Following Your Evil Heart (Not By Bread Alone)
Following Your Evil Heart
The theme of the book of Jeremiah is encapsulated in this statement: “…each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me.” (Jeremiah 16:12) This is the lament of God Himself. He was forsaken by His own people even though they had been heartily provided for in every sense. Though what culminated was their outward following of the Baals (false pagan “gods”) what preceded it was the following of the dictates of their own hearts (Jeremiah 9:14). The Lord tells us through Jeremiah that the human heart is, “…deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9) Knowing our natural plight, then, how ought we to walk?
We can either walk according to the counsel of Israel and Judah in the days of Jeremiah which was according to their own hearts, or we can walk according to the precepts of our Lord and our God. These are the only two options.
Following our own heart may manifest in a variety of ways, whether it be the acknowledgement of foreign “gods” or the embrace of debauchery. How it manifests is not particularly important, only that when ANYTHING other than adherence to God’s word is being entertained, it is a departure from Him. The moment our hearts supplant, as king, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, we have committed and act of high treason. Whether it be our mentors, fathers or friends who give us advice or direction contrary to God’s word, we would do well to heed the example given to us of those who were His called and chosen people, but whom He purposed to scatter and consume because of their unwillingness to obey His commands. Rather than obeying God’s word, they obeyed their fathers before them; following other men rather than God. (See Acts 5:29)
How can a young man (or an old man for that matter) cleanse his way? By taking heed according to God’s word (Psalm 119:9). What does it mean to “take heed” but to “guard”, “protect”, “observe” and “watch” with all diligence? Our Lord Jesus is called the “Word of God” (Revelation 19:13) and Jesus also calls Himself “The Bread of Life” (John 6:35). Without physical bread our bodies will perish from starvation. So it is with spiritual bread and our souls. Jesus said, in Matthew 4:4 that, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” When one has forsaken the eating of physical bread, he will become gaunt, frail and unrecognizable until he ultimately expires. Of how much greater importance is it to have spiritual nourishment? Forsaking God’s word will not only bring with it our spiritual starvation, but blindness and judgment. Without His word, we have only our deceitful hearts to rely upon; that or the counsel of the world which is according to the devil himself.
Take heed to yourself to follow God’s counsel in all things, every day and every hour. Without the lamp that is His word (Psalm 119:105) we are sure to flounder about in darkness. To the wind with any form of worldly counsel in any facet of life, for God “…has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him…” (2 Peter 1:3) Not only has God given us His Word as an act of mercy, but He demands our obedience which is due to Him as the supreme Ruler of the universe. Failure to acknowledge Him in all things is to deceive ourselves and to unwittingly loot and pillage His throne. Spare yourself from the rebuke of Jeremiah lest you find yourself in a position where God says, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth.” (Jeremiah 15:1)
Be conformed to the image of Christ and do it through careful reading and meditation in God’s word. Pray that He would give you a heart of understanding and most importantly one inclined to obedience. This is the chief thing, for, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) Keep your evil heart with all diligence and do not forsake the Lord even for a moment. Truly we must meditate in His word day and night. One lackluster day begets another. May it never be! But when that meditation in His Word is deliberate and consistent and supported by prayer, fellowship with our God is sweet and He will establish us in all we do for His name’s sake. Hallelujah!