Jeremiah presents, as does the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15-24 and Galatians 5:19-23, two distinct choices made by men who know God.
First we see those who chose the flesh:
1) They “trusteth in man” (Jeremiah 17:5a);
2) They “maketh flesh his arm” (verse 5b);
3) Their “heart departeth from the LORD” (verse 5c).
When a man knows God, but leans to his own understanding, then he has departed from the Lord in fellowship and in his walk. Jeremiah said the result of this choice (that is, the choice to lean upon his own sufficiency, upon his flesh) is to be “Cursed.” The following will result:
1) “For he shall be like the heath in the desert,” (Jeremiah 17:6a)
a) The heath is a naked tree, no leaves and no fruit; it looks dead.
2) “And shall not see when good cometh;” (verse 6b)
3) “But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” (verse 6c)
The idea is – alone; not fruitful; barren; living in a desert. So he (the man that trusts in his flesh) shall be like the heath; “…trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots” (Jude 12c). This is a miserable, lonely, despairing place to be – when you have departed from fellowship with God and are leaning to your own understanding. The result is “death in the pot” (2 Kings 4:40; see also Ecclesiastes 10:1; Proverbs 14:12).
The saved man cannot and will not prosper when depending upon man and his flesh; he is headed for destruction of his temporal (or physical) life. The choice to walk in the flesh will be and is disastrous. (Read Psalms 118.)
Second are those who chose the LORD (Jehovah):
1) They “trusteth in the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:7a)
2) Their “hope the LORD is” (verse 7b)
The following will result:
1) “For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river,” (Jeremiah 17:8a)
2) “And shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought;” (Jeremiah 17:8b)
a) That is, shall be green and alive.
b) The saved man who trusteth in and whose hope the LORD is, shall prosper; be alive and well; be full of fruit; happy; full of joy and power to overcome all things.
Then Jeremiah summed it up:
3) “Neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:8c)
a) Will not stop yielding good fruit; fruit of the Spirit.
The choices the Child of God makes are very, very important. There are really only two choices: walk by sight (by the flesh); or walk by faith (by the Spirit).
How could a saved man choose but to trust in the Lord and make Him their Hope?
The answer lies in verse 9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
The only way to know your heart is to be “in Christ”; or to abide in Christ, and Christ in you. This however, only comes in Regeneration, or being given the Gift of the Holy Spirit. If a man knows (by experience) that he has received not the spirit of fear, but the Spirit of Adoption, whereby he knows that God is his Father; then he has no excuse for choosing the flesh, rather than walking in the Spirit, being led of the Spirit, and living in the Spirit.
Stop now and examine yourself:
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates (or unapproved)?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Ask yourself: “Am I bearing fruit? What kind of fruit am I bearing? What is my spiritual health? Is my tree green, full of leaves and fruit? Or am I lonely, depressed, in doubt? Am I about to give up? Am I mad at God and everyone else? Do I have any power to overcome daily problems? Am I facing physical death?”
What is the problem, what is “The Struggle”?
“The Struggle” lies in the choices man makes. Either man trusts in man (in the flesh). Or his trust is in the Lord. The results are 180 degree different.
Those who trust in the Lord are full of “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). They are bearing fruit, more fruit, and much fruit; and their fruit remains; for their roots are planted by the Water, the Holy Spirit.
What path are you on? What choices have you made?