One very popular saying in our culture goes like this, “follow your heart”. You can engrave it on a plaque, vinyl it on your wall, word art and frame it. Not only will you find this saying in a variety of decor options, but I am sure you have been given such advice on more than one occasion. I know I have!
The idea, I think, is that our heart contains the answers- within our heart is the wisdom we are seeking. It is an interesting thing. It may be cute and catchy, but it is also heresy.
The bible has so much to say about the heart of men (and women!). Nowhere does it reference to the idea of following our heart as wise counsel. In fact, I think the very worst thing we can do is follow our heart.
In Romans 7, Paul struggles through the battle of the flesh. He reminds us that within him (and us) dwells no good thing.
And, perhaps my favourite verse about the heart- because it cannot be stated more clearly… Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that our heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Whoa! Those are very strong words. Deceitful above ALL things?
Deceit is obviously the last thing I can trust to guide my steps to do right, so why would I ever follow the very thing the bible declares to be the most deceitful of all things?
It would be a scary thing, wouldn’t it, if there were no other options? If we cannot trust our heart, what can we trust? The answer is, the word of God.
I don’t know about you, but I have been an emotional wreck on more than one occasion. I have experienced, first hand, how destructive my heart is when it is not lead properly. It is particularly vulnerable when under emotional, or other stress.
The truth is that, without truth, we have absolutely zero capability to make objective and right decisions. The source of truth is God. His words contains all we need to know to guide our heart- which is, by the way, what God tells us to do.
Prov 23:19 says that if we want to be wise, we need to guide our heart, not follow it.
After I had my first baby, I was a complete mess emotionally. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was experiencing postpartum depression. I struggled in my thinking, and found my thoughts (my heart) constantly deceiving my mind, and throwing me into an even deeper emotional pit of despair. One particular event I remember oh. so. well. It was when my husband came home with a big mac for me. I met him at the door, and upon seeing that McDonalds bag in his hand, I burst into tears. My heart then informed my mind of my husbands evil intents, my mind ate it up, and I was convinced he didn’t love me.
Of course, he was only trying to be a help. He knew I wasn’t getting the sleep I needed, and was emotionally unstable. He wanted to bless me so I didn’t have to cook supper. My heart, however, was convinced he was fulfilling a craving, and was certainly insensitive not to consider my aversion to McDonalds, how selfish of him!
It sounds out right funny now. But, that’s the problem. We, unstable human beings, so easily influenced by our emotions (and hormones!), desperately need solid ground- objective truth to guide our hearts and minds. We can count on the word of God to guide our way no matter what emotional state we are in. Now, ladies, you can say it with me- hallelujah!
The word of God. It is an amazing thing. The bible says it is living. It is powerful. It is sharper than a two edged sword… it discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.
What a powerful and essential tool in this serious business of guiding our hearts.
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