“Follow your heart”
“It’s not wrong if it feels right”
“Do what makes you happy”
There you have it, friends. I have just blessed you with three of the most popular well-wishes, t-shirt slogans, and decorative coffee mug sentiments.
Now…may prosperity find you, may you live a long and happy life, oh…and make sure to always “just be yourself”!
(Okay, come on…you didn’t think I was serious, did you??)
In all actuality, these popular catch phrases are among some of the worst pieces of advice known to man. Following our hearts, doing what feels right, and seeking happiness may sound good to the ear, but are these really the things a christian woman should be about?
(Hint: The answer is no.)
I want us to stop and consider this one catch phrase in particular…”follow your heart”. I do believe that this mother of all self-serving phrases very well may be the worst of all.
To find out why, let’s compare it with Jeremiah 17:9 and Proverbs 28:26:
– The heart is *deceitful* above all things, and *desperately wicked*: who can know it? [emphasis added]
– He that trusteth in his own heart is a *fool*: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. [emphasis added]
Woah, woah, woah…hold the phone…
- “The heart is deceitful above all things“
- “The heart is desperately wicked“
- “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool“
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting the idea that following our hearts sounds pretty harebrained!
Now to be fair, our feelings of the heart are God given, and can be used at times to lead us to do good. On the flip side, our feelings can be deceitful, misleading, and downright evil.
So what gives…is “follow your heart” the worst advice, or isn’t it?!
Well now, this would all depend on what manner of heart is living inside of you! Today we are going to identify whether the core of our being is human or heavenly.
It’s heart checking time! So step right up to the examination table and let’s take a look at the old ticker. Here are the three questions every woman needs to ask herself to find out when, where, how, and if her heart should ever be her guide…
Question # 1: Is my heart gold, or mold?
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart…
– Psalm 24:3-4a
God wants each of us to have a heart of gold.
A heart that is honest, a heart that is pure, a heart that is uncontaminated by worldly influence…this is the kind of heart God longs for us to have. In terms of purity, He would have us to be like unto little children. We know this to be true, yet…
Anyone who has lived to adulthood has been jaded in some way, shape, or form. All of us have some mold on our once pure hearts. Where there was once innocence, there is now depravity. What was formerly a clean heart has now become rotten and putrid. As we grow in stature, we actually shrink in purity. Ironic, is it not?
This is because it is the nature of the human heart to sin. Now don’t misunderstand me – we are not born sinful beings – but not one of us grows to adulthood untainted by the world. Consider what wickedness the human heart can contrive…
Matthew 15:17-19 says:
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed:
- evil thoughts,
- false witness,
(see also Mark 7:18-23)
These horrible, awful, no-good, very bad sins come from the heart! Yet our society would have us to follow our heart…because in the world’s eyes doing what we want is somehow supposed to be brave and noble. Don’t be fooled by this erred logic, sisters! We would be wise to remember that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God”. (1 Corinthians 3:19)
Let’s face it…the human heart is fundamentally flawed. Unchecked, it will only grow worse and worse as time goes on! As a result of this inevitable tainting, we all come to possess a heart that is unworthy of having a leadership position. If we allow ourselves to be led by such a heart, it can only end in misery and pain.
“One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.” – Friedrich Nietzche (1883-92)
Nietzche may not have been a Christian man, but even he could not deny the truth of Proverbs 4:23:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
In other words, we must control our hearts…not the other way around, lest our eternal future suffer for it.
So how can we “hold on to/keep our heart”?
How can we sustain purity, and remove the mold that has grown within?
Let me ask you this: how do we get rid of mold in our homes? Scrub it out of course! If a home is prone to getting mold, it may take more diligence to keep clean than other homes. Yet with determination and consistent upkeep, mold can get removed and stay removed.
