“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, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10.
In Heart of Deceit, Part 1, posted here on 7-18-19 we examined the deceitful heart shown above, we now continue by looking at the results of our lying hearts.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2.
Because of a deceitful heart all our ways are right in our own sight. And being artificially righteous we tend to judge and look down on those who do not measure up to our standards.
“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.” Romans 2:1-2.
The word judge in the first sentence above does not mean to estimate a person’s value, but rather to condemn them. So we start out to condemn a person when we judge them, thus justifying ourselves by comparison.
“And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:3.
“When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.” Louis Nizer, famous trial lawyer.
Even men of the world recognize this principle, yet we are all slow to apply it to ourselves.
The last phrase of Romans 2:3 above could be rendered, “Do you really, in your conceit and high opinion of yourself think as a privileged person you will escape the judgment?”
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4.
We now come to a fork in the road, and it is important that there be no misunderstanding; this verse relates to those who continue to harden their hearts against God in rejecting Christ.
It also speaks to the Christian who has fallen into sin and continues on that path.
Too often folks look at the goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering of God and think it is because He does not notice our sin or that we must not really be doing wrong; but what does it say, “…the goodness of God leads you to repentance”.
For the unbeliever, to ignore this will mean an eternity in hell, for the Christian believer life just gets harder, more miserable, or shortened.
Everyone, everyone, receives, “…according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:10b.
“…far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to commit iniquity. For He repays man according to his work, and makes man to find a reward according to his way.” Job 34:10b-11.
“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God…” Romans 2:5.
Here we see the sinful unbeliever building up, think of it, actually treasuring up wrath, which will fall upon them on Judgment Day.
“…who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds…’” Romans 2:6.
There it is again, God will render to everyone what is their due according to their deeds.
“…eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness – indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.” Romans 2:7-11.
This verse seems to say that a person gets to heaven through good works.
But what it means is that those who practice doing good seeking for glory, honor, and immortality; that is, “…everyone who works what is good…” are showing by these works that they have received Christ as Savior. And it is the work of the Holy Spirit in them causing them to do these good works.
“…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:17-20.
If someone comes along and says that they are a Christian, yet over time they never change from being greedy, selfish, untrustworthy, or a thief and a liar, or worse, that person is not a Christian.
Anyone who says that they are a Christian just because they believe in Jesus as a historical character are not true Christians.
As it says in James above, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble!”
It is not belief in the reality of Jesus that brings salvation; it is acceptance of Him as the sacrifice for your sins and as the only savior of your soul from hell and eternal separation from God.
Persons who have become true Christians change, either a little or a lot, but they change and begin to do good, maybe a little, maybe a lot, but they change.
And, “…those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth…” Romans 2:8 show themselves to have rejected Christ by their very works.
As we can see by these passages in Romans, it is possible to judge (condemn) others without realizing that we too are at fault.
We may be sinning in a like manner as those we are judging without knowing it, because our sin does not seem the same.
If we condemn a thief, while robbing our employer of time by habitual, idle talk when we should be working, if we judge a known adulterer, while lusting after our neighbor’s wife, it is the same.
If we judge someone for riotous living while ignoring or mistreating our wife, and children; it is the same lack of responsibility in either case.
If we say we would never murder and yet hate our brother, there is no difference.
Judging others makes us feel better, but it does not help us to live a more godly peaceful life. In fact it causes us to miss the reason there are many persistent problems in our own life.
This may not change your life, depending on your problem, but it is worth a try to check it out. What is bugging you? Right now, what just popped into your mind?
Do you have a recurring health problem, money troubles, family discord, noisy or troublesome neighbors, or difficulties at work?
Okay, you answered that question, now what is causing the problem? What just popped into your head?
The Christian has the Holy Spirit within him, if this is a case of God giving, “every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings”; God is going to tell you what is wrong.
But one has to listen and correct the problem, that is the difficult part because we may say, “Nah that cannot be the cause of this. My brain must be overheating.”
God’s Spirit does speak to us, it’s just that there is so much noise going on inside our heads that we cannot hear Him. Put on a pair of headphones or start playing a computer game and the racket just multiplied.
This is why the Christian needs a quiet time when they can read their Bible, pray, and meditate on the things they have read, in time you will hear God’s still small voice speaking to you.
If you do not hear God answering you here, it would be good at least to attempt to go aside occasionally and question Him, “Why do I have these problems, why can’t I keep a job, why is there such chaos in my family?”
Many folks will make things more difficult for themselves by being stubborn about something.
For instance, if you have a degree in engineering and the only jobs available are in a warehouse that at least pays more than unemployment; do not make your family suffer for years while you hold out for another engineering job.
God will often put you somewhere you do not want to be, just to show His ability to care for you, even perhaps to change something in your own attitude. After all, He does know you well enough to know what you need in life, as we have seen so far.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but her leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.’” Jeremiah 17:5-8.
It is possible to live your whole life with a problem that you could have gotten rid of simply by trying to find out the root cause!
Socrates wisely said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I prefer, “The unexamined life is a life not lived.”
Regardless of how these things play out, one still has to go to the doctor, seek a job, or make a real effort to connect with your loved ones.
Still do not agonize over every aspect of your life, do the things God puts on your heart and continue to study your Bible, because that is where you will find more of life’s answers, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul put it this way.
“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you [Corinthians] or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts, and then each one’s praise will come from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:3-5.
Again, examine yourselves to walk uprightly before God and perhaps to find a hidden sin that may be causing a problem in your life, but please do not seek out every tiny little fault and drive yourself up the wall.
As Paul tells us; he was not aware of anything against him, which means that God would have touched his heart and told him to avoid that sin and he would have confessed it and corrected it immediately.
“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more [excel still more], just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God…” 1 Thessalonians 4:1.
Heart of Deceit, Part 2 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 9-25-15, updated on 7-20-19.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.