“I will 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.” (Ezekiel 36:26, HCSB)
Restrictive cardiomy0pathy (RCM) is one of several types of cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease. For those afflicted with RCM, the heart muscle becomes hard and stiff. As in the natural realm, so it is in the spiritual realm. Our spiritual hearts can become hard and stiff, or stony. When this occurs, we are unable to respond to God with love and obedience (Reformation Study Bible [RSB]). When we are unable to respond to God with love and obedience, it means that we cannot love others as He wants us to love. And Jesus makes it clear that the commandment to love is the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40, NIV). He was asked to identify the greatest commandment in the Law, and replied, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I am deeply thankful that, regardless of what caused our hearts to harden, we do not have to do our own heart replacement surgery. As noted in the RSB, the heart replacement process is “the result of divine initiative and not human attainment.” God is able to and does give us new hearts and new spirits, so that we can respond to Him with love and obedience, and love others.