The Heart of the Blessed Woman
Some things are so similar they are hard to tell apart. For example, consider jaguars and leopards. These big cats are incredibly similar in appearance. However, the trained eye can see differences in their patterns of spots, and the educated person might even know they live on different continents. They appear similar, but by taking a closer look, you will be able to tell them apart and discover their true identity.
Words can fall into this category of commonly confused things. Think of accept and except. Accept means to receive and except mean to take or leave out.
It should be easy to tell the difference between a struggling shrub and a flourishing tree, but that is not always true. Above ground, both the shrub and the tree produce some results but only one has depth. Only one has an established root system below the surface that will withstand the drought and continue to bear fruit because that one is blessed by the Lord.
It can be hard to discern if you are shrub struggling to survive or a tree planted by the water because of what comes next in our passage. Look at verses Jeremiah 17: 9-10:
9“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
10 “I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.
Pray: Lord, you are the only One who can truly discern the motives of the heart. Create in me a clean heart. Without you, I am hard and destined to an eternity of punishment. Without you, I am lost. I need you, Lord, to do what only you can do in me.
There is a progression in Jeremiah 17:1-9 worth noting. Back in verse one, we saw how the human heart is like a hard stone, engraved with rebellion. In verse five we saw how a hostile heart leads man to depart from God. Now, in verse nine we read new descriptions of the heart. “The Hebrew term for the heart metaphorically refers to a person’s inner life—the will, thoughts, motivations, and emotions.”
- How does Jeremiah describe the heart (v9)?
- Luke 6:45 offers additional insight to the heart. According to Luke, what clues exist to illuminate the true condition of your heart? If you apply this your life, what do you learn?
- False teachers often tell us to follow our heart or to follow what feels good. What warning does verse 9 have for that advice?
- The Lord also tests the mind (v10). What do you find yourself thinking about? Do you ruminate events that have caused you stress? Do you endlessly worry? Do your thoughts focus on God’s character and all His promises? Our thought patterns often reveal what we truly believe. What do your thoughts reveal about your faith?
- God gives to the cursed and blessed man according to their deeds (v10). Psalm 62:12 repeats this idea, “ … to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.” What do your deeds reveal about you and in where you have placed your trust?
- Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short. Isaiah 46 says that our righteous deeds are like filthy rags. In Romans 3:10 we read that no one is righteous. If even our best and most righteous deeds are filthy, we’d have no hope if it were not for Jesus. What hope does 2 Corinthians 5:21 give us?
- If we cannot trust our heart or understand our heart, we should cultivate relationships with other believers and invite them to speak into our lives. Who have you or who could you invite into your life to speak corrective words of truth? Who can you invite into your life to help you discern the true condition of your heart?
- What might mutual accountability in that relationship look like? What steps can you take this week to begin the process of mutual accountability?
In tomorrow’s segment, I will share where I find my hope, how justification and sanctification are being worked out in my life, and why we must chase after the holy lifestyle God calls us to pursue. Go to day seven.