“Almost every home gets mold infestations. The trick is to stop them before they get big and harm both you and your home.” – www.familyhandyman.com, “How To Remove Mold”
Mold harms. We can not leave it to grow and think that our homes will not be overtaken and destroyed by it. Mold must go. Do you want to scrub the mold out of your heart? Then you’re going to need to get ahold of the best mold-removing product on the market: Jesus Christ. Only He can get in and scrub away the debris that lies beneath the surface. Here’s how to get rid of mold even in the most hard to reach spots:
Step 1: You need to not only hear and know about this mold-removing product, but believe that it will work for you. If you don’t believe in the product you’re using, you’re not going to put your full effort in to the mold removal process.
Step 2: Fully acknowledge that you have a mold infestation and that this is why you are getting to work. It’s a shame that mold got in your home in the first place, but it happens to all of us. What matter is that you’re using the product now. Commit to keep the mold at bay from now on, and know that you might have to keep returning to this spot over and over again so it doesn’t pop back up.
Step 3: Here’s the fun part…your mind is ready, but now it’s time to jump in and use the product. Until this moment, you have prepared to use it, but now you will actually use it. Scrub that mold off until there is a clean, shiny surface exposed. Good as new.
Scrubbing mold out of your house is a whole lot like scrubbing mold out of your heart. You must hear about Jesus (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Hebrews 11:6), confess Jesus (1 John 1:9), repent to Jesus (Acts 2:37-38), and finally…scrub away the mold by putting on Jesus in baptism (Galatians 3:27). This is how you exchange a human heart of mold for a heavenly heart of gold. Don’t let a moldy heart keep you out of heaven. Today is the day to be saved!
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. – Matthew 12:35
Human Heart: self-seeking, self-satisfying, self-serving
Heavenly Heart: Spirit-Seeking, Spirit-Satisfying, Spirit-Serving
A sound heart is the life of the flesh… – Proverbs 14:30a
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalms 51:10
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. – Matthew 5:8
Human Heart: Mold
Heavenly Heart: Gold
Which do you possess?
Question #2: Is my heart told, or sold?
A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. – Ecclesiastes 10:2
[note: in bible language, right stands for strength/left stands for darkness]
God wants each of us to have a heart that is told.
We must apply reasoning skills to our faith, and not rely solely on feelings and passions that so quickly come and go. We need to put the Lord in front of our faces continually (even when we don’t feel like it) so that our heart becomes filled with Him. It’s so important that we train ourselves to love the ways of God. It’s one thing to have head knowledge, but if we don’t love our Father, doing His will once temptation comes is another story…
Consider a child getting sucked in to an infomercial about an exciting new gadget. A respectful, loving child will believe his father and mother when they explain to him that this too-good-to-be-true deal really is too good to be true…that the item is in fact poorly made and not worth the money. A disrespectful, unloving child will pay no heed to his parent’s wise instruction, even if they preach to him all the day long. Once he is sold on the product, he will yearn for it and speak of nothing else until some well-meaning grandparent, uncle, or aunt purchase it for him. Soon after, when the “$19.99 with a free bonus gift” toy is lying broken in the garbage can, the disrespectful child will still be looking for the next new thing to spark his attention. He didn’t learn from his error…his heart is sold on everything he desires.
Sadly, a child that does not love his parents never learns to be told instead of sold. Such a child will grow to be a foolish adult with no discretion. A heart that gets sold will not stand up against temptations such as drugs, alcohol, illicit sexual behavior, or shady business dealings, to name a few. A heart that is sold will jump on every cheap opportunity to satiate its lusts.
