Listen to Your Heart?
When life is a struggle and dreams hang in the breeze, when you’re not sure what’s next and long for a hopeful tomorrow, what should you do?
The mantra of our culture is clear. ‘Listen to your heart. Be true to yourself and go wherever your heart should lead’.
Celebrities tell us it’s true. ‘The Voice’ affirms it. Disney has built an industry on this message. And pop psychologists regularly set their seal of approval on this unfailing advice. However, the loudest voice is none of these, but that of our own hearts. In fervent self-testimony, they speak to our inner being saying ‘Follow me. I will never lead you astray. Indeed, I will lead you to green pastures and beside still waters. I will restore your soul’.
Sounds good, but it’s not what the Bible says. Indeed, we’re told the exact opposite is more often true. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’ (Jeremiah 17:9). To quote Ashley Null, ‘What the heart desires, the will pursues, and the mind justifies’. And this process, all too often, leads us badly astray.
The Bible’s antidote is very different. Rather than to listen to our heart, we should delight in the Word of the Lord. Rather than serving ourselves, we are to ‘offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God… Then we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will’ (Rom 12:1-2).
Word. Spirit. Sacrifice. These will lead us to green pastures and beside still waters as we follow Jesus.