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The Heart is Deceitful – Man Up Bible Study Notes

14 May on Existence Church, Prayer & Discernment   Tags: , , , , ,

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Tonight I had the privilege to enjoy another great teaching at my church’s men’s Bible study called Man Up. Pastor Josh talked about addictions. But instead of talking about 12-step programs, covenant eyes, and other methods to beat addiction, he went straight to the heart. Because, after all no matter what kind of barriers we create to fight addiction or methods we try to win against them, if our heart isn’t addressed, we’ll find a way to fall back into our old habits. Our heart is the problem, not the addiction.

The main passage used for this topic was Jeremiah 17:5-10.

Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

Basically, when you turn your heart away from God, toward the desires of men and appeal to the flesh, you are bound to them. You become blind to God’s blessings and will not see good that comes around. You’re pretty much described as a “bush in the wastelands”, a lost tumbleweed missing out on the joy, love, feelings, emotions and excitement that comes with trusting in the Lord.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.

So when you turn to God and trust in Him, you’ll be blessed with security. You’ll have the confidence to stand firm, even in times when it appears things aren’t going great (in a drought). Walking with the Lord “never fails to bear fruit”. Trusting in the Lord will help you bear Kingdom fruits, fruits that are everlasting.

But here’s the catch…

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

The very thing that determines if you are cursed or blessed is the most deceitful thing, your heart. Thankfully, God is in control (if you let him)..

“I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”

So we know that we rather be blessed than cursed, and we also know that the heart is deceitful. We have to accept that it all boils down to God. He searches our hearts & testes our minds. He knows if we are seeking him and putting our trust into Him. And if we really turn toward Him, He will help us discern what actions our heart tells us to commit and if they will bless us or bound us.

Here are 4 ways to help us discern our hearts & minds;

  1. God’s Word – The Word will judge our thoughts and the attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
  2. God’s People – Fellowship purifies our hearts (1 John 1:7)
  3. God’s Spirit – Only the Spirit of God (which is not of this world) can discern what we can’t (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)
  4. God’s Creation – Think about what God has done and his power. It will purge ungodliness (Romans 1:18-20)

 

Okay, the center of our life’s actions is the heart. It can determine our actions, thoughts and if our outcome is blessed or cursed. But the problem is our hearts are deceitful and we can’t tell. But thanks be to God, He searches the heart to determine which way we really want to turn, and in order to turn in the right direction and to identify what our hearts are up to, we must follow him by reading His Word, fellowshipping with His people, living by His spirit and awing at His creation.

Here are some questions to take away from this;

  1. Do you read God’s Word regularly?
  2. Do you read God’s Word for your heart to get penetrated?
  3. Are you really walking in true fellowship with Christ & His people?
  4. Are the actions you commit led by the spirit toward God?
  5. Do you praise God for His creation & His attributes?
  6. Is God’s plan of freedom being revealed to you?

Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.

– Matthew 5:8

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  • Right on. It’s all about discerning the heart, even as you rely on accountability software.

    Covenant Eyes just put out this conversation guide, based on the Word of God, for accountability partners. The whole aim of it is getting to the heart.

    http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/04/05/accountability-questions-covenant-eyes/

    • jameseo

      Hey Luke,
      I do believe accountability software can help. My pastor even mentioned a scenario that made it sound like he’s using something like that with some guys in the church. He said something about getting weekly reports on some of the guys in the church and congratulating or encouraging some based on the reports. One particular example he brought up was; he was telling a guy, “I got your report, good job man, you’re doing great”. And the guy said, “to be honest pastor, I haven’t even installed the software yet. If I did, you wouldn’t be telling me that.” Maybe if he did install it and know that the pastor was getting progress reports, he would have had a better response.

      Anyway, I believe everyone should have something like covenant eyes installed, even if you’re not addicted. It can only help. But installed or not, your heart will either help you or hurt you.
      Thanks for the comment Luke!