"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings" Jeremiah 17:9-10.
"It's hopeless. I can't be changed. I'm evil from my mother's womb and there is nothing I can do about it." Ever thought that or something like it? I have. When I get caught in the snare of one of my pet sins -- again -- and again, that's when I think it. I also wonder "what's the use of trying? I never change." And all this is true.
"Wait a minute, Pastor Edwin. You are supposed to lift my spirits. Now you are telling me that I am bad and there is nothing I can do about it. What's gotten into you. Are you like, sick or something?"
I hear you, but it is true. There is nothing you and I can do about the evil lurking in our hearts. Jeremiah was correct. Think about it. Where does our sin come from? The desires of the heart. We want something so we set about getting it. Whether it be a new toy, or a new car, or a new wife, or a house or whatever it is our hearts desire, we usually find a way to get it. We may use legal means -- like working overtime to get the required the funds, or being on our best behavior when we are around our "dream" date. Or we may turn to illegal means -- like stealing or lying or cheating or even killing. The difference is only in degrees.
Allow me to explain. A legal means must cause sacrifice somewhere. It may be stealing time from our families. It may be padding our time to get the overtime thus stealing from our employers. These are no better than robbing a bank or killing. They are all sin -- and there is no degrees in sin. Romans says "all have sinned and fallen short. . ." It doesn't say "only those who have committed great and grievous sins have sinned and fallen short . . ." A sin is a sin and a sin will keep you from God -- yes, even one sin.
"So where is the hope, Pastor Edwin?" It's here: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10 ) While it's true that we can do nothing about our deceitful hearts, God can. He can take our hard, cold, lifeless hearts and replace them with soft hearts full of love and mercy and grace. He can do what you and I find hopeless. The only problem is that He will not do it unless and until we are ready. God will never force himself upon us. He only gently prods us in the right direction. Even then we have the right of refusal. Yes, God cares, but He created us with the freedom to choose and He will never take that away -- not even to meet His own needs.
Caught in the depths of despair? Turn to Jesus. He has the ladder. Locked in a prison of defeat? Turn to Jesus. He holds the keys to your lock. Lost in a maze of confusion? Turn to Jesus. He has the map to freedom. Yes, it's true. Jesus is the answer for the world today. Without Him there is no other. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the LIGHT. Hallelujah, Amen and Amen.