem will not ever be able to say we ran 52 half marathons in a year, but she did it under such adverse circumstances. What a difference a "new" heart made for Aurora. She proves the power of perseverance and wears the decoration of determination.
The Bible tells us that, spiritually, we can achieve even greater feats with a "new heart." From the time the exilic prophet Ezekiel foretold a time when Judah would have a "new heart" (36:26), Bible writers spoke of the possibility of a renewed heart and mind. Paul spoke of it to Corinth as the renewed inner man (2 Cor. 4:16) and to Ephesus as being "renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Eph. 4:23). He tells Colosse that this renewal process is brought about by true knowledge (3:10).
A "new heart" is pure (Mat. 5:8; 2 Tim. 2:22), honest and good (Lk. 8:15), glad and sincere (Ac. 2:46; Eph. 6:5), resolute (Ac. 11:23), open (Ac. 16:14; 2 Cor. 6:11), circumcised (Rom. 2:29), obedient (Rom. 6:17), believing (Rom. 10:9-10), enlightened (Eph. 1:18), compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient (Col. 3:12), loving (1 Pet. 1:22), and assured (1 Jn. 3:19). The old heart is none of these things and described with words like lustful (Mat. 5:28), distant from Christ (Mat. 15:8), defiled (Mat. 15:18), hardened (Mat. 19:8; Eph. 4:18), Satan-filled (Ac. 5:3), uncircumcised (Ac. 7:51), not right (Ac. 8:21), darkened (Rom. 1:21), stubborn and unrepentant (Rom. 2:5), veiled (2 Cor. 3:15), unbelieving (Heb. 3:12), deceived (Js. 1:26), selfishly ambitious (Js. 3:14). and trained in greed (2 Pet. 2:14).
Thankfully, one can have his or her heart transformed from that wretched, latter condition with God's help. His Word, with its convicting and instructing power, can work on the heart (Heb. 4:12) and renew it! With a "new heart," we can impact lives and destinies--including our own. At the very end of all things, the Righteous Judge will note such as the greatest accomplishment of all time and eternity! Oh, think what we can do with a new heart!