This week, I started reading in the book of Jeremiah. Now, in all honesty, I've read through the book of Jeremiah a few times and I never gleaned much from it, but this time, it's a little different. I've actually been seeing myself in it.
In the book of Jeremiah, Israel has forgotten God and turned to idols. A people that was once faithful as a young, devoted bride has turned away into backsliding and forsaken their God. Now they have defiled themselves in whoredom, but God who is merciful is calling them to repent and turn back to Him.
Now when I looked at this situation here, I thought "Do I defile myself with the things of this world? Am I faithful to God or do I go around seeking pleasure in other things?" In all honesty, yes, I often do. I seek out things that I know very well bring no true fulfillment and waste my time doing useless things all in an effort to try and find momentary joy. If I examine my life, I can see so clearly how often and easily I fall into this. I catch myself doing it, but I go on anyway. Now, just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with having fun. There are many things in this world that are good, pure, and enjoyable and it's good to enjoy them. We need that sometimes. But once it becomes a central, necessary, or controlling part of our lives, then we've run into a problem. We are giving other things and activities places in our lives which God should rightly have.
"For my people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are 'wise'--in doing evil! But how to do good they know not."
Isn't this true of so many people? Doing evil seems to come so easily, so naturally, but doing good seems almost an impossible task for them. I mean, evil can even be so well thought out, tactfully planned, and efficiently carried out, but doing good is a whole different story. That often takes more courage than most of us can muster up.
"Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD."
I've caught myself doing this far too many times: turning to God in pretense. It's as if I think I can fool God and cheat Him into giving me what I want. I actually fool myself sometimes when I do this. But God knows the innermost thoughts, intentions, and motives behind what we do. We can come to God acting as if we truly desire Him, but He knows when we are completely insincere.
So my challenge for you is turn to the Lord with your whole heart in complete sincerity, holding nothing back. It's more difficult than it sounds. I'm wrestling with it myself. A question also comes to mind: Do you remember a time when you loved God more than you do now?
Don't let your love grow cold, but may your love and desire for the Lord be always increasing. God wants your whole heart.