“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
“I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.
“As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid,
So is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly;
In the midst of his days it will forsake him,
And in the end he will be a fool.”
A glorious throne on high from the beginning
Is the place of our sanctuary.
O LORD, the hope of Israel,
All who forsake You will be put to shame.
Those who turn away on earth will be written down,
Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD. (Jeremiah 17:9-13)
Our own minds can play tricks on us. The Hebrew word commonly translated into English as “heart” in the Old Testament is rarely referring to the physical organ. Rather it is the seat of the intellect: the mind. Our minds are the source of who we are, the place where our personality and all our experiences are stored. From it come the dark thoughts and the good thoughts, our emotions, our feelings of hatred and love. Our actions grow from and are directed by our minds, and our minds can fool us, deceive us, and lead us into the wrong paths; our minds can help us justify our actions, however reprehensible—and our mind can help us see reason and lead us to repentance.
Consider how easy it is to be fooled. A stage magician can convince us we’ve witnessed the impossible. An optical illusion easily confuses us. We lie to ourselves. We all too easily jump to conclusions. Our biases warp our perception of reality. Our minds betray us on a regular basis.
But God understands us even when we don’t understand ourselves. God alone is trustworthy.