(Don’t) Follow your heart
I’m sure everyone has heard the cliche saying, “just follow your heart and you can’t go wrong” or “just let your conscience be your guide”… I myself have been told this numerous times in my life. I may have even said this with my kids a time or two. I’m here to tell you that following your heart can sometimes get you into a lot of misery and trouble. Before you get defensive let me clarify that statement… it all depends on what is in your heart. Most people don’t understand that our hearts and minds can be manipulated and deceived. We can be duped into thinking a choice we make or something we do is for good and, sincerely believe we are helping others or doing the right things. From the very beginning (Genesis) people have been able to be deceived and, I’m sure that even Eve thought she was doing something good when she was deceived. According to scriptures it has always been an issue..2 Corinthians 11:3 says, “I am afraid, however, that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may be led astray from your simple and pure devotion to Christ”. Our deception has always been a concern for God Himself and not just in spiritual matters but every day living. Genesis 6:5 says, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”. Hey, i’m sure most of us don’t mean to be evil in our hearts. Man’s history proves that a lot of things which started out with good intent has, over time become corrupt and evil but, how can that be if we are filled with good intent and our heart tells us it is good? The Bible has a few things to say about the way we think with our hearts… Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Also Jeremiah 17:9-10 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” so, if we can’t trust our own hearts what do we do? The simple answer, Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” I personally have heard that verse numerous times throughout my life but, I never really had that “light bulb moment” although I understood, I never really applied it to my own life. Like most people, we hear the word but don’t really apply it to our lives. I would think that’s a common problem among Christians, that we hear or read scripture and never put it into action in our own lives. So, with all of this you have just read it would seem that what we allow into our hearts and minds has an influence on us, wouldn’t you agree? So, What is our mind, our heart, our conscience being “fed” or filled with? What are you taking in visually, audibly that forms and molds our hearts, our conscience. OK, before I go on, you should understand I’m not here to condemn anything anyone does… only to get you to think differently… Here it comes, be ready!
TV, video games, music, the daily news, social media and even our friends are all things that influence us. If we fill our heads with garbage that the world is offering up then what do you expect to come out? My old school teacher used to tell us that our minds are like “little computers”, garbage in means garbage out. Not only that but, there are real people with serious agendas that are contrary to God’s word out there fighting against us Romans 16:18 says, ” For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. How can we make good decisions based on that? I like what Hebrews 4:12,13 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart…” so basically scripture is a filter in a sense. If we fill our hearts and minds with scripture then our decisions will be “filtered” through the word in our heart. This will help guide us on how to live and think and make good decisions in our day to day lives. If you haven’t already figured it out, being Christian is a constant battle. Pretty much everything on this planet is designed to make you stray from truth. Just look what is happening today across the globe.
If you know me then you have probably heard this story several times… it’s a little far off from the point but, just bear with me here I’ll try to connect it at the end… When my kids were very young we had a pool that I made. It was probably about 3 1/2 ft tall and it was filled about 3/4’s of the way up. The kids at the time, being small were up to their necks and chest in water. One of the things we always loved doing was walking in a single file line around the outer edge of the pool together. We all walked the same direction, which in turn, makes a whirlpool. We would speed up and get the water really moving. At my command I would yell “turn around” and we would all change direction. Of course, the water would knock them down and a lot of splashing and giggling would ensue. The rushing water would sweep them away carrying them around and around the pool. I would encourage them constantly to try to get up and fight against the current. I could see them really struggle to get up and walk against the current. Sometimes from exhaustion they would just drop and float along in the current round and round. Sometimes they would cling to me as I, being much bigger, easily walked in the opposite direction. Even through our play I used to tell them that this is what it would be like when they grew up. The entire world would be moving in a certain direction and, that as Christians they would find that they would often be moving in the opposite direction of everyone else. I hope that they understood that it would be difficult sometimes and at sometimes they would be swept away in the current (events). I hope they also understood that they need to get up and keep pushing back and moving in the opposite direction. I realize that this is a long way around to explain that even with good intent and driven by passion and our hearts we can be deceived and in good conscience going with the flow with everyone else. In reality we should be pushing back and going the opposite direction against the flow… our understanding of scripture and guidance of God leading the way.
Well, I hope that makes sense to you. We can’t always assume that our hearts and minds are leading us in the correct way. Only by the guidance of Gods word can we truly know what direction we should be going in our lives, our current world and, actually trust where our hearts lead us.