The Tin Man in the movie The Wizard of Oz was awarded a heart for his service to others. The Wizard said to him, “Back where I come from there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds. They are called phila… er, phila… er, yes, er, Good Deed Doers.” His good deeds earned him a new heart and believe it or not there is scientific evidence that backs this up! Participating in altruistic activities has positive effects on humanities overall well being—including heart health! The psychological term ‘helper’s high’ has been tied to the feeling one gets when endorphins are released and make you naturally feel good! What a beautiful gift from our Maker, that when we serve others, we also benefit! But is a healthy heart the same thing as the heart of flesh that the new life found in Christ promises us? (Ezekiel 11:19). No, it is not.

Jesus tells His disciples that “Whoever loves his life loses it” and “if anyone serves me, he must follow me” (John 12: 25-26). There is no amount of good deeds that can earn a heart of flesh. Instead, this comes through death. Specifically, the death of Jesus. Surrendering to God’s authority is the heart-changing ‘good deed’ that brings about eternal life as the Holy Spirit indwells enabling us to know God and live a life for Him. Yet it doesn’t stop there… following Jesus means dying. Dying by denying oneself of living a life for one’s own glory rather than for the glory of God. This is not enjoyable stuff, but it is what brings fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). It’s service that looks like a battle as the fleshly desires of our hearts prod and pull and our new heart instructs us to lay our desires down—to be replaced with His— and follow Him regardless of the cost. In doing so, we find the eternal life He promised.

Jessica Klootwyk
Groups and Women’s Discipleship Director

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