Saturday, September 17, 2016

Who dictates in your heart?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 9:4-16

TO CHEW ON: "And the LORD said, 'Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them…'" Jeremiah 9:13,14

It's easy to read these Old Testament prophetic passages with an "I would never do that!" attitude. Yet I fear sometimes we are (I am) like these people. I do the very things God is scolding them about.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to take on a small ministry responsibility that I hadn't counted on. It was the end of summer. My day planner for the next few weeks was full. And I really didn't' want to do that thing. So I declined.

After saying "No," though, I felt pangs. Why had I said no? Was it more about walking according to, as Jeremiah puts it, the "dictates" of my own heart, than the attitude I want to have of carte blanche "Here's my life, Lord. Do whatever You want with it"?

Now I'm not suggesting that we feel obliged to say "Yes" to every request (ministry or not) that comes along. But we do need to be open to God changing our plans in such ways. Those who know me know I don't do spontaneous well. I like to know ahead of time, to get my head around an activity, to plan for it. But God often seems to reveal His ways and make His requests by surprise. Our responses—my response says a lot about who dictates in my heart.

The prediction Jeremiah makes for the end of these folks is a warning to us—to me. A life of habitual following the dictates of one's own heart and its idols (anything we pursue more than God, including our own projects and productivity) leads to bitterness ("wormwood" and "gall" - Jeremiah 9:15), scattering, and eventual wipe-out (Jeremiah 9:16).

PRAYER: Dear God, may the dictate of my heart be to obey and please You above everything else. Amen.
MORE: Doing work for God

"True earnestness is found in obeying God, not in the inclination to serve Him that is born of undisciplined human nature. It is inconceivable, but true nevertheless, that saints are not bringing every project into captivity, but are doing work for God at the instigation of their own human nature which has not been spiritualized by determined discipline" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, September 9 reading.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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