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I can remember the handful of times I got into trouble as a child (insert angel emoji here). On more than one occasion, my parents would say something along the lines of, “Until you know how to behave, no television/phone/AIM/Sonic the Hedgehog/etc…” It only made sense that based off my disobedience, something had to be taken or withheld from me. The only way a lesson would truly be learned or behavior would really change, whatever was being withheld had to be something of value. Otherwise, the punishment was purposeless.
I am reminded of this every time I think of the numerous desires of my heart, and especially every time I read Jeremiah 17:9.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
Now, I highly doubt that we will ever be able to grasp just how wicked…desperately wicked and deceitful our hearts are. Our hearts won’t let us. But by the leading and convicting nature of the Holy Spirit, we can get a pretty good idea.
Just like anyone else, the desires of my heart are numerous. Some of them are selfish and aim to serve my flesh while others, I truly believe are God-given desires. They’re good desires, holy desires and I cannot think of them without thinking of the One who birthed these desires within me. However, my heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. So I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my wicked and deceitful heart has the capacity to take these good, holy, God-given desires and make idols out of them.
My heart is capable of corrupting any and everything, even good and godly things. So I commit daily; actually, I find myself doing this more than once a day as I find my flesh rising up, to handing these desires over to God. Each and every one of them. My fleshly desires, I commit to Christ and through His leading bring them into submission. My God-given desires, I submit to Christ because I don’t know what else to do with them. I don’t want to worship them above God so I have to give them over.
“Abba, until I know how to behave hold on to this for me. Until I know what to do with these desires you’ve placed in me, until You deem me able to manage them and love you above them…you take them! I know my heart is wicked, I know my heart is jacked up and will confuse me into thinking nothing is wrong here. But I don’t listen to my heart, I listen to You. So, until I know what to do with these good and holy desires you’ve placed in me…would you hold on to them for me?”
So often we get caught up in protecting ourselves from others that we forget to protect ourselves from ourselves. The world cries out that you are stronger than you think you are…and you are, but is that a good thing? True strength is found in acknowledging your weaknesses and becoming desperate for His help. You cannot overcome your wicked and deceitful heart on your own.
So give it up, whatever it is…’cause you don’t know what to do with it.
Photo credit: hickory hardscrabble (Creative Commons) – Some Rights Reserved
Danielle Erwin hosts the Charlotte-based ministry, UNPLUGGED. She’s the founder of Pursued, a ministry aimed to encourage women to live lives that are truly reflective of Jesus Christ. Visit her web site at DanielleErwin.com.