Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
My heart has played me for a fool.
I followed the feelings that drew me to the bright, new shiny thing in front of me. I followed my heart as the beauty of a female drew me to her. I followed my heart as I lusted after easy riches as a life of luxury dangled in front of me. I followed my heart as anger and jealousy brewed to bubbling, and I acted upon it.
In every case, following my heart drew me into a world of trouble.
It wasn’t until salvation and the Word of God began to influence my mind and my heart that I found the truth.
I used to think that the devil was the most deceitful thing on this earth. He is a liar and a deceiver. But he cannot compare to the deceitfulness of my own heart.
It is in our meditations, our thought life, that we are allowed to choose. Some call it free will. God gave that to us so that we may freely choose Him and His way for our life. But as we are warned in God’s Word, our hearts can be influenced by evil.
We are warned to guard our hearts.
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Our hearts determine our character or who we will become.
Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
Our hearts determine the words we speak.
Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
It is the source of our faith.
Romans 10:10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Our hearts can become the source of what defiles us.
Mark 7:20-23 “And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
But knowing the truth about something doesn’t always mean we follow that truth. Knowing my heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, I still give in to feelings over facts.
One of the most amazing things about the Word of God is that God speaks to the whole, not just in part. He created us. He knows us. He knows that outside pressures will create inside influences – if we allow it.
We must be like David, who said:
Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”
Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”
If we listen to the truth of what God is telling us, we can take heed to avoid painful situations and circumstances in our lives.
Matthew 5:27-28 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Jeremiah shares how his heart was affected.
Lamentations 3:51 “Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.”
What we see, what we hear, who we are with all influence our hearts for either good or evil. God has left the choice to us. When we invite Him to guide our hearts, we can be taken on a tour of our life that will surely avoid the pitfalls, the devastation, and death that await around the corner.
Sobering thoughts, to be sure!
When we take the reins of our life into our own hands and begin to do what we want, we follow what we feel and think, influenced by that deceitful and desperately wicked thing called our heart.
Because we set ourselves as the decision-maker of our life, it is as if we push God off the throne for us to sit down as god of our lives.
We must learn never to trust our hearts until we check it with God first. Daily devotions are like a heart check-up every morning. Placing ourselves under the influence of God’s Word, we allow His truth to lead and guide our hearts – if we let Him.
I leave you with an admonition from James:
James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
We wrestle not against flesh and blood. Our enemy, the devil, knows how to influence our hearts for evil. The One who created our heart knows how to influence it for good. It is our choice to follow which one.