This is a sobering verse, and offensive to people.
Jimminey Cricket sure would not have agreed, his motto was, follow your heart.
Man is a sinner by nature. That means that we are conceived with a deep seated corruption to go contrary to God right from conception. The prophet and king, David said, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Psalm 51:5) [Iniquity is a Bible word for internal sin.] We are all born with a heart corrupt. The Bible says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
You may say, I do not agree. Well, consider, have you ever seen a very little child--1 to 2 years--lie and attempt to deceive? Unless you live a very closed existence you certainly have. Did the parent(s) teach them how to lie. Certainly not. Where does it come from? Jesus Christ tells us, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:" (Matthew 15:18-19) Defile, means make unclean or dirty. It is what comes out of our hearts that makes us dirty before God.
Of course, the above truths from God's Word, the Bible, do not make any of us feel good. But let me ask you this. If you had a very close friend and they went to the doctor for a routine check-up. They felt healthy and energetic, they were up-beat and positive. Through the check-up and tests the doctor discovered that they had a rare form of deadly cancer. So your friend gets called into their doctor's office and the doctor tells your friend of the test results and that they are extremely sick and have to have harsh treatments to get rid of the cancer. Your friend looks at the doctor in unbelief, and says, 'I feel fine and it is impossible that I have cancer; you are wrong,' and storms out of the office. Your friend comes and tells you. What will you do? Will you affirm your friend's feelings and support them in their belief that there is nothing wrong with them? Or, will you risk their anger and beg them to listen to the doctor?
I beg you; listen to God!
The process of man getting to know his heart, trusting his heart, and living according to his heart and feelings has been going since sin entered the world.
The Bible statement, "A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself," is intensely relevant. People delight in letting their hearts direct them and they call this truth and right. They say things like, 'what you believe is truth for you.' The Bible teaches very differently from the common way of the world.
a. Feelings change. This does not need explanation.
b. The ability to feel (emotion) is God given.
It is what you do with your feelings that is right or wrong.
c. Feelings lie. Consider our illustration story above. That is,
feelings are frequently out of step with the truth.
Where do feelings come from?
The Heart. Our heart is the real us, the core of our being. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [your heart] are the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:23)
Discovering your heart. "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." (Proverbs 28:26) "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15) This text is very revealing. When you have before you an opportunity to sin, your heart lusts after that (lust = desires, feels needy for it, wants it). The desire for it comes from within you. Then you have to make a decision! So, you decide to follow your heart; you commit the sin; you heart has discovered itself--your heart has made itself known.
Decisions we make. Decisions you make will affect your feelings. GOD DID NOT CREATE YOU A BIO-ROBOT where you just take in sensory information and react in a cause and effect way! You have the ability of choice. [For you who appreciate philosophical terms, this is called transcendence. Man has a limited transcendence in God's creation, which is moral in nature. On the other hand, God is absolutely transcendent--he exists independent of His creation. By the way, I am not talking about mystic new age transcendence, like transcendental meditation--very bad stuff, that.]
Outside Sources. Someone yells and screams at you it affects your feelings. But, you do have a choice how you feel and react or act. If you choose to respond to this screamer calmly and kindly you will find that although no one feels great when being screamed at your decision will calm your feelings. Let's take this a bit deeper. You come across pornography. Your heart is attracted. You feel you want it and it will make you feel good. Yet, YOU HAVE A CHOICE. You will either be directed by your heart or you will direct your heart. The Devil NEVER MAKES you do it. You chose to.
Let's put this together in a case study that is all too common. A boy has grown up to follow his heart. When he comes to his early teens he develops natural sex feelings as a result of the growth of his body. He begins looking at pornography, the lusts of his own heart draw him to it. This gives him pleasure feelings, and surely they can't be bad? Or can they? His heart is getting its way and now, wants more. He now gets more pornography, and more, and more explicit, and more explicit. Of course, He has got himself a girlfriend by this time and is sexually active and is experiencing the pleasure of sex. Soon he moves from heterosexual pornography (pictures or movies) to homosexual porn. He finds that any apprehensions he had about men with men disappear with the sexual pleasure. His heart has made itself known! Because he is following his heart, his heart is his guide and god, soon all these feelings bring him to wonder about his sexual identity. The facts say he is a male. His heart feelings say he is something else. Confusion. Which is true?
You could insert any sin in the above case study, pride, religiosity, theft, murder, rape, lying, etc. Our hearts are naturally sinful, and when we allow our hearts to grow in a sin all manner of depravity is possible.
What you need is to repent toward God.
God is very merciful to the broken hearted sinner.
"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." (Psalm 34:18)
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalm 51:17)
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15)
The man Job said, when he finally saw himself in the light of God's holiness, "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:6)
God resists the proud.
"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6)
What you need is a new heart--a new nature.This is a creative act of God in a person.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature..."
"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing,
nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." (Galatians 6:15)
"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created
in righteousness and true holiness." (Ephesians 4:24)
This is an absolute necessity and a work only God can do.
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:3-7)
"Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:9-17)
Note: Nicodemus, the man Jesus is here having a conversation with, asks, "How can these things be?" The context you have already read above, John 3:3-7. Nicodemus is asking, How is it possible that a man can be born again by the Spirit of God? The answer is that Jesus must be lifted up, which is defined in the context as God giving His only begotten Son. Jesus was speaking of His death by crucifixion. For more on this see the following: John 8:28; and John 12:31-34.
What Jesus Christ, God Almighty in Human Flesh, has done for you.
Jesus willingly left heaven's glory to become a man, fully God and fully man to die in your place. Read Philippians 2:6-11.
Jesus gave his life a ransom payment to God for you. "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45) "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14)
Jesus' shed blood in His crucifixion death is the atonement. Atonement means to make at one. Jesus's blood will make at one God with a sinner by the forgiveness of their sin. Read Romans 5:8-11. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: ... And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." (Colossians 1:14, 20)
Jesus rose bodily from the dead and lives forever to save repentant sinners completely.
Read Luke 24:1-7 and 36-48.
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)
"Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:25)
My Friend, God commands you to repent of your wicked sin loving rebellion against God and turn to Christ Jesus and entrust your soul and life (faith) to Him.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:9-11)
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Wise men seek knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. And, "in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," (1Corinthians 1:30)
Fools say, 'there is no God." Psalm 14.
Fools make a mock at sin--Proverbs 14:9.