15 May 2020

The Emoji

I just learned that my Google Messages app will now support iPhone like emojis.  Thrilling…  OK, not really!  Why, you may ask?  I think I have enough emojis already!  How many do I really need?  I’ll probably peruse the new collection, but I’ll stick with my favorites, I think, because people know what I mean by now. 

I have a collection of smiley faces, sad faces, angry faces, and even ones that evoke, shall we say, rather vivid, bodily functions!  Most convey a specific meaning… no surprises there.  But one emoji possesses great power and tremendous complexity – the simple ♥ heart.

When I use this symbol, I can emote love, or friendship, or even that I like a certain post!  So what is it about the heart that makes us believe its sincerity?  How do you know I really mean it?  Is my heart even trustworthy?

That’s what God addresses in this oft-quoted passage in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”  So, it would seem that my heart isn’t reliable, according to God’s Word.  But why do I think it is?  Does this admonition from the Lord apply to us as Christians?  Are our hearts deceitful?  Then how can we truly love?

To understand this better, we need some context.  I am very grateful to John Piper for his insights to a caller on his radio program a while back who helped me see this clearly.  In the first part of this chapter, God sounds the warning, yet again, to rebellious Judah.  Vs. 1 – “Judah's sin is engraved with an iron tool, inscribed with a flint point, on the tablets of their hearts and on the horns of their altars.”

Remember, they had exchanged worship of God for idolatry and pagan immorality.  God said it would be because of their sin that they would lose their inheritance of the Promised Land, their wealth, and be sent into captivity – because they trusted in others rather than Him, depending on their own strength rather than His!

In contrast, God says, vs. 7 – “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8  He 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, why do we as God’s people exchange the certainty of blessing by trusting in Him with the futility of operating under our own power?  That’s when we get to vs. 9.  Our human hearts are sick…influenced by deceit.  That’s why we trust in self vs. trusting in God.

He alone, vs. 10, searches our hearts and examines our minds, to accurately and graciously bless us according to who we are and what we do in response to His free gift of grace.

So, is my heart deceitful?  Yes, absolutely.  All of us were born with this desire to satisfy self over and above God.  But, the Bible says that when we accept this gift found only in Jesus Christ, He changes our hearts within us completely!

In Acts 15:8-9, God now doesn’t distinguish between us.  “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them (the Gentiles) by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9  He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.”  (Emphasis mine)

When we come to Jesus, we are a new creation, 2 Cor. 5:17, the old has gone, the new has come!  God gives us a new heart because of His Spirit that dwells in us!  Somebody say “amen!”  And we become more and more like Him.

The next time you use that heart emoji, recall to mind the heart of Jesus for you and how your heart has been changed by Him!

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