Do you know what’s in your heart? God does.
He created it perfect, beautiful, and whole. But then Adam disobeyed Him in the Garden of Eden, and sin entered the world. And like a cancer, sin spreads throughout our hearts and overtakes us [Jeremiah 17:9]:
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
Contrary to what the world says, we are not inherently good. We read that in Paul’s letter to the Romans, when he states that there are none righteous. In fact, he’s quoting from the Psalms, when David speaks of God looking down from heaven, searching for one man who lives wisely and seeks God with his whole heart. And he states quite firmly that “there is none who does good, not even one” [Psalm 53:3].
We are so filled with the cancer of sin, that there’s not even one little spot of righteousness in us! And yet we think we’re pretty good people. We exalt ourselves, putting the creation above the Creator. How, you ask?
- We rely on our own strength to get through each day.
- We make our own plans, presumptuously assuming that God owes us another day, or another month, or another year.
- We trust in our own wisdom, turning to people for answers instead of God, when life gets rough or confusing.
- We spend our time worshiping man’s accomplishments (sports, tv/movies, music, politics) instead of proclaiming God’s glory and greatness.
Need I continue? We are sick, sinful people. And there is only one cure for our soul-sickness:
First and foremost, if you have never repented of your sinful nature, and cried out to God for salvation from eternal death, that must be your highest and most immediate priority. Without God, we are headed on a path to destruction. We can never do enough good to make it to heaven on our own. One little sin will tip the scale away from being “good enough.” But through Christ’s perfect sacrifice of Himself, we can claim His righteousness as our own! If we trust in Him for salvation, rather than our own works, God will see us as holy and pure [Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8; Romans 6:23].
But even if we have already trusted Christ for salvation, even if we are clothed in His garment of righteousness – we must still practice repentance! We are not perfect. Our hearts, though cleansed by His blood, are not immune to sin. Although God sees us as righteous through His Son, we can still be tempted by our “old nature” desires. Until we reach heaven, we will never be free of these temptations – and we will never perfectly resist them.
And so, we must be constantly and humbly aware of our propensity to sin. We must be diligent to listen to the Spirit’s whisper of conviction. And we must be eager in repenting, and turning away from our sins.
Don’t be like Israel, who rejected God’s calls to repentance so many times that He allowed utterly disastrous consequences to come upon them [Jeremiah 15:6]:
You have rejected me, declares the Lord;
you keep going backward,
so I have stretched out my hand against you
and destroyed you— I am weary of relenting.
God gives us many, many opportunities to change our ways. He gives us His Spirit to convict us of sin. He gives us His Word to show us the right way to live. He gives us godly pastors and teachers to help lead us and set righteous examples for us.
He is a God of mercy and forgiveness! But He is also a just and holy God; and if we refuse to repent, then we will face the consequences. Isaiah 55 exhorts us to seek Him while He is near, while He is still willing to forgive [v.6-7].
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
What is God calling you to repent of today? Maybe a sinful thought pattern, maybe a habit that’s not glorifying to Him, maybe a lack of discipline in a certain area? Don’t put it off; tomorrow is not guaranteed. Don’t ignore your sin. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit by rejecting His guidance. Don’t block your fellowship with God by adamantly clinging to your own way.
Our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick: God knows that.
Now, it’s your turn! What have YOU been learning from God’s Word? I’m starting a new link-up, and would love for you to join in! Link up below with a blog post about what you’ve gleaned from your devotions this week! Also, feel free to copy and paste the button into your post, so people know who you’re linking up with! And if you don’t have a blog, feel free to share something in the comment section. I’d love to hear how God is working in you!
Also, for those of you continuing with the Blended reading plan (TTB12), here is next week’s schedule:
Sunday: Jeremiah 18-19, Matthew 23
Monday: Jeremiah 20-21, Matthew 24
Tuesday: Jeremiah 22-23
Wednesday: Jeremiah 24-26, Matthew 25
Thursday: Jeremiah 27-29
Friday: Jeremiah 30-32
Saturday: Jeremiah 33, Matthew 26