Jeremiah 17:5-8 ESV
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
What does it mean to trust in the Lord; to make the Lord our trust? Certainly it is our faith, our belief in God – in Jesus Christ. It is also dependence on the Lord in all things. It is to have confidence in him and in who he says he is, and in what he says he will do. Yet, it is also committing our lives to him, surrendering our all to him, and submitting to his Lordship over our lives.
And, what is our faith? It is more than a mere acknowledgment of Jesus as our Savior, or of Christianity as our religion of choice. It is our devotion, loyalty and faithfulness to our Lord as King of our hearts and lives. It, too, is divine persuasion as to God’s holiness, righteousness and purity, and of our need to die with him to sin and to live with him to righteousness.
Thus, if we believe in Jesus Christ with this God-given faith, then we will submit to him as Lord, and we will die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. We won’t be looking for loopholes in order to get out of obeying him, or to excuse away our faithlessness and sinful practices. Yet, many who profess the name of Jesus do exactly that.
Many who profess the name of Jesus have turned away from the Lord and are following after humans and human-based religion, instead. And, they are following after their own flesh instead of following after the Spirit of God.
And, they are convinced that they are saved and that they are bound for heaven merely because they paid some lip service to the Lord, but while they refuse to surrender their hearts to God. And, in the end they will be surprised to learn that the Lord never knew them. “Depart from me!” he will say to them, instead of “Enter into my heaven, good and faithful servant.”
But, blessed are we who have made the Lord our trust, who have surrendered our lives to him, and who are walking in his ways and in his truth, in his power and strength within us. This is not saying we are perfect people or that we will never sin again. But, it is saying that Jesus is our Lord, and that our trust is in him, and that sin no longer has mastery over our lives, but that God is truly King of our hearts.
We have nothing to fear. This is not saying that nothing bad will ever happen to us, but that we don’t need to fear what may come our way, for our God is with us, and he is living within us, and he will carry us through it all even to the end of time, and then he will take us home to be with him.
Jeremiah 17:9-10, 12-13 ESV
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”
A glorious throne set on high from the beginning
is the place of our sanctuary.
O Lord, the hope of Israel,
all who forsake you shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth,
for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.
The human heart is deceitful. Surely it is! And, as long as we live in these flesh bodies, the Spirit within us will be at war with our human flesh, and our flesh with the Spirit. And, this is why scripture instructs us that daily we must take up our cross and follow Jesus; daily we must put sin to death, by the Spirit of God. Our salvation from sin is a lifelong process of daily dying to sin and self, and daily yielding to the Lordship of Christ over our lives.
This is why scripture also teaches us that what we do and how we live does impact our eternal security. We are not saved by our own works. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Our good deeds will never outweigh our bad deeds. But, we are saved to good works, which God prepared in advance that we should do. And, what we do and how we live is evidence of whether or not we truly do believe in Jesus Christ.
Thus, scripture also teaches us that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle) by the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. It teaches us, in fact, that if we walk (in practice) according to the flesh, that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. And, it says that we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So, this is not just Old Testament teaching. This is New Testament teaching, too (See: Rom. 2:6; Rev. 2:23; Rev. 22:12; Matt. 16:27).
Jeremiah 17:14-18a ESV
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.
Behold, they say to me,
“Where is the word of the Lord?
Let it come!”
I have not run away from being your shepherd,
nor have I desired the day of sickness.
You know what came out of my lips;
it was before your face.
Be not a terror to me;
you are my refuge in the day of disaster.
Let those be put to shame who persecute me,
but let me not be put to shame;
let them be dismayed,
but let me not be dismayed.
If we turn away from the Lord, and we go our own way, and we forsake him and his statutes, and we follow after human flesh, instead, it will not go well for us in the end.
For, it doesn’t matter what we profess with our lips or what we think we believe in our hearts. For, how we live reveals what we truly believe. And, it is our deeds which give evidence to whether or not our faith in the Lord is genuine or not.
For, God’s grace to us is not free license to continue in sinful lifestyles without guilt and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
So, don’t take his grace for granted. Don’t think that how you live doesn’t matter to God. It does! And, your eternity does depend on you knowing the truth and you living the truth, for the truth is what will set you free.
Broken and Contrite
An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.
Tuesday, July 2, 2019