“Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.” Isaiah 55:3
Self-doubt and insecurity have plagued me for as long as I can remember. From the time I was a small child vying for attention within the bounds of my own family, I would hear in my head the whisper that I was not good enough. It was not a message that came from the lips of those surrounding me; it came from within.
Frequent feelings of rejection delivered an internal message that I was not valued, and I began to withdraw. I pasted a smile on my face to give the appearance that I was fine, but I kept my distance from people, building a protective wall around my heart. Very few were invited beyond its boundaries.
I can still remember the logic driving my thoughts, “If you just keep to yourself, they won’t hurt you. Don’t do anything that invites criticism, and you’ll be fine.” Makes sense, right? The only problem was, the action meant to protect me brought about the very criticism I sought to avoid! Quietly keeping to myself earned me the label of a self-absorbed snob. The very thing my inner logic said would help me only made matters worse.
We all have an inner voice. It’s the one that convinces us to take action, the one we trust to guide our steps and pulls us like a magnet into each bad choice. Unfortunately, that inner voice we loyally follow consistently leads us down the wrong path.
You know the voice. It’s the one that says. . .
- “What harm could it do to look this once?” . . .But then you can’t stop looking.
- “You don’t need anybody. You’re better off alone.” . . . But your loneliness consumes you and breeds hate.
- “She doesn’t deserve forgiveness. You shouldn’t let this go.” . . .But the bitterness eats away at you and empties you of joy.
- “If you do this, he will love you and never leave.” . . . But then he does.
Dear one, we have spent our lives listening to the wrong voice. Proverbs 14:12 teaches, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” This Scripture is so important to us that God chose to repeat it again in Proverbs 16:25. The way that we have known, the path that seems right to us, leads to our destruction.
Do you know why? Jeremiah 17:9 reveals an important Truth. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”
Your heart deceives you. The mantra, “Just follow your heart,” held out to you by this world’s prince is designed to lead you down a path to pain. The reason, friend, is that your heart isn’t free. Sin holds it captive, chained by a bond of slavery to the Deceiver. The inner voice that you hear compelling you to repeatedly make those choices you regret is his.
What’s worse is your heart can’t free itself from the deception; it’s “beyond cure.” We are born into sin (Romans 5:12), and once sin has taken root in our hearts, it rules and reigns, erasing our right to choose. “As it is, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me” (Romans 7:17). On our own, we don’t have the power to exit the path of destruction. Praise God, there is One who sets captives free!
Jesus’ death on the cross tore through the veil of sin, removing both its power, and its consequence. We no longer have to remain enslaved to our sin-ravaged nature and succumb to its deceit. Jesus has returned our right to choose!
Unlike your captor, Jesus will not force Himself on you. You are free to continue on your way, living the life you know and trusting yourself to set your own path. Just know that choice will lead to pain and regret, and will bind you to the enemy for all eternity.
Or, you can receive the gift of salvation held out to you through the cross by choosing to follow a new Master, Jesus Christ. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6.
Jesus is the Way to your redemption. He is the Truth that frees you from sin’s deception. He is Life itself, offering both abundance on this earth and eternal life in heaven. He desires to pour His grace into your life. He simply asks you to believe.
Dear one, reject the rule of sin in your life and come to the cross to receive His forgiveness. You no longer need to follow the self-destructive path of your deceitful heart. You can follow the voice of Jesus.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28