The shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado last weekend has brought every type of expert and pundit out from under every sort of academic and professional rock. If I hear one more nonsensical explanation for what happened my head is going to explode. What drove James Holmes to go on a murderous rampage is a simple concept; he is evil. How he got to that point is also a simple concept; he let evil have its way.
All of us are capable of unspeakable evil should we stop resisting the devil and our own flesh. God instructs us on this through the Prophet Jeremiah:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
What is the answer for combating evil? Only two things as I refer to the Bible; either man watches over his own heart or God brings instant judgment:
“Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11-13)
Now man alone cannot watch over his own heart; he must first fear God. If we do not submit to God and take His remedy for our wicked hearts, then we can be as religious as the Pharisees and still have evil within us. We must submit to Jesus:
“Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, ‘Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’ He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.” But you say, “Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God’—then he need not honor his father or mother.” Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”’ When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, ‘Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.’” (Matthew 15:1-11)
It is clear that we need a heart transplant, not a physical one but a spiritual one. We need to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and invite the Holy Spirit to reside, with eminence, in our hearts to keep us from all evil. And we need to be saturated with God’s Holy Word, the Gospel.
Let’s return to Jeremiah 17:9 because the seed of evil grows in our hearts. We must understand that left to its own devices our hearts will deceive us. Our old friend Matthew Henry, as always, does a great job of explaining this:
“The heart, the conscience of man, in his corrupt and fallen state, is deceitful above all things. It calls evil good, and good evil; and cries peace to those to whom it does not belong. Herein the heart is desperately wicked; it is deadly, it is desperate. The case is bad indeed, if the conscience, which should set right the errors of other faculties, is a leader in the delusion. We cannot know our own hearts, nor what they will do in an hour of temptation.”
Wickedness occurs because there are wicked people. It is no more complicated than that. The confusion comes when we try to deny God’s Word and resort to man’s explanation. Man on his own will never admit his depravity. Only the Holy Spirit can illuminate that in a dark heart.
The fix for all of this is found in the succeeding verse of Jeremiah 17:9:
“I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
Start with me Lord. Search my heart and test my mind and show me the wickedness therein that I might repent and be restored.
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers