“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?"
- Jeremiah 17:9
To anyone who has heard this verse a plethora of times, it's easy to skim over the verse without much thought - to say, "Yeah, I know, 'Don't follow your heart'," and move on.
But how often do we really stop and think through what "following your heart" actually looks like in our every day life?
"Follow your heart" means that we allow our feelings to dictate our decisions. It means worshiping God when we choose. If we like the rules, we'll follow them until we disagree. And trust? Sure - if it feels right. From choices such as what to do in our free time to whether to submit to authority, we naturally tend to live based on our current moods.
Feelings are not bad in themselves. Emotions are wonderful - an amazing gift from God. With them we can express ourselves, share each others' sorrow, and enjoy life and all the other amazing gifts we've been blessed with. The problem isn't with feelings themselves, but with the authority we ascribe them.
The fact is, emotions are meant to be guidelines, not lifelines.
Emotions help us gauge our thoughts - they help us understand what and how we are thinking. When we compare our feelings with what the Scriptures says, it grants us the opportunity to verify whether our thoughts and actions coincide with truth.
The trouble is that instead of using our emotions to check ourselves, we allow them to determine our path. Holding our thoughts accountable to Scripture seems inconvenient and cumbersome - and if we're honest, we prefer following our feelings over leading them. We desire the gift to take the place of its Giver as our final authority.
When we allow our emotions to become our decision-makers, we make our feelings - and therefore ourselves - our god. We stop consulting Scripture on how we ought to live and start depending on current whims instead. We become controlled by our feelings, worshiping them instead of God.
Considering that God told Jeremiah that our hearts are deceitful and wicked, living by how we feel will lead us down a path of self-centered focus and pride. We become most important in a life that is all about us - a life that has forgotten whose it truly is.
This is not the life we have been called to. As Christ-followers, we have surrendered. We are to base our decisions not on what we want or feel, but on what we know is true. Our ever-changing emotions should never trump God's never-changing truth.
Christian, living life based on feelings is easy, but it isn't right. Don't allow your emotions prominence over what is certain. Live in pursuit of God - regardless of how it makes you feel.
Stop following your heart, and start following Jesus.