Proverbs 4:23 | Jeremiah 17:9 | Proverbs 3:5-6
Listen to your heart…then catch a rainbow and ride it to happiness! (In Unicornville!)
If you did not sense the sarcasm in that opening sentence, read it again–it’s there. Those words may have been great advice for that movie character who left his job and family to become a world renowned rodeo rider, but movies are not real.
Deciding to listen to your heart is not only cliché, it is also diametrically opposed to godly teaching.
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”Jeremiah 17:9 NLT
God, through the prophet Jeremiah, calls our hearts deceitful and wicked. For an illustration of how bad things got for God’s chosen people Israel, read Judges 17-21. Without a king, everyone just did what seemed right to them. Spoiler alert: it ended badly.
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.Judges 17:6 (and again in Judges 21:25) NLT
One could say those Israelites were just following their hearts–their wicked, deceitful hearts. Is that the guide you want for the course of your life?
You can’t trust your heart. Who can you trust?
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.”Jeremiah 17:7 NLT
Trust God. If you do, you have his word that he will show you which way to go.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
“My life doesn’t make sense!” you say. Even when nothing makes sense, understand that when you are truly seeking God’s will, He will tell you which way to go. That’s what it means to “not depend on your own understanding.”
Dear Christian, please do not take the wicked worldly advice to “follow your heart.” It only works for characters in cheesy movies.
Questions for Group Discussion
- What does it even mean to follow your heart? Is it different from doing whatever is right in your own eyes? If so, is it much different?
- What does ‘following your heart’ lead to, in terms of character? Can a person ‘follow their heart’ without ending up completely self-centered?
- What is the fundamental flaw in the idea of following your heart as a path to fulfilment?
Challenge: Listen to Your Heart
People are always saying, “Follow your heart,” but have you ever really listened to what it tells you? Like, really listened?
That is your challenge: listen to your heart, and write down what it says. But this challenge comes with a warning: DON’T DO WHAT IT SAYS. (You know it’s a liar…don’t fall for it’s lies!)
- For one week, keep a log of ‘what your heart tells you’ whenever you have a decision to make. This may be difficult at first, so ask yourself this question, “Right or wrong, what do I really want to do?”
- As you do, make three columns on each page of your log.
- In the left column, record what your heart says.
- In the middle, write what common sense or prudence tells you.
- In the right column, write what God says (through prayer, scripture, or both).
At the end of the week (or longer, if you like), compare the three columns and find out exactly how trustworthy your heart is!