1st March - Who can understand it?


Jeremiah 17:5-10 (Morning Prayer)

This morning’s passage from Jeremiah 17 parallels to Psalms 1, which is one of the lectionary readings this morning. It can be read till verse 13 for a more complete picture.

The modern Christian detests too much soul-searching. Rather, there is a teaching which is widespread that we should just accept the finished work of Christ on the cross and daily confession and contrition is not necessary. This of course is foreign to two millennial of Christian teaching and practise. 

Even if we put theology, biblical teaching (such as this text) and church tradition aside, the reality in our own experience and of those around us simply do not match up. We encounter again and again the reality of brokenness, sin, pride and selfishness in our lives and that of other Christians. Yes, there are good seasons where it seems that following the Lord is a breeze. But if our hearts remain unexamined, sooner or later, it will trip us up. 

"The heart wants what it wants" as a famous celebrity declared when criticised  for making immoral choices. Can we really trust our hearts fully, given her desires and intuitions and propensity to take over the wheels of our lives? Who can understand it, as the prophet here reminds (Jer 17:9)? 

There is a deceitfulness of the heart within us which remains in need of the Lord’s dealing, often on a daily basis. Indeed, "an unexamined life his not worth living", as Socrates as said. 

God’s Word understands the human condition. There is ancient time-tested wisdom which we will do well to listen to. The need for self-examination and brutal honesty - something which we cannot do on our own - is important for our spiritual growth and true change. We need to let the Lord "continually search our heart and test our mind" (Jer 17:10). Often the Lord uses another brother or sister to help us see the light of things. 

If not, we are simply creating our own reality, world or bubble. With time, the bubble will just burst.  

Don’t recreate Christianity. Let it recreate you. Put the cross back at the center of your universe, not yourself. And you will find a joy and a fruitfulness of life that will last. 

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