“A life lived without input and correction from others is a life destined for disappointment.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 24, 2021
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ Jeremiah 23:16-17, NIV
False hope is a form of cruelty, for it promises something it is unable to deliver. Though our world and the world of Jeremiah are vastly different in countless ways, when it comes to desires of the human heart, there is a universal reality that transcends language, time, and culture. In all times and all places, people want to hear good news about themselves and those that they love.
We long for peace and a life free of harm. The prophet in Jeremiah 23 knows this, and therefore speaks words of comfort. Yet comforting words separated from the realities of life are of no comfort at all! Peace without repentance is a façade, giving the appearance of a life free of conflict, with a war still raging within one’s heart.
Repentance and humility are the only paths to permanent peace.
In today’s passage, we are told of a group of people “who follow the stubbornness of their hearts.” (Jeremiah 23:17) What does it mean to be stubborn in heart? In short, it is a life that is self-assured in every way, always convinced of the correctness of your actions, beliefs, and desires. There is no room for healthy self-doubt or openness to correction. The input and advice from others falls on deaf ears and a hardened heart.
A life lived without input and correction from others is a life destined for disappointment.
In isolation, our desires and longings only grow in a single direction: towards ourselves! We become consumed with our wants, our needs, and our desires. And the longer we live in this place, the more freely we justify these myopic positions. As a simple test of the health of your heart in this regard, ask yourself this question: how often does the phrase I could be wrong find itself upon my heart and lips?
I could be wrong. Four words that lie at the heart of the life of wisdom. These are not words of false humility, but arise from a sincere life of self-doubt. Trust in God and doubt of self go hand in hand. As Jeremiah says elsewhere, “the heart is deceitful above all things.” (Jeremiah 17:9) We are deceived daily about the true nature of our motives and desires. We make decisions that are rooted in deep longings of our heart, of which we may not even be consciously aware!
Humility invites us into a life of daily repentance, seeking the peace that is found, not in our self-assured proclamations or disordered desires, but in the healing and transformation that comes from a life of surrender to our Lord.
Father, in your kindness reveal to us the false hope and self-love that lives within our hearts, that we may be truly free and at peace with ourselves, our neighbors, and you. Amen.
Look for opportunities today to use the phrase, “I could be wrong.”
Young Oceans: None But Thee
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