How well do you know yourself? Not just your desires or interests—how well do you understand how and why you think your particular thoughts? What makes you do what you do?
Be honest. Are there ever times when you have thoughts you don’t like, or don’t understand—or, even worse, emotions you can’t explain? Do you ever feel disappointed because you keep doing things you’ve “promised” yourself you’d overcome? In your relationships, do you find yourself dealing with the same problems, making the same mistakes, time and time again?
Surely you can answer yes to at least some of these questions. Why? Because they are common to the human experience.
Even the Apostle Paul, a successful evangelist and one of the most prolific biblical writers, was well acquainted with these frustrations. He wrote, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15, Revised Standard Version).
Why is this the case? Sometimes it seems as if our own minds are a big puzzle.
Take another example. The headline above is plain: don’t read this article. Yet here you are, reading it. With each word you take in, you further violate the instruction.
What makes that which is forbidden so compelling to us? Think about it. Why do books, movies or art exhibits that arouse scandal attract bigger audiences? Why does reverse psychology work on us—where we do something only because it is the opposite of what is expected?
Why do we naturally resist when we are told what to do? Why is it so hard to admit when we are wrong?
Can you explain these conundrums? Again—how well do you really know yourself, the inner workings of your mind?
Most people simply live with the problem; they don’t think much about it. Life is complicated enough without trying to unriddle yourself, they think. Others, desperate for a solution, believe every promise of every self-help book, television psychiatrist or psychic, and build their lives around humanly devised plans and programs.
The Bible states the problem in terminology that is shockingly explicit—so much so that most people would reject it, even though they are living proof of its truth. “The heart [that is, the seat of intellect—the human mind] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Do you disagree? Does that seem too harsh? It takes penetrating personal honesty to recognize the rightness in Jeremiah’s statement. 1 Kings 8:38 talks about the importance of every person knowing “the plague of his own heart.” Does that ring true in your life? Do you recognize that “plague” in your mind? If you don’t admit it, you can never change it.
The fact is, most of the problems in this world are caused by people who are woefully ignorant about themselves! They may be doing the best they know how—they may sincerely desire to do better—but they are stuck. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25).
Why is the human mind so malignant? The Creator God designed it. Did He fashion into it all those deceptive intricacies? Did He make it “desperately wicked”? Most people have never even contemplated that issue.
Perhaps even more important: What can be done about it? Recognizing the problem is one thing—overcoming it is another. Are we destined to remain plagued by a self-deceitful and wicked heart?
You need the answers to these pressing questions.
We would like to offer you free copies of two booklets. The first, Human Nature—What Is It?, will explain to you why the human mind is the way it is. The second, Repentance Toward God, will show you the first steps necessary to begin to change. It will give you the universally overlooked key to self-mastery and lasting success. Don’t delay—contact us today! ▪