Saturday, November 5, 2011

Depraved and Deprived or Blessed?

Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
In the past several posts, we’ve looked at what John Maxwell described as a mindset of scarcity vs. a mindset of abundance.  Or whether the glass is half full or half empty.  We saw that thinking in terms of scarcity put the focus directly on ourselves and away from God. 
We also saw that the Word of God and hearing from God was the only way to have a mindset of abundance.  And we need that mindset of abundance because it allows us to be adaptable to rapid change without having shifting values.  The last part came out of the two verses before today’s verses.  Being planted in the right place, flexible enough to bend with the onslaught, still being immovable.  That’s verses 7 and 8.

In the two verses preceding that, Jeremiah talks about men who trust in man being like heath in a parched desert.  Then, after talking about the blessed Godly man, we come to verse 9.  And we’re back to deceitful and wicked.  Because wrong decisions were made in the Garden of Eden.  But God and Jeremiah aren’t accusatory, here.  There’s really an interesting contrast.  Much of the chapter alternates between what wrong thinking is and does vs. Godly thinking and its blessings.  Verse 9 gives us a glimpse at the depths of our innate depravity and points out that that depravity is so deep that we can’t fathom its enormity.  And that’s capped by verse 10.
Verse 10 says only God can read the human heart and only God can test our emotions.  The results of that inspection is that we are rewarded according to our ways, according to our actions and thoughts.  Not very gracious.  But that’s the exact result of our self focus and works oriented scarcity mindset.  The worst part is that the depravity convinces us we’re not depraved.  So, we think we’re good based on how we perceive our own performance.  We’ve been duped by our own depravity into believing our own hype.  Without connecting with God, that’s where we stay – left to our own thoughts and devices.
Only an all knowing God or someone with His same perspective can interpret our thoughts and actions correctly.  And only an all knowing and all loving God has a solution that takes us from depravity to being seen in the light of what His Son did for us and who He is.  We don’t have to live in the scarcity, poverty and solitary confinement of being our own focus.  We don’t have to be our only source of our blessing – one that ends up, more often than not, being our own curse.  Instead we can live in God’s full abundance and in the freedom that comes with not having to be the sole focus of our own lives.
Deuteronomy 30:19 tells us, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”  Which do you want, today?  Scarcity or abundance?  Depravity or righteousness?  Judgement based on your own works or based on Grace and Mercy?  Choose life.

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