Saturday, February 23, 2019

Jeremiah 17:9-10 -- On Deceitful Hearts

"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."
Jeremiah 17:9-10

This is a really interesting pair of verses.  The overall idea seems to be that God rewards us according to our desires and actions--basically restoring our choices back to us, which is reinforced many other places in the scriptures.  The interesting part that strikes me today is that this idea is tied to the idea that our hearts are deceitful, similar to the idea that "the natural man is an enemy to God" (Mosiah 3:19).

Together, these ideas kind of morph into a more complex whole... that we, living in a world where we are constantly pulled in half by our disparate physical and spiritual natures, God carefully evaluates what we do in that tough situation, and what we choose and who we become to evaluate us and to reward us.  I think it says more about God's understanding of our situation here, and the nature of the challenge than we usually hear.

God knows that it is hard, but I think he also recognizes that this is the exact situation that we need to find out more about ourselves and to make decisions about who we want to become.  We will likely discover something about our deceitful hearts as well as about our spiritual side during our lives, and which side we choose to pursue, and what we decide to do with that knowledge is how God decides what we truly want and how to reward us. 

When God tells us that we can't serve two masters, that is part of it.  We have to choose who we are here.  No fence-sitting.  I think it is both fitting and sort of scary actually, because I feel like I have seen this in my life.  There have been times in my life where I have chosen one side over the other, and I have seen the different ways my life could go... and how alien the other side starts to feel and how my thinking narrows either way, because I am choosing one path and letting the other path go.  It's too easy to let go of half of yourself.  I think though with God, we have a chance to learn to ameliorate that choice.  We still have to choose the spiritual side and let that side have the mastery, but we don't have to give up everything else that we care about to do it... only the sinful part. 

Today, let's take a stand and choose to serve the Lord.  Let's listen to our spiritual selves and bring our physical appetites under control, learning to be whole: spiritual and physical and mental and emotional all working together, as God can teach us, even though it can sometimes seem impossible.  We don't have to be scared of what God thinks of us.  I think these verses make it clear that he *knows* that he placed our purehearted spirits into deceitful bodies.  It's a chance to figure ourselves out on one side and a great, amazing way to become more than we are on the other.  It is a great opportunity and a coming of age event for all of God's children.  ... Let's just make sure that we think far enough ahead that we don't ruin our eternity for some desperate wickedness now.  Let's take our time and learn to tame our appetites and passions so that we can enjoy this life and also enjoy the world to come.

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