Daily D – Jeremiah 17:9-10
The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it? I, the LORD, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.
JEREMIAH 17:9-10 (CSB)
a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, GOD, search the heart
and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
not as they pretend to be.”
I am an excellent judge of character. Or so I like to think.
I got to know one of the most prominent Christian leaders in America twenty years or so ago. I even have a photo with him and an equally well-known leader sitting on my credenza. These days I keep it there as a reminder. It is an object lesson.
This deeply humble man who led a world-shaping ministry, who taught thousands upon thousands of Christian leaders around the world, who wrote books that were instant bestsellers, and who was a role model for so many, turned out to be kind of a creep.
Yesterday, I began listening to a podcast about his downfall from a man who served alongside him for a few years but could not see the problems until it was too late. So now I keep that photo in a prominent place to remind me that if I do not keep my character on the right path, I could end up like that guy.
The other well-known leader in the photo has expanded his influence by deeply investing in other people’s success. One thing he expresses continually is that character is the most important matter for a leader to protect. It is also the most important consideration when hiring someone.
Character matters ultimately.
You may fool some of the people. You may fool all of the people. You will not fool God. If you think you can manipulate God and humanity long enough to grab all the gusto you can get, you will ultimately and finally come up short. Check out Psalm 73.
God knows all about us. He knows every thought on which we linger too long. He knows the plotting and scheming of our minds. He knows all of our mixed motives. He sees us as we really are, not as we pretend to be. He also loves us too much to leave us to our own self-help attempts at becoming a Good Dude (or Dudette).
God’s instructions are not burdensome. They improve relationships. They empower success. They remove impurities. They strengthen bonds of trustworthiness.
When God takes a good, long look at your life (and mine), what does he see? What needs to get stronger? What needs to go away? Defining the problem takes us to the halfway point of the proper resolution. Confession and repentance get us the rest of the way there.
Daily deposits of God’s grace and mercy, new every morning by the way (Lamentations 3:22, 23), reshape our lives. They renew our hearts and minds. They deliver us from our character flaws. They smooth the way before us.
Let’s agree with God about our character issues today. Let’s work with him to build lives worth imitation. Let’s live without having to fear someone finding out what we are really like.
Our Father, you know my heart. You know my thoughts. You know how dark and distasteful they are. Please, cleanse my heart. Renew my mind. Wash me and make me clean. Enter into my every thought to keep them moving toward the light. Amen.
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John 5:19 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, the Son is not able to do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son likewise does these things. (CSB)
Ezra 3:12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and family heads, who had seen the first temple, wept loudly when they saw the foundation of this temple, but many others shouted joyfully. (CSB)