“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
This verse used to make my skin crawl. If you would have asked me if I agreed with this scripture before coming to GFA School of Discipleship, I would have perhaps said something along the lines of “Well, it is the Word of God, but I don’t believe our hearts are bad. We should live free and pursue whatever our hearts’ desires are. Do whatever makes you happy!” Note–just because I admitted in this response that Jeremiah 17:9 is Scripture, does not result in my comments afterward being correct. The response I provided was absolutely deceitful! It literally stands in direct defiance of the verse, which is the Word of God!
School of Discipleship has taught me that this verse is not to be taken lightly and that it is truth whether I want it to be or not. Our 2018-2019 class has not been studying this verse, but about a month ago it kept emerging to the surface of my brain. During the time of it floating on the waves of my intellect, I was really struggling. I must confess that for the first six months that I have been here at Gospel for Asia I have not exactly been living my life for God. My mind and my heart have been on anything and everything but growing in Christ, and when I would ask Him to grow me, I would only become bitter and upset when He tried. I realized that the core of my problem was my emotions, or my heart. Whenever He showed me that the desires of my heart were evil, I became angry. I did not want to admit that my heart was evil. I believed that since I obtained what I perceived to be good morals, and genuinely cared about people, that my heart was good. This is simply not the truth. Human beings possess a sinful nature, which means that we are creatures that are evil.
School of Discipleship has taught me that the only “good” inside a human being is Christ Himself. There is no other possible way for a human to be good unless they have the Living God living inside of them. God showed me through this humbling experience that emotions had become my god. Whatever I felt…I did. I was not, by any means, living in accordance with His will. He told me that if I were to live for Him I would have to sacrifice much and not depend on my emotions for guidance. This has been ever so difficult, brothers and sisters, and if I am completely honest, I still often fail. And I will continue to fail. We all will, but I am often told by godly counsel here at Gospel for Asia, that God’s mercies are true and His grace is patient.
One thing I must also add, that a dear friend here at the ministry encouraged me to do, is that yes, Jeremiah 17:9 is true to its fullest extent, but that I should also find a positive promise in the New Testament that fits well with this verse. As I was writing this, Romans 12:2 came to mind. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV). Even though we as humans are utterly evil, Christ in us can and will transform us. He will also renew our minds and hearts for His goodness. However, we must humble ourselves and lay our hearts before Him so that He can accomplish this inside of us.