March 8, 2011
From “Now What? Seven Differences between Truth and Error”
Chapter 1: The Truth about one’s heart: the difference between deceitfulness and desires.
But be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day close down upon you suddenly like a trap.
Luke 21:34 NET
The truth about one’s heart is found in the thoughts that a person thinks in. The thought process of our hearts leads to a lot of reflection and the understanding of who we are. What is the human heart? Where are we going in this life of ours? Where have we been? Are we easily deceived by our culture, our religion, our world and other people? Desires will always be there for us to think upon and pursue as John Eldredge would put it in his book The Journey of Desire  . There is a journey that leads our hearts to a wonderful place in our lives. What are our desires for life? Do we want our desires fulfilled? What desires call our hearts to attention? Which desires are truthful and which desires are not? Which desires take us by surprise and which ones do we keep in the closet of our hearts? These are just few questions that we are pondering upon, throughout our lives.
In the passage above (Luke 21:34), Jesus Christ talks about being on guard for our hearts because of the deceitfulness and desires that are found within our souls and from the outside world. The context of the passage is found in Luke 21, where Jesus prophesied about the end of days, in which Jerusalem will be destroyed by their enemies. It will be a terrible day; which the human heart cannot hold together. There will be panic, discord, and war! But the Kingdom of God will be very near at that time as Jesus Christ will be “arriving in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27 NET). Jesus’ instruction to his disciples was to be on guard for their hearts as that terrible day will come. That day surely did come, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 . It was a terrible day for the Jews because they experience the “trampling” of the Gentiles in their city. Jesus’ arrival has not yet come because the times of the Gentiles are not yet done. Surely, when He returns “in a cloud” there will be terrible things that will happen again, before the eternal Kingdom of peace can be established forever.
Today, that principle of guarding our hearts is so true. Because our world is on the verge of total anxiety, Jesus Christ mentions the ability to overcome the worries of life. The worries of life will always be there for now. Conflicts at work, taxes to pay, responsibilities to accomplish, sudden changes in one’s priorities, and disagreements in the family are just examples of where our hearts are crushed. We need to see the difference between truth and error in our hearts to go on living a life filled with hope and renewed energy. Our hearts usually are given to two extremes which are deceitfulness and desires. Both can capture our hearts and lead us to a way that could be destructive. So, where are we right now on the spectrum of the human heart? Are we in deceitfulness or desires or a mixture of both?
In the spectrum of the human heart in the context of living and the dying of things, Madeleine L’Engle simply observes that,
This questioning of the meaning of being, and dying, and being, is behind the telling of stories around tribal fires at night; behind the drawing of animals on the walls of caves; the singing of melodies of love in spring, and of the death of green in autumn. It is part of the deepest longing of the human psyche, a recurrent ache in the hearts of all of God’s creatures. 
The living beings of our world are conscious of what we have and what we don’t have. We are constantly on the verge of longing in our hearts. A “deepest longing” that we want to be fulfilled. The difference between deceitfulness and desires comes from the reality which our heart is the centre of our “being alive” in this world called “earthly existence.” Notice that I put “being alive” and “earthly existence” in quotation marks as two states of human life, which brings about the difference between what it means to live from the heart and just merely deceiving ourselves into thinking that we are truly alive. There is a difference between “being alive” and “earthly existence.” Those living from day to day will realize that “being alive” is so far from “earthly existence.” We as human beings don’t want to live our lives just for “earthly existence” because we have desires that want to be fulfilled. Moreover, often times we are deceived into thinking that the life we now have is the life that we really, really want to live.
 John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life We’ve only Dreamed Of (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publisher, 2000) talks about the journey of the hearts of people as they look into what God has designed for each person to live for and that is an abundant life. The desire to live and be what God wants us to be.
 F. F. Bruce, New Testament History (New York, NY: Doubleday Galilee, 1980), 138 describes the history of the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple in AD 70, with its implications on Judaism at that time.
 Madeleine L’Engle with Carole F. Chase, Glimpses of Grace: Daily Thoughts and Reflections (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998),117.