It is very common for us to hear such advices such as: “Listen to your heart”, or “Follow your passion”, or “Heed your inner voice and know what you really want”. This is exactly the danger that the prophet Jeremiah was warning the Israelites about. Out of all God’s created beings, man is the most corrupt because of sin. God said that He would repay their iniquity and their sin because the people had polluted the land, God’s creation. They made idols as extensions of themselves, worshipping themselves by fashioning gods in their own image. The nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.”
The Lord totally understands our human condition of sin, He says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” There is no inherent good within man that we may trust. The heart of man is deceitful above all things created, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Only the Lord can search the heart and test the mind of man, giving every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. Like Israel, man has forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.
The Apostle Paul also addresses such human condition and states the goal of every believer as sanctification, i.e. to become holy unto the Lord. New believers are to abstain from sexual immorality and have control over their own bodies as they could lead them into sin. They are to escape the passion of lust found in the Gentiles who do not know God. God has not called us to impurity but to holiness. That is the reason why God has given to us His Spirit so that we may overcome sin. The key to holiness is to overcome our own flesh.
That is why Jeremiah prayed for deliverance, for his healing and salvation. Human sinfulness has also gone into their observance of religious activities like keeping of the Sabbath. People even carried burden out of their houses on Sabbath. They did not listen or incline their ears but stiffened their necks that they might not hear and receive instruction from God. All man wanted was to do their own things, execute their own plans according to their own pleasure.
Instead of fashioning gods in our own image, we must ask God to fashion us according to His image. Jeremiah was instructed to go to the potter’s house and there the Lord spoke to him. The house of Israel was to become like the clay in the hands of the potter. God was to pluck up, break down and destroy the parts He did not like and then to build and plant something according to His heart. Is God plucking out something from your life today? What is He building in you now?
Ps 114:1-8 Jer 16:16-18:23 1 Thess 4:1-5:3 Prov 25:6-7