Why Our Hearts are Deceitful Above All Things

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One of the most insightful scriptures I’ve ever read is Jeremiah 17:9. It speaks so much truth into what human nature is like. Here is what it says:

“The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?”

Above All Things

Above all things and beyond cure! I don’t know about you, but that really pops out to me. I mean, your heart, the very centre of your being, your emotions, your will is deceitful above anything else.  The truth is, our motivations change like the hands on a clock. At any given point, I could have the purest motivation in my endeavours, however, in an instance, that could change.

My heart is a restless beast, desperately craving control, attention, recognition. Most of the times, I can’t keep a grip on the thoughts and attitudes that flow from it. At least not on my own. I often hear the famous, highly-esteemed phrase “follow your heart.” But I bluntly disagree with such advice. Following my heart is a naive attempt to live a free-spirited life. However, my heart is filled with emotions that sporadically fluctuate depending on the situation I find myself in.

For instance, I might get a good grade at school, so I feel great about myself, which makes me want to smile and be nice to people. But an hour later, I might get a call saying that I didn’t get the job I’ve been dreaming of for the last year,  and my world would flip outside down. And if I followed my heart in this scenario, I’m not sure you’ll want to be around me as I wallow in my frustration.

If nothing I said made any sense so far, all I’m trying to say is that I can’t trust my heart anymore than I can trust a stranger who offers me a brand new, flat-screen TV for twenty bucks. My heart is deceitful. And I’m sure yours is too. That’s simply what our human nature is like. We are broken. Take a look at history. Men fed each other to lions. And this was done in the sake of entertainment!! If you study history further, you’ll see the destructive plight of humanity. As for me, I choose not to follow my heart. Or at least I try my best not to.

God has a Better Plan

Instead, I choose to surrender my heart to God. In fact, the Bible says that God gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26) when we surrender our lives to Him. Humans can hear our words and see our actions, i.e. our outward appearance, but God knows our intentions, thoughts, and attitudes, the workings of our hearts. Therefore, we must constantly ask Him to lead us, search us, and to expose us. Without Him, we are aimless and lost. And admitting that is the first step toward change and growth.

We can try our best to subdue our hearts, but we just can’t on our own. We’ll just end up deceiving ourselves. We can only grow if we admit we are broken and in need of a saviour. We may never be fully pure in our motives, but with God in mind we’ll be more mindful that he sees everything and that He is also working through grace to make us more holy and pure as we mature and grow closer to him.

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