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  • Writer's pictureBrandon 'b.Side' Alvillar

Who Knew? How God sees human nature.

The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, [I] test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” - Jeremiah 17:9-10

Creep photo of woman wearing mask from The Purge with "self" written on it, looking in the mirror

This is obviously not a traditional “self-portrait.”  This IS a portrait of “self” though, at least in the context of scripture. As I’ve studied and taught the Bible over the years, there is an issue that seems to grow more intense as time goes on. The more you learn about the One True Living God, the more you learn about yourself. It’s a tough exercise. Who knew that THIS is how God sees human nature?

 

Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us the truth about human nature. It’s terrible.

 

When we’re born, our hearts/souls are “deceitful above all things.” This means that, as soon as we come out of the womb and start developing conscious thoughts and opinions, we start lying to ourselves. We start lying to ourselves about what’s good and what’s bad, right and wrong. We develop our own personal standards to live by, based on how we think our lives should go, and then surround ourselves with paraphernalia that encourages and supports our distorted perspective. It’s all a lie.

 

This portion of scripture also tells us that we are desperately wicked. It’s not just that the human race is bad, but we’re all DESPERATELY terrible! In the original language, the phrase “desperately wicked” actually refers to weakness as a result of sickness. In other words, we’re all terribly sick in our souls, having no real strength or ability, and we all lie to ourselves about that reality. We tell ourselves that everything is just fine, and move on with life by our own standards of self-righteousness, all the while being totally blind to the truth of our spiritual condition.

 

I think the scary thing about this dynamic is the phrase, “Who can know it?” In other words, unless the LORD GOD Himself opens our eyes, we never know the truth of our human nature. We live in darkness, figuring that, if we look good to ourselves and/or others, we’re alright. It’s like a blind person looking in a mirror. A blind person can’t see what’s in the mirror. The mirror reverses the image that reflects in it. It’s all messed-up! That’s humanity from God’s perspective.

 

Doesn’t our world reflect that right now? Doesn’t it seem like the world is filled with people chanting and raving about principles of justice, righteousness, fairness, equality, and goodness, all the while causing destruction and chaos? It’s clear proof of self-righteous hearts – hearts unchanged by the Holy Spirit through faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ – being miserably-sick, not knowing it, thinking self-righteousness is fruitful and productive. Clearly, it’s not.

 

I took this photo a while ago with this thought in mind, but did an updated edit of it, because it’s been an issue that the LORD has been bringing to light for me, more and more these days. As a Christian, I struggle with this issue as much as the next person. I find myself constantly reaching for things to put on display, to try and look good in front of others, not realizing that those efforts are laced with covetousness, self-righteousness, selfishness, and unbelief. When the LORD finally exposes those things in my heart, I see how ugly it is; and no matter how hard I try, I can’t make it go away. I realize that, the effort I put forth is pretty worthless. In one context, it might look good to some people, and there are seasons where I think I’m doing good; but from the LORD’s perspective, it’s like this photo. It’s dark and disturbing. It’s a situation that needs correction that I can’t produce on my own. It’s a quality of healing and weakness that I can’t address, no matter how hard I try. Thankfully, God can, and He does through faith in the testimony of Jesus Christ. Thankfully, He’s willing to provide this healing, and produce this change, in spite of me, not because of my efforts or works.

 

I wanted to share this photo with you all, because I think this is an issue that we as Christians, can forget is still true of us. Yes, as believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we are born again by His Spirit, and made new. However, that doesn’t mean that our human nature is no longer a factor. As Christians, we aren’t governed by the deceitfulness of our desperately-wicked hearts; but they’re still there! Just read Romans Chapter 7 to see how the Apostle Paul struggled with this very thing. Just because our eyes have been opened to the truth, doesn’t mean that we have perfect perspective and vision at all times. Sometimes the greatest lie we ever tell, is the lie we tell ourselves that, we’re good just the way we are in the present moment, and can just operate according to our instincts, habits, and wisdom based on experience.

 

The truth that the Bible teaches is that, the only “good” or “wise” or “beautiful” in any Christian, is Jesus Himself. If He’s not the One motivating and manufacturing our attitudes, speech, and conduct, we’re no different than this creepy photo in God’s eyes. Unless Jesus is directing our EVERY thought, word, and action, we’re just making lame attempts to cover the truth of our terrible nature, grieving the Spirit in the process. We all need to repent daily. We all need to let the Word of God direct and filter every thought and ambition. We all need to humble ourselves by admitting the truth stated in Jeremiah 17:9-10. We all need to remember that, unless God’s Word is governing EVERY facet of our lives, this is the ugly creeper we really are…

 

Who knew that our “self” was so ugly? Well, according to Jeremiah 17:9-10, God knew, which is why He did what He did to pay the penalty of sin on our behalf, to change our creepy and disturbing nature, conforming us into His. Who wants to stay looking like this in God’s eyes?


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