Thursday, March 8, 2012

On being fickle

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.  (Jeremiah 17:5)

Wouldn't it be awesome to name names of the people who have trust in human beings over God?  I have a nice list going in my head...him, and her, and that guy on TV, and that politician...and of course I wouldn't be on that list.  No way!  When have I turned away from God and trusted in people over God?  I'm practically perfect...well...except for that one time...oh and that other time...ugh, and last week...sheesh, maybe I'm not so perfect.

It is so easy to make a list of those who are "cursed" and convince myself that I am not on that list.  Yet, the fact is there are plenty of times when I have not fully trusted in God or even consulted God.  A few verses later God tells Jeremiah:

More tortuous than anything is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it? (17:9)

Yes, the human heart is a feeble thing.  God knows it and so does the devil.  One of the best descriptions of sin I have ever heard was that Satan makes sin look really attractive before the sin is committed and then afterwards makes you feel like a piece of garbage.  In fact, you feel so horrible after a sin that Satan plants the ideas that God won't forgive you or love you.  The next step is to just turn away from God, and tah-dah, you're trusting humans who have the same devious and fickle heart that you have.  What a wretched circle!

Yet, God declares in the very next verse:

I, the LORD, explore the mind
and test the heart,
Giving to all according to their ways,
according to the fruit of their deeds. (17:10)

God knows everything...even when I think I'm keeping things from Him.  The goal of this life is to grow closer to God, become more and more holy.  I can't reach that goal by trusting in my husband (sorry, Ben) or my best friend (sorry, Kim) or my parents, (sorry, Mom and Dad) or any other person.  I have to trust in God even in the times when it seems impossible.

God tests our hearts to see how committed we are, not as punishment.  Sometimes I'm bothered when the word "test" is associated with God, because a test seems arbitrary.  But if I'm honest I'll admit that I test my friends.  I want to see who is trustworthy, who can keep a secret, heck, who shows up on time!  And, that is all God wants to know from us as well.  What kind of friend am I to God?  Do I run at the first sign of trouble?  Do I only come calling when things are hard?  Or am I the sort of friend who is in for the long haul?

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