Do you have an adulterous heart? Now, before shutting me down or brushing aside the question, please understand this isn’t aimed at your sexual morality or integrity. It is aimed at your heart.

Reading the book of Jeremiah, I become aware of his keen insight into the human heart. Not the actual, physical, blood-pumping heart, but each person’s core desires. Hearing statements like, “The heart wants what the heart wants,” “God knows my heart,” or “I’m just following my heart” remind me of Jeremiah’s warning.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9, bold effect added for emphasis)

Even such statements confirm we’re referring to the heart’s desires and motives—those passionate tugs, both good and bad. Your heart may passionately want to date or marry, but without the constraint of the Holy Spirit, that same heart can lead to some “desperately wicked” moments.

So this raises the question: Which heart desires should be pursued and which should be rejected. Oh, we’re good at denying the glaringly immoral desires. But what about those subtle, gray area, situational-ethics desires? You know, the wants (dare we call them obsessions?) that we chase without asking God for His input or soliciting feedback from trusted mentors or accountability partners.

Jeremiah pierces the fog with several clues to help identify and avoid any wayward desires. As a prophet called by God to warn His people (the Israelites) away from idol worship, he begged them to repent. For years, several prophets warned them against forsaking God and pursuing their “hearts’” desires, which in this case were the idols of their pagan neighbors.

Jeremiah outlined various indications of an adulterous heart (in bold text below). In honestly considering them, we determine the tolerance for adultery in our hearts.

“‘They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. (Jeremiah 8:2, bold effect added for emphasis)

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