The Treachery of an Undisciplined Heart

  • Lot made a choice – and lost his family.
  • Esau made a choice – and lost his inheritance.
  • David made a choice – and lost his legacy.

How much confidence are you willing to place in the feelings and attitudes found in your heart? Many people elect to trust the instincts of their heart without reservation, often making critical choices that have far reaching effects and ultimately reaping unpleasant consequences. As many of us have learned, words spoken unwisely and choices made impulsively cannot usually be retrieved. The popular admonition to “trust your heart” should always carry a warning.

Jeremiah, in verse 9 of chapter 17 of his prophecy, issued such a warning when he disclosed the true nature of an unconverted heart, saying “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

What a statement! Man’s heart is by nature “deceitful,” “desperately wicked,” and unknowable.

“But wait,” you say, “My heart is not unconverted: I’ve been redeemed!” How then are things different? While it is true that the heart of a believer is righteous before God, it only functions that way when the believer is willing to yield himself to the Spirit of God who dwells within. The challenge to “yield” is crucial for the believer, which is why Paul gave instructions to the converts at Philippi, admonishing them to appropriate the “mind” of Christ. They had, just like us, a tendency to allow the instincts of their hearts to control what they said and did, and the unpleasant result was that everything was done “through strife or vainglory” (Philippians 2:3).

Can a believer trust his heart? It’s much better to trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we are willing to let Him lead, strife, empty pride, and disagreement will give way to joy and unity. We’ll find greater fulfillment, and spend far less time mourning wrong choices.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

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