Don’t Follow Your Heart

“Follow your heart” is a common doctrine contained by billions of people. It’s the belief that our hearts will guide and lead us to happiness if we just listen to it. The belief is that our hearts will save us. Our hearts will not save us. Rather, we need to be saved from our hearts.

This doctrine is not found in the bible beyond contrary belief. The Bible actually sees the heart as a disease: “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Jesus continues by revealing the many problems and symptoms that springs out from the heart: “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19). Therefore, this should not be a model to live by.

An example can be if you are in a romantic relationship with someone and you get a rush that penetrates your heart every time they’re around, do you follow your heart because of what seems to be a spark running through you? If this spark grows and you’re longing to keep the spark lit does this mean you should follow your heart telling you the only way to keep this flame is to have premarital sex? NO. Your heart is fleshly. You need to keep your sexual emotions and desires in check, especially being vigilant over your body. To my female readers, remember that where a woman’s heart goes, her body longs to follow. Women often make the mistake of lowering their physical guard during this stage of emotional connection, to follow their hearts desire. Our hearts desire should be to worship God; we can only do so by following Him and only Him, not an organ. Your heart is great in revealing things to yourself, but God is even greater at leading you based on those inner revelations.

There’s no doubt that the heart is a very important organ as it is the reason for our existence, but if we make our hearts gods and ask them to lead us we will be miserable. Therefore, do not believe your heart but direct your heart to believe in God. Just like our eyes, or our nose, these body parts can lead us astray but not God. Note that Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).

So, though your heart will try to shepherd you in revealing certain feelings, do not follow it. Do not be fooled, your heart is not a shepherd, it is a distraction because the “heart wants what it wants” and what it wants is far from what God desires. Remember your heart only tells you how you feel and what you want but not where you should go. Our hearts is more like a sheep that has wolf-like tendencies. Don’t follow it, and be careful even listening to it. Although through the increased heart rate you can become aware of a new love your heart doesn’t tell you where to go from there, the “what’s next” question. After all, Jesus is our shepherd as revealed in Psalms 23 and John 10. Listen to his voice and follow him (John 10:27).

Why do you think God tells us to guard our hearts above all else – above our lives, our faith, our relationships, our hopes, our dreams, or whatever we hold dear? God knows, He knows how easy it is to open up our hearts, and follow it, wholeheartedly (pun intended). Emotionally, the heart leaps for joy when we delight in something or someone. It also aches when we experience disappointment or loss. The heart is the core of our experiences in life, so when God is saying for us to guard our heart He is saying, “Protect the source of your life- the physical, spiritual, and emotional source of your well-being.”

Our Hearts were never designed to be followed, but to be led.

© 2015 Desiring God

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