I cannot count the times in my life that I have said OR heard it said by others to simply “Follow Your Heart”. I’ve observed it in circumstances as trivial as picking your favorite floral arrangement or paint color scheme to something as serious as potentially leaving one’s spouse and ending a marriage. Disney is even famous for proclaiming that you should “Follow your Heart” and that message can be seen in many of their animated features. Rarely can I recall a Hollywood love story or romantic comedy that the idea of “following your heart” is not implied or plainly stated by the characters. it’s a mentality that all of us are very familiar with.
Much like many common phrases in our cultural vocabulary landscape we tend to use them in many different scenarios and often times do not stop to consider the significance and impact that a statement truly has and the implications of following through with that mentality to make it a reality. I mean let’s face it, following our hearts usually FEELS like the most comfortable thing to do to and often FEELS like the right to do. Generally, following our heart leads us into the direction of something or someone that we desire in our hearts and foresee a certainly level of happiness that we can attain if we follow our heart. Now, when talking about picking a floral arrangement or a paint color scheme there is very little consequence involved with following your heart in decision making. However, far too many times the “follow your heart” mentality creeps into decisions that are anything but trivial.
Why Does This Matter?
You may be surprised to learn that the phrase “Follow Your Heart” is actually one of the most un-biblical statements a person can make or think. The Bible strongly warns us of how dangerous it is to follow our hearts and just as importantly, it reveals WHY we should not follow our hearts. We read in Jeremiah 17:9 that “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”.
The essential problem with the “follow your heart” line of thinking is that it encourages us to elevate and choose our heart over all other factors and all of our other faculties. God created us with many additional capabilities and faculties which are critical to decision making such as; logic, reason, morality, conviction and ultimately, obedience to God’s word.
Sadly, how many times has it been said by individuals that they are going to “Follow Their Heart” which meant walking out of their marriage and into the arms of another person because their heart was captivated by the all of the qualities that person held which their spouse seemingly did not possess. In this scenario the desire of their heart was to be with someone else regardless of the consequences or being in disobedience to God’s will and word. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick to the point that we can even deceive ourselves and abandon everything else to follow our hearts. Before we know it, we will find a way in our hearts to believe that even God condones our sin. The phrase “God wants me to be happy” quickly comes to mind as a common excuse for sinning. The truth is, God is far more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. Moreover, the thought that genuine happiness, joy and fulfillment can be obtained living outside of God’s will is in itself a deceitful thought grounded in error.
Simply put, as human begins with a fallen sinful nature we all have a heart condition. Our hearts are sick and in desperate need of a daily cure. The good news is that there is indeed a cure available for the sickness in our hearts. However, the cure is not found in other people, in things or possessions, in our careers or hobbies and not even in our families or ourselves. The only cure for our lifelong heart condition is the love, forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ. When we give Christ our hearts and follow him and the Word of God, he will heal our hearts, renew our minds and give us new desires that bring him Glory and us the fulfillment we ultimately long for in this life.
Whatever fulfillment and happiness one achieves outside of the never changing Word, character and nature of God is only temporary and is guaranteed to change at some point because everything outside of God is continually changing. If there is ever a moment where “following our heart” requires us to cease following Christ and God’s word, the alarms should sound, the check engine light should come on and we should stop what we are doing for an immediate heart check. The kind of heart check that compares motives, desires and passions with the unchanging Word of God and His eternal nature and character.
Only when our heart is surrendered to God, His word and His will is it then safe to follow!