We all have heard it – “Follow your heart!” On the surface, that may seem like good advice, but in reality, it’s the worst advice we can give. Someone said it is as good as telling a person to cross a busy street blindfolded.
So why is following our heart so dangerous?
Our hearts are emotional. We all have feelings (even if some of us are unaware of them). While we cannot ignore them, we can’t be guided by them. Feelings fluctuate, and the more intense they become, the more we should slow things down. Overly negative feelings lead us to fight or flight reactions. On the other hand, when we are feeling optimistic, it’s easy to believe that we will live longer than the average, that our children will be smarter than the average, and that we will be more successful in life than the average.
Our hearts are unreliable. The Bible warns us that “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death (Proverbs 14:12 NLT). Studies have proven that emotions cloud our judgment and decision-making. Just because we “feel” something is right, doesn’t make it right. After all, if we all did what felt right at the end of the day, there would be a shortage of pizza and an abundance of vegetables. To put it simply — following your heart will likely lead you to a place you don’t want to be.
Our hearts are deceitful. Our culture has made the heart a new god -infallible and sovereign. However, the Bible teaches just the opposite. The prophet Jeremiah said that our hearts are so deceitful and sinful, we can’t even understand it (Jeremiah 17:9). In other words, our hearts lie to us! It may look like denial, rationalization, exaggerating, or minimizing, but the truth is our hearts deceive us.
Instead of following our hearts, what should we follow? Three things.
- Follow the commands of God’s Word. Proverbs 3:5-6 says that our hearts were designed to trust God, not ourselves– “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…” God’s will is found in God’s Word. We must submit our heart to Him! Either you will let God’s Word change you or you will try to change God’s Word.
- Follow the counsel of God’s People. Never make a major decision on your own. Seek the counsel of others. “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors, there is safety” (Proverbs 11:4 ESV).
- Follow the conviction of God’s Spirit. When our hearts are submitted to God, he can speak to our hearts through His Spirit. We call it “God’s still, small voice.” God’s Spirit speaks to us through our conscience and directs our lives (John 14:17; 16:8, 13; 1 Corinthians 3:16).
BEFORE YOU GO
Rather than following our hearts, God wants us to be “be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom 12:2).