Don’t Follow Your Heart | November 1st, 2022
Have you ever faced a really tough decision and were given the advice to “follow your heart?” If you haven’t, you’ve probably heard it said. It’s a creed believed by millions and proclaimed in many of our story books, songs, television shows, and movies. The thought behind it is that your heart is a compass inside of you which will point you to your true north, leading you to happiness if you will follow it.
It sounds so liberating! Just look at all the quotes from celebrities who believe this to be absolute truth:
“There are no rules. Just follow your heart.” – Robin Williams
“There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs
“Let your heart guide you…it whispers so listen closely.” – Walt Disney
“Only do what your heart tells you.” – Princess Diana
“Look with your heart and not with your eyes. The heart understands. The heart never lies. Believe what it feels, and trust what it shows. Look with your heart; the heart always knows.” – Andrew Lloyd Webber
The Heart is Deceitful
Is it good advice to follow your heart? More importantly, is it biblical? Absolutely not. Many people have made damaging decisions in life based on this single piece of bad advice.
How many teenage girls have given away their purity by “following their heart?” How many spouses have walked away from their marriage to be with someone who seems more attractive because they are listening to what their heart tells them? How many men “follow their heart” to attain success by becoming a workaholic and end up destroying their family?
The heart tells us we deserve what we desire. But does it warn us of the consequences? No. It deceives us because it is wicked. Our heart naturally does not want to obey God because of our sinful nature. It cannot be trusted!
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
These words in Scripture are counter-cultural because we are continuously told, “Be true to yourself” and “Do what makes you happy.” As followers of Christ, we know this is dangerous because our heart deceives us into believing lies about God and His Word.
Several years ago, a Christian friend told me about a guy she started dating who was not a follower of Christ. I asked her why she would consider dating him as she would be unequally yoked with an unbeliever which is being disobedient to God, not to mention the painful consequences. She told me her heart felt at total peace about it so she was going to continue dating him and that was that. She believed what her heart was telling her.
God’s truths are unchanging and relevant for every aspect of our life. If our heart leads us to do something that is contrary to God’s Word, we can know, without a doubt, it is leading us in the wrong direction. His Word can cut through our moods, emotions, and intentions, exposing the truth. The feelings in our heart should always be tested by the words of Scripture.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
A Heart of Stone to a Heart of Flesh
When we give our life to Christ, we are given a new, redeemed heart that becomes more attentive to His leading. God removes the hardened, unfeeling, inflexible heart and replaces it with a softened, tender heart that is conscious of the things that both delight and grieve God with a desire to do that which pleases Him as we grow to love Him.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
This need for a new heart is very difficult for many to accept because they want to believe that most people’s hearts are essentially good and have to be coerced or provoked into bad behavior. However, Jesus’ words remind us this is far from the truth:
“For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Mark 7:21-23
Guidance and Wisdom is Found in God’s Word
We must rely on God for our guidance, not where our heart is leading us because even with a new heart, we are still able to be deceived by our feelings. How encouraging to know God is perfectly acquainted with our heart’s innermost recesses! Nothing can be hidden from Him. He knows how to guide us to keep us from falling off of His perfect path and to stay on course with His purpose for our life.
For the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. 1 Chronicles 28:9b
God has given us His inerrant Word for godly wisdom and the Holy Spirit to help us understand it. There is no reason to ever trust our own deceptive heart when we have the truth of God’s Word to lead us.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered. Proverbs 28:26
We are born with a heart that is turned against God. It naturally wants nothing to do with Him, hating truth and righteousness because it exposes us for who we are without Him. Just as the physical human heart cannot regenerate on its own, neither can our spiritual heart. When we surrender our dead, hardened heart to God, He intervenes and regenerates our heart so we can be spiritually alive or “born again.”
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5
After we have a new heart, it is so important to regularly read God’s Word so that we can be discerning. We will know it is foolish advice when we hear people say to us, “Follow your heart!”
If you don’t read your Bible and happen to watch the popular television series The Chosen, you could easily be deceived by their false Jesus. For example, during the episode when Jesus meets with Nicodemus, Jesus asks him, “What does your heart tell you?”
Jesus would never ask something so ludicrous because He knows the heart is wicked. How blasphemous for the writers of this deceptive show to put words into Jesus’ mouth that are blatantly contrary to God’s Word! In the same scene, Nicodemus kneels at Jesus’ feet and Jesus stops him, telling Nicodemus he doesn’t need to worship Him. More blasphemy as it undermines Jesus’ divinity as the Son of God who is worthy of our worship.
During a discussion between the Mormon producers and the show’s host, Dallas Jenkins, they joked about how the book of Revelation instructs us not to add to the Bible. Jenkins later stated, “…the people who only want to read the Bible won’t be watching this series.”
And he is correct. Once we have tasted the pure milk of the Word and experience growth in our walk with God and His goodness, we will crave the real thing and won’t want anything to do with a contaminated version.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3
If you want to learn more about the true life of Jesus, there’s no better place to go than your Bible. The first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) tell us about the incredible life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They reveal the greatest love story ever told!
Instead of spending that valuable time together as a family watching a show that treats the Word of God as just another book with the liberty to add to and change the words of Jesus, open the Word and read to your children. Exercise their young imaginations so they can see the untainted biblical stories of Jesus in their precious, moldable minds.
The Word of God is perfectly sufficient, filled with guidance that will never lead us astray. May we reject the harmful advice of the world to follow our deceitful heart. Jesus gave His life for us through His death on the cross and was resurrected so that when we believe in Him as our Savior, we could follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life with a discerning, renewed heart.
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