Follow your heart is a familiar phrase, but exactly what does it mean or imply? On the surface it seems mundane or just a familiar way to express the pursuit of one’s dreams. We hear such statements at college graduations or when advice is sought from loving and concerned family members to children or grand-children. We hear it when advice is sought in dating or marriage, and what college to attend or career to pursue. But the question is just what does this organ, our heart, have to do with our thoughts or decisions anyway? After all, we all know that simple phrases such as “follow your heart” are simply ways to acknowledge that our decisions that we deem as good are good. We also imply that all choices are completely our own and no one has a right to impede on them. There is also the philosophy that one person’s choices are equal to everyone else’s and are to be respected as much. But let’s slow down a bit. This last sentence changes the implication of the statement ‘follow your heart”.
Let’s look first at what it means to follow your heart.
First let me state the obvious. It is not speaking about the organ but about the core or spirit of man; the inner man is to be trusted. We teach our children. We love our children. We embrace our children, thus how can someone whom we love with such affection be anything but pure at heart. No parent ever dreams that their son or daughter would be a murderer. Nor would anyone we’ve loved steal from us or embezzle thousands, even millions, from innocent hard working families. The idea is that even politicians, at their heart, truly mean good. No school teacher would genuinely determine to do harm or be vindictive toward a student. They all at their heart want the best for others. Hospitals and doctors would never recommend unnecessary procedures or surgeries for their own gain, after all, we like, we trust our doctors because at their heart, they all want the best for us.
Now let’s look at man’s heart itself.
Many would say that with such a sarcastic, untrusting view I must live a horribly miserable life or that I don’t trust anyone. And I would say quite the opposite. When I hear the phrase trust or follow your heart, I don’t consider others first; I look at my own heart and say it is deceived. I have come to believe that there is no good in me, and I am untrustworthy for I am a man that came from men who have proven from generation to generation that the scripture is true.
Jeremiah17:9 states, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” Then in Jeremiah 17:5 it reads, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord.’”
Finally we need to ask, “What or who is to be trusted?”
If words matter and truth is a reality, then we must be forced to change the statement “Follow Your Heart” to something that will not lead us astray. Romans 3:10-12 shows us that man is not trustworthy. “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.’” So man’s only hope is not to follow his own heart, but to follow the heart of the One who proved He is trustworthy. Let’s conclude this thought with Proverbs 3:5-8, and may we consider how we inspire others.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8
Pastor John R. Smith