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Part 3: The Heart of the Matter

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Engine – Left side

I woke up to an especially cold morning in Columbus, Oh. I had a full day ahead of me and did not need any unexpected delays. There was chatter on the CB radio of some drivers whose fuel had gelled and they were shut down. You see, diesel fuel, if not treated for cold weather, can gel at lower temperatures and when this happens the truck can’t get the fuel to the engine and you simply shut down.

As our trucks were all leased, I was certain the leasing company had all their fuel treated so this wasn’t going to be an issue for me. I delivered my first two stops in Dayton problem free. I left the second stop and started out for Cincinnati. As I was climbing the bridge that would take me over the interstate to the on-ramp, my engine started running rough. My heart sank as I knew instantly what was going on and in only a couple of hundred more feet my truck came to a complete stop. In the middle of the road. In rush hour traffic. At the top of a bridge.

Good bye schedule.

A huge tow truck was dispatched to tow my fully loaded tractor trailer to a truck repair shop. My truck wouldn’t run again for 12 hours. It took that long to change the fuel filters and heat my fuel lines and fuel pump in order to turn the fuel back into free-flowing liquid that would feed my engine once again. My engine was fine – what I had put into my engine wasn’t.

The engine is the heart of the truck and as they say, “It ain’t no fun when your truck won’t run.”

This is true.

Engine - Right side

The engine in my truck is huge in sheer size compared to a car engine. My wife’s car has a 2.5-liter, 5 cylinder engine. In contrast, the engine in my pick-up measures 6.4 liters and has 8 cylinders. The liter measurement is the total volume displacement of all the cylinders of the engine. It is not a measure of power as there can be a huge range of power between engines of the same size. My big truck engine, on the other hand was a 14.6-liter, 6 cylinder engine with 425 horsepower made by Caterpillar. In short a “four and a quarter Cat.” In the day it was an extremely popular engine and a favorite of many drivers. As long as you carefully maintain this engine it will serve you for a very long time. In case I’m losing you, that’s the end of the engine spec talk.


By comparison, the human heart is the driver of our life. It lies at the center of all we do – it is our engine. It determines our goals, our attitude and our destiny. This is why Solomon instructs us in Proverbs to, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

I know we have heard time and time again that famous passage from Jeremiah that declares, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9) But is it really? If this is the final word on our heart, what hope do we have?

Thankfully, if we just continue to Ezekiel, we can take great joy in the promise that God will be changing things concerning our heart. “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

Good news friends, we live in the days of the new heart. That’s the offer of Jesus – if we give Him our heart, He will make it new. The apostle Paul informs us that “. . . anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is because of this amazing work of Jesus that He can declare, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart . . .” (Luke 6:45)

Did you get that?

Because of Jesus, if we are people trusting Him for salvation, we have been given a new heart, a good heart. Can we still suffer with some “bad heart” symptoms? Yes, and we need to continue to allow Jesus to do His work of sanctification in us. But the good news is that our good heart is now on a trajectory of goodness and righteousness.


In his book, Wild at Heart, John Eldredge makes the point that most men live far from their heart. As a counselor of men, I would agree. But therein lies one of our greatest challenges. How will we know for sure if the fuel we are putting into our heart is good for us or taking us to a breakdown?

Besides that, if we don’t know what’s going on in our heart, we won’t understand why we do the things we do. If we don’t monitor our "engine," we can experience catastrophic failure and not know why. And if we don’t know why, how will we prevent it from happening again?

Thankfully there are ways to monitor our heart and gauge the quality of our fuel. We will dive into that in our next chapter. In the meantime, I leave you with this –

“My child, pay attention to what I say.

Listen carefully to my words.

Don’t lose sight of them.

Let them penetrate deep into your heart,

for they bring life to those who find them,

and healing to their whole body.”

— Proverbs 4:20-22


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