“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” —Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)
God loves His people enough to warn them about the dangers they face. And among those dangers is the danger of ourselves! That’s the heart behind what we read in the Book of Jeremiah. As the Lord speaks through the prophet, He reminds us that the human heart is deceitful and wicked, and we’re incapable of fully knowing or understanding the depth of its depravity.
We don’t get that take from the world around us. We’re continually told that at heart, we’re good people. When someone does something really wrong, it’s usually blamed on other things like environment or circumstances. All in all, our society looks at people as essentially good beings who occasionally do bad.
As flattering as all of that is, it’s not true! God is the one who sees into the human condition most clearly. And He declares that at heart, we are all inclined towards deceit and wickedness. At the end of the day, the real problem is us—our own sinful nature that we inherit at birth. He sees us as we truly are, essentially bad beings who occasionally do good.
So God warns us in a way this world never would. He warns us that we’re the real problem. Our hearts are bent towards badness, and we need to recognize this as the true issue before we can ever find the remedy in Him.
Once we see that, once we learn to not trust in our own hearts but to depend on His Spirit to fill and influence us…it’s then that we begin to walk in the newness of life that has been secured for us by Jesus on the Cross.