Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
From reading and studying the Bible over the years, I have come to learn that the Heart and the Mind are often related in the meaning of the text. That basically, the mind (the reins) and the heart (bowels) drive a person in their relationship with God. In my sign language-interpreting thought process, I would point to both the mind and the heart at the same time when interpreting such verses:
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
From faithbibleministriesblog.com. “The Heart and the Mind: What the Biblical Word “Heart” Means”
In both the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT), the word “heart” is used to refer to the whole of the innermost part of the human, NOT merely the emotions.
However, in the twenty-first century English, the word “heart” is used to express the emotions as an individual compartment of the inner part of the human.
It is common for Americans to divide humans into the physical and the metaphysical.
We Americans tend to see people as having two separate parts, wherein one part is the emotions, which we refer to as the heart, then a brain, which houses the mind.
The Bible does not divide man so easily – it focuses on all three making up the whole of a being – this is Biblically called the “heart.”
1) Mental Process, which is the major part (where action & reaction take place), which is to lead a person in their life.
2) Emotions (which only process as reaction), as icing to enrich our lives.
3) Will, the seat of the will (discretionary, volitional, decision-making) where decisions are made between the rational and the emotive.
Personally, I believe the best definition of heart is the focus and determination of the mind, and the response of the emotions.
The Bible never instructs us to be led by our emotions, but rather by our minds.
It is with our minds that we focus our attention and choose to obey God, and it is those actions that first are decided with our mind in consideration of what we focus on – that is what God holds us accountable for.
We must always remember, what God says about the human heart, that it: “… is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” because man is a fallen creature, subject to sin; however, it is also with our heart that we exercise faith unto salvation.
Yet at the same time, we must always remember that without our emotions we are robots. Emotions are the icing of the cake and, without them, life becomes drab and pale, lifeless and purely analytical. Therefore, we are to rationally think with our minds, yet always understanding that our emotions do come into play and, therefore, be cautious that our emotions do not become our sole determinant when it comes to the decisions of our daily life. Enjoy our emotions, allow them to take their sacred place within our being; yet when all is said and done, it is with our mind that we choose our paths. –Source
From our experience of having Prodigals, the description of the heart/mind being ‘desperately wicked’ comes into focus by seeing the choices they have made. Both our girls ‘followed their hearts‘ and chose to be with young men who were ‘Atheists’ despite knowing the ramifications (being led away from God) of such a choice. Like the old saying goes, ‘it takes a lot more energy to pull someone up than it does to pull them down’ or ‘it is easier to go down a hill than to go up.’
Basically, they thought that they could ‘influence’ these young men ‘up towards the Lord,’ but these young men ‘easily pulled them down’ by taking them far, far away from the Lord instead! In fact, the ramifications of such ‘immoral influence’ has been huge! They have been led to places that we never thought they would go, such as to Drug and Alcohol Abuse, to Waving Rainbow Flags in support of several Pride Parades, to Marching for Gay Rights, Feminism, and Abortion, to Support and Attendance of Planned Parenthood Clinics for their personal ‘care and advice,’ and to Anti-Christ Behavior such as bashing on those of us who ‘uphold Biblical Beliefs’ by calling us ‘Bigots’!
From crosswalk.com. “Family Parenting: Confessions of a Prodigal”
The following is a testimony that will encourage every parent of a prodigal. Alycia Neigbours is a professed prodigal who put her parents through years of worry and pain throughout her childhood, and for eight years they lived the nightmare of not knowing if she was alive or dead. In her own words, Alycia shares her prodigal story and why it’s so important for parents to never stop praying for their prodigal child, even when they don’t immediately see change.
I Ran from My Family and God
I started running away from my family and God when I was in my early teens. I ran because I sought acceptance, approval and an excitement I didn’t believe I had within my home. I ran because I wanted to be my own boss of my destiny and thought I could find purpose on my own with no help from my earthly family or from a God I couldn’t see or hear.
The restoration of the prodigal child and parent relationship can take time because of the trust issues during the prodigal’s flight mode and absences; but it’s not beyond our God’s ability to heal. I would imagine that if we sat down with a calendar, every time I felt a “pull” to go home was the same time that my parents and others were in intense prayer for me.
What Do I Want Parents of Prodigals to Take Away?
- Never stop praying or give up hope on your prodigal. It may be weeks, months, or years, but your prayers are essential for your prodigal to feel the “pull” home.
