You’ve heard it before…just follow your heart. Songs have been written to affirm that the impossible can be accomplished if we would only take this advice. Trust your gut, trust your heart.
Is this truly good advice? The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
The ASV translates it this way: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?’
And the ESV like this: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Not a very popular thought in today’s culture. Our hearts are sin-sick. Corrupt. Yes, even wicked.
Matthew Henry evaluates it this way:
There is that wickedness in our hearts which we ourselves are not aware of and do not suspect to be there; nay, it is a common mistake among the children of men to think themselves, their own hearts at least, a great deal better than they really are. The heart, the conscience of man, in his corrupt and fallen state, is deceitful above all things. It is subtle and false; it is apt to supplant (so the word properly signifies); it is that from which Jacob had his name, a supplanter. It calls evil good and good evil, puts false colours upon things, and cries peace to those to whom peace does not belong. When men say in their hearts (that is, suffer their hearts to whisper to them) that there is no God, or he does not see, or he will not require, or they shall have peace though they go on; in these, and a thousand similar suggestions, the heart is deceitful. It cheats men into their own ruin; and this will be the aggravation of it, that they are self-deceivers, self-destroyers. Herein the heart is desperately wicked; it is deadly, it is desperate. The case is bad indeed, and in a manner deplorable and past relief, if the conscience which should rectify the errors of the other faculties is itself a mother of falsehood and a ringleader in the delusion. What will become of a man if that in him which should be the candle of the Lord give a false light, if God’s deputy in the soul, that is entrusted to support his interests, betrays them? Such is the deceitfulness of the heart that we may truly say, Who can know it? Who can describe how bad the heart is.
Wow. Chasing after the dreams of this world is vanity. Solomon, in all his distinction of wealth, wisdom, and honour, realizes this in Ecclesiastes. All is meaningless. It will all pass away. The actor Jim Carrey is quoted, “I hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it’s not the answer.” Here’s a man living the dream: wealth, popularity, fame. While he may not have been saying this with a view of eternity, he sees the emptiness even in this life. When we die, the accumulations of this life will be gone.
‘To make a mark on eternity’ I must follow Him, His heart. I love this song by Anthem Lights:
Well I’ve been there, done that, tried that, lived that
Way like it was all for me…
If anything is gonna count in this life
I gotta follow Your heart
If I’m ever gonna make a mark on eternity
So let heaven’s heartbeat always move me
Let my only prayer be
To follow Your heart
Help me follow Your heart…
I count it all as joy
To give this life away, away
There’s not a cost to high
Or price that I won’t pay
Church planting, ministry, even simply living as a Christian is not always an easy choice. If I followed my own heart, I probably would have often chosen–and probably often did choose–the path of ease and comfort, perhaps still wanting to serve Him, but on my own terms. Our life prior to full-time ministry was wonderful, as I’ve shared before. My Love had an excellent job, we had a lovely home, we were out from under the weight of deep debt, our kids were happy in our neighbourhood, in our church and we were serving Him with willing hearts. When life shifted gears, it was scary. I fully admit, at first I balked. When God calls me to something, my response should be as Mary’s: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”(Luke 1:38) Or Isaiah, “Here am I! Send me.”(Isaiah 6:8) My heart may tell me, “It’s too much to ask. Don’t do it.” My head may say, “You are not qualified. Don’t do it.” My gut may say, “It’s a risky venture that can’t possibly succeed. Don’t do it.” My prayer is that I will continually search beyond my own desires to seek His.
I gotta follow Your heart…Help me follow Your heart.