The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Fallen mankind has a heart of deceit and desperate wickedness, according to the writer of Jeremiah 17:9, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. No one, including ourselves, can really know our heart except God Himself. It is for that reason that even though our souls have been redeemed, our mind must continue to be renewed by the Word of God day by day. Additionally, the evaluation system that we use to examine the intents and motives of our hearts comes only by the sharp two‑edged sword of the Word of God.
God gives us a graphic picture of how He sees us in our unregenerate state. Prior to our salvation, our mouths were full of cursing, deceit and fraud. Under our tongues were found mischief and vanity. Our throats were open sepulchers of wickedness and unrighteousness. Our tongues were full of deceit and the poisonous venom of asps was in our lips.
At salvation, God gave us a new heart and has taught us to keep it with all diligence since it is out of the heart that all the issues of life flow forth. The old nature habit patterns of thinking and living will resurface and dominate our actions and speech unless replaced by new nature habit patterns of righteousness. Paul warned the Colossian Christians in Colossians 2:8 that they should beware lest any man spoil them, or render them useless, through philosophy and vain deceit, following after the tradition of men and the rudiments of the world rather than after Christ.
The psalmist prayed for deliverance from his old ways of lying and deceit. The writer of Proverbs assured us that the overriding principle of fearing God removes the deceit and vanity of even that which appears “good.” The only way we can be sure that we are not exercising deceit is if we have applied the replacement principle of Ephesians 4:22-24, and have PUT OFF old patterns of thinking and living as we PUT ON new patterns of righteous thinking and living.
May God help us today to allow Him to examine our hearts by His Word.
(C) 1992 NA Collins
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