Sometimes adults act just like children. We do ourselves harm by getting sucked into believing what we want to believe; even to the point of ignoring wisdom and defying our higher sensibilities. We act “in the moment”; we do what feels right instead of what is right. This can not be! This is the way that leads to death. Rather than walk down this path, we must re-direct our hearts to be united with God’s will…
Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
– Ezekiel 18:31
This was being said to Israel thousands of years ago. This generation didn’t invent the “follow your heart” lifestyle. No, this folly has been around since the dawn of creation…
Eve “followed her heart” when she ate the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:6)
Cain “followed his heart” when he slew his brother in a fit of rage. (Genesis 4:2-8)
Aaron “followed his heart” when he obeyed the Israelite people by fashioning them a golden cow for idol worship. (Exodus 32:1-5)
Nadab and Abihu “followed their hearts” when they offered strange fire before the Lord. (Leviticus 10:1-2)
David “followed his heart” when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. (2 Samuel 11)
Jonah “followed his heart” when he disobeyed God’s command to go to Nineveh and instead boarded a boat to Tarshish. (Jonah 1:1-3)
Ananias and Sapphira “followed their hearts” when they cheated on a business transaction and deceived their congregation. (Acts 5:1-11)
“Man is, and was always, a block-head and a dullard; much readier to feel and digest, than to think and consider.” – Thomas Carlyle (1833-34)
We’ve all been sold on sin at one point or another, but we don’t have to stay there. As we mature in Christ, we learn to be sold less and less. The trick is taking God’s word for things before we try them out and fail miserably. He truly knows what is best. When He puts a limitation on us, it is for our own good (whether it feels like it or not).The first and greatest commandment is for us to love our God. This is how we exchange a human heart that’s sold, for a heavenly heart that’s told.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Matthew 22:37
…seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring. – Numbers 15:39b
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them. – Deuteronomy 11:16
Human Heart: Double-minded, Ignores godly counsel, Gives in to temptation
Heavenly Heart: Grounded, Listens to reason, Turns from evil
Human Heart: Sold
Heavenly Heart: Told
Which do you possess?
Question #3: Is my heart bold, or cold?
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
– Ezekiel 36:26
(note: stone: dead, unbreakable, unmovable;
flesh: alive, can be broken, can be molded)
God wants each of us to have a heart that is bold.
Our King wants to see us living as thriving and active members of His church. Too many sit immobilized in the pew for lack of enthusiasm, or even go astray from Christ’s church because of childish disputes…
We need maturity among us. We need to be selfless. We need to take less, and give more. We need more bettering, and less bickering. This stands true for all areas of life, but especially when it comes to the church. We need valiant warriors for the cause of Christ, with hearts undaunted by trifling arguments. What we do not need is hearts that faint at the smallest of offenses.
A heart can be broken, but it will keep beating just the same. – Ninny Threadgoode, Fried Green Tomatoes
Such a sentiment as this ought to be shared by every christian. We need to be able to say: I was offended, but I got over it. I was hurt, but I moved on. I was broken, but I persevered.
Listen, girls: an argument is not the end of the world. A sharp rebuke will not kill us. A rude brother or sister should not deter us from entering into the joy of the Lord.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:21
If you have let your heart grow cold, you have separated yourself from the will of God. We all have times where we feel like we can’t go on. Yet feelings do not define what we can or can not do…that’s the Lord’s job. We need to find where we fit in the assembly, and do what we can for God’s glory, regardless of what anyone else is doing.This is how you exchange a human heart that’s cold, for a heavenly heart that’s bold.
A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. – Proverbs 19:21
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord. – Psalms 31:24
Human Heart: Sluggish, Fearful, Indecisive
Heavenly Heart: Hard-working, Brave, Determined
Human Heart: Cold
Heavenly Heart: Bold
Which do you possess?
Our hearts were never designed to be followed, but to be led. Our hearts were never designed to be gods in whom we believe; they were designed to believe in God. – Jon Bloom
The only heart worth following is the heart of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is only when His holy and heavenly heart is dwelling within us, that we can safely “follow our heart”.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. – Psalms 37:4
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. – Psalm 40:8
The law of God is in his heart: none of his steps shall slide. – Psalm 37:31
Before you act, always ask yourself:
• Is my heart gold?
• Is my heart told?
• Is my heart bold?
If you can truthfully answer yes to these questions, then you will know that you have a heavenly heart. A heavenly heart that is led by Christ, and worth following.
Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. – Joel 2:12-13
And the Lord thy God will circumsise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. – Deuteronomy 30:6
For God’s glory,
Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.