“The heart is deceitful above all things…who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:3. Wow! Just when we were thinking we were doing well in our spiritual walk, we run into this verse! While it is a verse we’d like to avoid, we should meditate on it awhile.Why do we put so much stake into our feelings if our heart is deceitful?
A dear woman I counselled to stay married to her husband stated bluntly that all feelings for him were gone. Therefore, according to her feelings, divorce was the best option. So, why does scripture say our hearts can’t be trusted if our feelings are so intense?
Let’s take a look at King David, ‘a man after God’s own heart’, according to 2 Samuel. It was war time and David should have been with his soldiers, leading them into battle. Instead he chooses to stay home; he’s alone and temptation sets in and encompasses him. The enemy has set the stage.
One night, David wanders outside and sees a beautiful woman bathing. Instead of turning and running away, he stays. He lingers. He looks. He asks questions to learn who the woman was. His messengers are sent to inquire about her. After learning that she is married, David listens to his heart, his flesh, and sends for her. He did not consult God. At this point in the timeline, David has had opportunities to do the right thing, but he trusts his feelings over what’s true.
We should constantly ask ourselves what’s true in every situation, then ask God to align our hearts with His. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: “Trust in the Lord your God and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Trusting in the Lord is an act of faith, not a reliance on our feelings.
As we continue reading about King David, we see Bathsheba is carrying his child. Instead of seeking the Lord and repenting, he has her husband killed and marries her. Needless to say, left to our desires of the flesh, we make some pretty poor choices. So, what’s the outcome for David? God punishes him by taking his infant child.
We have all been in situations where we are sure we know exactly what to do, only to find we were dead wrong. The Bible tells us to seek the Lord, seek wise counsel and pray before making decisions. We should make choices based on faith; what we know to be true right now, even if that goes against what we feel. And remember, God will never direct you to do something that negates scripture; He can’t contradict His own word.