The biomedical company, Medtronic, has disabled internet updates for approximately 34,000 “CareLink” devices designed for accessing and programming implanted pacemakers due to cybersecurity vulnerabilities with the systems. This was revealed this summer by cybersecurity firm researchers and could allow an outside agent—a “hacker”—to plant malware on the pacers that would allow them to control or disable the delivery of life-saving shocks to the heart.
Although the company noted that this update was only a preventative measure and that they knew of no patients who had been negatively affected by these hackers, this means that due to hacking, these heart implants could potentially be used to harm—or even kill—humans!
This begs the question: how can something that is supposed to be good be used for evil?
Deceitful Human Heart
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9, NLT).
How is the heart deceitful? What does that even mean? Apparently the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah doesn’t stop with that truth, but then he goes a step further and asks the key question that’s on the tip of everybody’s tongue: “who really knows how bad it is?”
The devil knows, and in the Garden of Eden, lied to Adam and Eve, convincing them that they could ignore God’s clear commands and—like him—follow their own hearts. Yet, in the process they—us and him too—lost it all!
Apparently, the Apostle Paul, in the New Testament, clarifies this process of humanity’s sinful degradation and de-evolution, in his letter to the Christians living in Rome. He perceptively paints the picture of a race of beings who, choosing, like Adam and Eve—and all of humanity—to willingly worship the lie of their phony feelings and temporary impulses by exchanging the everlasting truth of God for a lie; ending up with nothing but sin-soaked lives lacking any kind of real righteousness.
So now that the truth is out; the truth that our hearts have been hacked by the devil, how do we undo the damage? Is it even possible? Once our heart is damaged, can it be fixed? No, and yes! But before I explain that, I need to tell you about the free offer that Jesus has made to us all to accomplish an all-expenses-paid heart transplant!
Free, Yet Costly Heart Transplant
Praise God that our spiritual hearts can be fixed through a heavenly heart transplant—but the process cost the death of Jesus. You see, as we have already made clear earlier, thanks to Adam and Eve, we have all been born naturally sinful and there is nothing we can do ourselves to fix the problem. Jesus died the death that we deserved to give us the righteousness that He deserved. When He did this, our hearts (and the rest of us) literally became “new creations.” But, and here’s where it gets crazy, because of sin’s constant and consuming power, we must daily make the choice to have our hearts made new, and make no mistake about it: dealing with sin and our own evil, selfish desires is difficult—but not impossible.
I’ve heard a Christian pastor put it like this: a Christian is done with sin but sin isn’t done with the Christian. In other words, a non-Christian sins—that’s what they do, that’s all they know, and it comes naturally to them. But a Christian has a choice—they can choose to use God’s Holy Spirit power inside of them to battle and fight (sanctification)—and ultimately gain the victory over sin (glorification).
“Guard Your Heart!”
So now that you know the truth about your evil heart, how it got like that, and how it can be fixed, how do we take care of our new hearts and keep them running in tip-top shape? It’s simple really: we guard our hearts!
Why should we work so hard to guard our hearts? Well, Jesus said it best:
But the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God. Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others. (Matthew 5:18, 19, CEV).
Still confused? Well, Solomon, the wisest person in all humanity put it like this,
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23, NLT).
You see, we need to be aware of how we are feeling because if we don’t we could really destroy our hearts, our salvation, our lives, and others around us as well.
Guard Your Heart 101
There are a couple of tips on how best to guard our hearts:
- Know God: Jesus didn’t just die for you so that you could be set free from sin and then live a life apart from Him—in fact, that can’t happen (John 15:1-11). Jesus wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to interact with you and desires you to want to spend time with Him on a daily basis. That’s done chiefly through the spiritual disciplines of prayer, silence, and stillness.
- Know God’s Word: the bottom line is that you cannot make decisions based on how you feel but upon the facts of God’s promises to you. And you can’t know what God has promised you if you don’t consistently and regularly read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Bible.
- Know Yourself: as a human being, it’s important to know, not only human nature in general but more importantly, to understand yourself. If you know how you feel when you get busy, overscheduled, stressed-out, and stretched, make a concerted effort to carefully watch your life. Ask God to give you wisdom, insight, and discernment into your own patterns of life. The more you travel with God in life, the more deeply God will give you insights into how and why you think, feel, and react in the ways you do.
- Know Others: all throughout the Bible, God makes it clear that He wants a Christian to only regularly interact and “do life with” other Christians. Jesus, writing through the Apostle Paul, clearly put it like this:
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live [or are friends with those who] only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live [or are friends with those who live] to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7-8, NLT).
As my Southern-born and raised wife always tells our kids: “if you lie down with dogs, you’re going to wake up with fleas,” Solomon wrote:
Wise friends make you wise, but you hurt yourself by going around with fools (Proverbs 13:20, CEV).
Now I’m not talking about finding perfect people and only spending time with them—perfection, is, after all, every Christian’s goal—but God is talking about spending time with Christians who are purposefully focused on working in tandem with God—allowing Him to change them into holier, more Christ-like people.
Again, the Apostle Paul put it like this:
In my other letter I told you not to have anything to do with immoral people. But I wasn’t talking about the people of this world. You would have to leave this world to get away from everyone who is immoral or greedy or who cheats or worships idols. I was talking about your own people who are immoral or greedy or worship idols or curse others or get drunk or cheat. Don’t even eat with them! (1 Corinthians 5:9-11, CEV)
Healed Human Hearts
As humans living in this sin-sick world, there will always be a struggle to live a righteous, God-pleasing life (Romans 12:1) even if out of thankfulness and love for God’s free gift of our salvation. However, as we continue to grow in our relationship with God and with other Christians, we can be sure of this one thing:
. . . that he who began a good work [justification] in you will carry it on [sanctification] to completion [glorification] until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6, NIV).
And when that happens, we will spend eternity in His presence (and never separated from Him again) praising God for His forever fix of our sin-hacked hearts…and we never have to worry about Satan hacking in ever again.
 Fink Densford, “Report: Medtronic Shuts Down Pacer Programmer Updates on Hacking Risk,” Mass Device, October 11, 2018; accessed October 14, 2018.
 See Romans 1:18-32.
 Romans 3:10-18.
 Romans 3: 23, 24
 2 Corinthians 5:17.
 Galatians 2:20; 5:24.
 Romans 5-8 & Philippians 2:12b, 13.
 Nahum 1:9.