‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’ (Deut 29:19)
Towards the end of Deuteronomy, there are a series of blessing and curses promised to the people of Israel, depending upon whether they obey or disobey the commandments of God. In the next chapter, there is this warning; if someone thinks, that regardless of how they live, they will escape the punishment that God has pronounced, they are fooling themselves! If they follow the dictates of their own heart, they will not have peace!
We live in a time when moral relativism is in the ascendancy. Briefly, moral relativism means that if it seems right to me, then it is permitted. The basis of this idea is that there is no God and I only have to answer to myself for my actions. This was described in Paul Kurtz book ‘The Humanist Alternative’ as, “If man is a product of evolution, one species among others, in a universe without purpose, then man’s option is to live for himself.” This attitude was the basis of the fall, when Adam decided that his own choice should overrule God clear and specific command. We still, both globally and individually, live with the choice that Adam made, as the effects of Sin, when it entered, can be seen in the state of the world today and sadly all too often in each one’s life. It is salvation from this self-seeking attitude that Jesus saves by new birth.
We are no longer under a covenant where we must follow a set of rules and regulations which were a mere shadow of the true longings of God’s heart. We are expected to fulfil the true, and much greater desire that God had for us that we should live as His Son lived and we should display all the character of God, Himself, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mat 5:48-KJV)
Jesus displayed this most perfectly when He said, “… I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (Joh 5:30b) He was not following the dictates of his own heart, but constantly seeking to do what pleased His Father. We are no longer driven to abide by God’s commandments because we fear the consequences (though we are warned that departing from God’s ways does have consequences), but rather because we love Him and only seek to please Him
Has God changed your heart, so that you only want to do what pleases your Father in heaven, or would still much rather follow the dictates of your own heart?