- If you still have limited contact with your prodigal, don’t let him/her see your bitterness or anger at his/her actions. Mimic God’s love and acceptance. You can verbalize that you don’t like what he/she is doing, but you will always love your child.
- Your prodigal may be in a situation that does not allow him/her to come home or make contact. Form large prayer groups to cover your prodigal in prayer. More prayers, more “pull.” – Source
It has been 8 long years since our oldest ran off in her Rebellion, and it has been 2 years since our youngest decided to follow suit. To be honest, I am Beyond Drained, Weary, and ‘Utterly Heartbroken’ each and every day concerning them both. Sometimes I do not know what to do anymore because I have Prayed incessantly and have asked many Brothers and Sisters in Christ over the years to Pray for our girls as well to no seeming avail, change, or betterment by now!
To be honest, by now I have lost most, if not, all ‘glimmer of hope.’ Since we are obviously running out of time, I mainly just Pray for their Salvation during the Tribulation or ‘before it is too late for them to do so’! Doug and I also Pray for the Salvation of their ‘significant others’ as well. Having Prodigals these past 8 years has literally been a ‘Nightmare’ that we would not wish on anyone but, at the same time, one that we wish we could finally wake up from!
From gotquestions.org: “What should Christian parents do if they have a prodigal son (or daughter)?”
Answer: There is inherent in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) several principles that believing parents can use to react to and deal with children who walk contrary to the way in which the parents have raised them. Parents need to remember that once their children have reached adulthood, they are no longer under the authority of their parents.
Notice that the father in the parable does not stop his child from leaving. Nor does he follow after his child to try to protect him. Rather, this parent faithfully stays at home and prays, and when that child “comes to his senses” and turns around and heads back, the parent is waiting and watching and runs to greet that child even when he is a “long way off.”
When our sons and daughters go off on their own—assuming they are of legal age to do so—and make choices that we know will bring hard consequences, parents must let go and allow them to leave. The parent does not follow after, and the parent does not interfere with the consequences that will come. Rather, the parent stays at home, keeps faithfully praying and watching for the signs of repentance and a change of direction. Until that comes, parents keep to their own counsel, do not support the rebellion, and do not interfere (1 Peter 4:15).
As parents, we cannot save our children—only God can do that. Until that time comes, we must watch, pray, and leave the matter in the hands of God. This may be a painful process, but when carried out biblically, it will bring peace of mind and heart. We cannot judge our children; only God can. In this there is a great comfort: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25b). – Source
Bottom line is that our hearts/minds are ‘Deceitful and Desperately Wicked’ above all else; we do not even know it or fully understand it ourselves! Without Jesus we are Debased, Lost, Ignorant and ‘Animal- Like’ in our thinking, emotion, and thought processes! That is why the Bible tells us that the ‘Fear of the Lord’ (Reverence & Belief in Jesus) is the ‘Beginning of Wisdom’! To become a Christian with the ‘Light of Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit’ finally illuminating our minds/hearts is ‘just the beginning’ (tip of the iceberg) of Sound-Mindedness, Understanding, and Wisdom! We ALL so desperately need Jesus Christ! Without Him, we are utterly Lost, Lost, Lost!
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
From biblehub.com. “Commentaries: Jeremiah 17:9”
The heart of man, in his corrupt and fallen state, is false and deceitful above all things; deceitful in its apprehensions of things, calling evil good and good evil, putting false colours upon things, crying peace to those to whom peace does not belong, and cheating men to their own ruin; deceitful in the hopes and promises which it excites and nourishes, and in the assurances which it gives. And desperately wicked — Hebrews ואנשׁ הוא, literally, and desperate, or, as Blaney renders it, it is even past all hope; who can know it? That is, “humanly speaking, there is no possibility that any one should trace it through all its windings, and discover what is at the bottom of it.” In short, it is unsearchable by others, deceitful with reference to ourselves, and abominably wicked; so that neither can a man know his own heart, nor can anyone know that of his neighbour. – Source
What We Desperately Need is Belief in the Gospel Message:
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Until next time… Maranatha!
(JESUS = WAY, TRUTH, LIFE)
Candy Austin is an Ambassador for Christ, a Beloved Wife to her Beloved Husband Doug, a Freelance Sign Language Interpreter, a PTSD Survivor, a Writer for Rapture Ready, a Bible Prophecy Student Anxiously Awaiting Our Blessed Hope, a Mother of 2 Precious Prodigal Daughters (26 & 21 years old), a Cat Mom to Harley 11 and Dallas 8, a Child of God who is Blessed Beyond Measure!