The prophet Jeremiah wrote these words, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

 

These words have been used for years to warn Christians about the dangers of trusting their heart. Afterall, if our own hearts are deceitful above all things and sick, why would we trust that as our moral compass? But is this the heart condition of the born again believer? 

Further on in the book of Jeremiah, we read these words:

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

When Moses ascended the mountain where God would make covenant with his people, God wrote, with his finger, the laws on tablets of stone. However, we see in the new covenant, God picks a different canvas to write his laws. For the one who enters into the new covenant through the body and blood of Jesus Christ, God takes his finger and writes his laws on our hearts. What does this mean practically?

It means that God has put within us, by the Holy Spirit, the desire to walk righteously. When we are born again, we are no longer (at the core of our being) prone to wander and rebel against him. The beauty of the new covenant is that God changes our operating system from the lusts of the flesh to the desires of the Spirit. The desires of Spirit are opposed to the desires of the flesh, and when we learn to TRUST the spirit born desires, placed deep within us by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will actually find that the spirit-filled desires of our born-again hearts will confine us to good behavior more than the law ever could! 

Let me prove it to you!

How many of you reading this, woke up this morning with a genuine desire to rebel against God? How many of you think…how can I sin and get away with it? Though you may be conscious of the lusts of the flesh, the greater reality is that you resist them and at the core of your heart is a deep longing to please God and to walk in all of his ways. This desire, placed deep within your heart, is evidence of God’s cleansing work that he has wrought in your heart through the atonement. 

I am passionate about helping people discover the power of living from their spirit-filled desires placed within their heart and mind (Hebrews 8:10). When we learn to trust and live from our born-again heart, we are actually showing Jesus that we trust in his atoning work. It honors his work as our Messiah to receive and live from the spirit-filled desires that God has promised to place inside of us through the new covenant. 

I’ll close with this exhortation that Paul writes to the Galatians…

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17)

The secret to being free from the lusts your flesh is to walk by and yield to the desires of the Spirit! It does not say, when you stop gratifying the desires of the flesh, you will be walking by the Spirit! The Spirit, placed within your heart, has desires…and the secret to living in freedom and joy is to cultivate and live from those desires.

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  • Amy says:

    Great and timely word, brother! Recent events around me have made me question what’s in my heart, so it was encouraging to read your message – thank you! Two thoughts about the heart: 1) i used to think that Psalm 37:4 (“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”) meant that God would give me everything I want, but a wise college professor helped me see that i had it backwards: what God gives me are HIS desires in my heart when my delight is in Him – and that is oh, so much better than my own human desires, which are always only selfishly motivated! 2) to your comment: “the spirit-filled desires of our born-again hearts will confine us to good behavior more than the law ever could!” i agree, with the exception that the Spirit-filled desires of our born-again hearts will FREE us TO good behavior (Gal. 5:1) whereas the law only confines us by condemning us for our sins, and rightfully so! Praise be to Jesus, who perfectly fulfilled the law we could never keep, sets us free and fills our hearts with His Holy Spirit!!

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