And you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me. Jeremiah 16:12
Focus on Christ
Though we can do what we want, our ways are not hidden from the Lord! What does it mean to follow the dictates of your own heart? In this passage the emphasis is on a people who are following their wrong, evil hearts. That means that they follow a twisted imagination, way, or lust instead of following after the Words of God.
God was placing His Hand on His people because they had gone after their own thinking, desires, lusts, and imaginations. Their heart had turned from God! His response–strong discipline. Does that seem harsh to you? It shouldn’t. God brings discipline to correct, teach, and bring His children back to a deep relationship with Him.
I hear many people say, “As long as I am not hurting anyone else, it is okay for me to do what I want.” But, in the body of Christ, you cannot sin independently of others. We are all in one body–the body of Christ. When one part hurts, the whole body feels the sensation.
Others say, “Well, here is what I think!” That does not get God’s attention! He is not interested in what we think; He is interested in us learning to walk in the ways of His holiness. Doing what is right in your own eyes is not the same as doing what God says in His Word.
Our tendency is to follow our heart. Be careful though because our heart can convince us something that is wrong seems right. The desires of your heart are fine to follow when you are abiding in Christ, His Word, and His Ways. But when you are discouraged, in despair, anxious, or confused, it is not a time to follow your heart.
Notice the key thought at the end of this verse: “So that no one listens to Me.” There is the problem. If they listen to God, then direction would be right. In order to hear someone, you must be close enough to know what they are saying. God’s Word helps you measure whether your ways are right or wrong.
Focus on Self
To focus on self is simple. Give in to your own desires, thoughts, and wants. Ignore God’s Word for a couple of days, or hours, and you will be back to your old way of thinking. But Christ came into your life and made you a new creation. This new being He made requires a new diet. You cannot feed on twisted imaginations and desires and experience this new life. God’s Word is the wonderful new diet that will guide your life from selfishness to service.
*Taken from My Word is Like a Fire by Alison Veazey and Kerry L. Skinner, p. 86-87, ©2019 All Rights Reserved