“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
The view in the mirror is often unwelcome. We want to feel good about ourselves and resent the hard-hitting truth of this verse. But the Bible does not pull any punches in describing our condition. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
And Jeremiah (17:5) spells it out with ominous precision, “This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.” If you depend on your own resources (or another’s) then you’re making a terrible mistake. It’s a kind of idolatry to trust in what is created rather than in the Creator. You are just not designed to be the Final Arbiter. For, as they say, the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.
In the Bible, the word “heart” signified the thought-life, motivation, and will. And Jesus was crystal clear that our thoughts are important to God – and indeed will be judged: anger the same as murder, lust the same as adultery. This verse tells us God searches our hearts and looks at our deeds. To those that persist in doing good there will be reward and to those that persist in doing evil – punishment.
But what about that terrifying phrase “Beyond cure”? How then can we change from having this deceitful and corrupt heart to having one that seeks to do good unto others? Put simply – we can’t. Only God can do it. He tells us the cure Himself in Ezekiel 36:26:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
That new heart is received when we repent and turn to Jesus and make Him our Lord.
There’s further to go and more to do, sure. But this is where it all starts. In Christ, nothing is “beyond cure.”
And that is a relief beyond words.