“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 a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.’”
Our hearts are deceitful and beyond cure. We may think our hearts are good and that we don’t have to worry because we are good people or simply because we follow Jesus, but every human heart is at risk. That is why the Bible warns us to guard our hearts.
Jeremiah 17:9 says there is no cure for our deceitful hearts. While I will agree with Jeremiah that there is no easy fix for these human hearts of ours, we can look to our Great Physician who has a cure for everything, including our hearts. Matthew Henry says in his commentary that the Word of Christ was a “panpharmacon–a salve for every sore.” Jesus sees our hearts. He knows what’s in us, sees what we are capable of, good and bad. He knows every weakness, every ailment, but he reaches past it to heal, redeem, and restore.
Let’s look at Simon Peter, for example. When we read of Peter’s first encounter with Jesus, John 1:51 tells us, “Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas (which when translated is Peter).’”
Strong’s Concordance equates the Greek word for “looked” in verse 51 to “observe fixedly or to absolutely discern clearly.” This reminds me of how my youngest daughter, Sydnee, frequently climbs into my lap or arms, grabs my cheeks with her hands and intently stares into my eyes. With my eyes locked into her piercing blue eyes I ask her, “Are you staring into mommy’s soul again?” She always answers yes with a burst of giggles. Those intimate mother-daughter moments move my heart beyond description.
It gives me chills as I imagine what Peter was experiencing when God incarnate looked into his eyes and saw straight into his soul. I wonder if Peter truly grasped what was happening. Certainly he couldn’t have understood it on a full scale because Peter never would have imagined what Jesus saw in him. Jesus, in his omniscience, looked into the heart of the Peter who would deny him three times the night before his crucifixion. But here’s the most amazing part of it. Jesus looked past that and saw Peter’s potential, renaming him Peter, which means rock, because He knew Peter would be the rock he built his church upon.
Our hearts are deceitful. Even the most devoted of hearts can be led astray. Peter surely didn’t see any potential in his own heart to deny Jesus. Just hours before denying Jesus, Peter told him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” With a statement like that it’s clear that Peter could never have fathomed what his heart would be capable of doing before the rooster crowed the next morning.
But thanks be to God, when our human hearts fail us, our Blessed Redeemer steps in to heal, redeem, and restore. The resurrected Jesus sought Peter out, even after he denied him. He went out of his way, and, with very careful attention to detail, He healed Peter’s heart and restored him back to His service. He fully redeemed him, using him in mighty ways to advance the kingdom of God, including bringing 3,000 new believers to Christ the day of Pentecost. (See John 21 and Acts 2)
The thought that God sees and knows our hearts might be a scary thought, especially when we consider that He sees even more than we do in our own hearts. But don’t be afraid. According to Jeremiah 17:10, our God, full of grace and mercy, searches our hearts and examines our minds to reward, not to punish. He’s not scouring our hearts to find something to nail us on. He’s looking for something He can use. Like he did with Peter, he sees beyond our mess to see our potential.
My Precious Lord,
Thank you! Thank you for your grace and mercy. I trust you with my heart, Lord. I give you full access. Look into my eyes, and see my heart. If there is any offensive way in me, lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23). Furthermore, if there is any potential in me, anything you see in me that can be used for good and to bring you glory, I trust you to bring it to fruition. I thank you, God, that you see the real me, and you love me just the same. I am amazed by you. I love you, Amen.