I’ve said it before. I would guess you have as well. I imagine you’ve at least heard it said. In fact, this piece of advice is so common that many of us probably give very little thought to it when we hear it. It sounds good, so it must be good. Isn’t that the way we think? And what piece of advice am I referring to?
“Follow your heart.”
I think what would be shocking to most is that this advice is not only unbiblical, but there are Scriptures that actually speak against this very thing. Yet, we continue to welcome the advice and hand it out to others. Because it sounds good. Because it feels good. Because it’s easy. I want to lead you through some Scriptures today that will shed some light on this unhealthy thinking and point you in a new direction, one that will lead to life and truth and the abundance of both.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 NIV
Your heart and my heart are deceitful. What does that mean? The heart (the seat of our emotions and feelings) deceives us. It lies to us. Some versions actually say, “Who really knows how bad it is?” Does that sound like something you want to follow? So, the world tells us to follow our heart, but here God’s Word clearly tells us that our heart lies. Have you ever followed a liar? Where does it typically end up? Probably not in a good place for you, right? You end up wounded, hurt, and betrayed. Am I right? We know we can’t trust someone who is a liar, so why on earth would we stake our own life’s decisions on this worldly piece of advice?
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV
Again, let’s hold the world’s advice up against God’s. The world tells us to follow our heart. God tells us to guard it. Against what? Since our heart is the seat of our emotions, and our emotions are clearly flawed, we often find within us a bent towards things that simply aren’t good for us. We could call this temptation. James 1 has a lot to say about this idea of temptation. Here in Proverbs 4, we are told to guard our hearts against temptation. Guard it, not follow it.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 ESV
Behind this advice to follow your heart is perhaps a good sentiment, at the very least. Do what feels good to you. If it feels right, it is right. Trust your intuition. Here’s the problem with that logic, though. Faith is not a feeling. Faith is an “assurance” and a “conviction.” It’s far more than a feeling, and when we let our feelings lead us, we are often headed towards danger. Just ask yourself this question, and be honest in your response. When was the last time you let your feelings lead you? Maybe feelings of anger. Perhaps feelings of lust. What about feelings of jealousy? When you acted on those feelings, did it take you anywhere worth going?
I’ve heard it said this way before. Feelings make a much better caboose to your train than an engine. Let faith lead you, and make your feelings follow. Let’s start living biblically. Let’s be literate in the things of God’s Word far more than in the catchy phrases and slogans of this world. His Words bring life. And I want life. You too?