I know I've written about the heart here before, but it is such a prominent theme in these three chapters that I would be remiss to ignore it. There is a tendency even within contemporary Christianity to believe that God desires "good works" from His people. I had a student say something of that nature to me a few years back. The reality is that God doesn't care nearly as much about "good works" as He cares about a clean and pure heart. Jesus said that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Similarly, the state of the heart influences a person's actions. Lest you be tempted to think that this is almost like the age-old question, Which came first, the chicken or the egg?, let me suggest that pure and good actions can only come from a pure and clean heart. Can bad people ever do good things? Yes. But I'm talking about the overall actions of a person. God didn't desire more "good works" from Israel; He desired hearts that were surrendered to Him. Through Jeremiah, God communicated to the people of Judah: "O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved," (4:14). I hope that will be my prayer for the rest of my time on earth.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.