It’s the mantra of today. It’s the moral lesson of most movies. It’s the guiding light of many lives: “Follow your heart!” After all, it sounds so right, doesn’t it?
“Follow your heart” is another way of following your feelings. Even as Christians, our feelings often lead us, don’t they?
- “I don’t feel good about this.”
- “Am I comfortable with this direction?”
- “I don’t have a peace about this decision.”
Following your heart is a popular, but unwise, way to make decisions.
Although our feelings are real, they may not represent reality. And even if what we feel does have some connection to reality, it is never all of reality.
God offers a better way.
A Bad Idea: Follow Your Heart
We see life from a limited perspective, so we need to resist the assumption that because we feel something strongly, it’s true.
When God the Father spun the earth into orbit millennia ago, He knew we would need a guide to lead us through the deceptions of Satan and the maze of our feelings. Obedience is that guide.
Anything else is a bad idea—and terribly disappointing.
A Better Guide
If we could see life from God’s perspective, we would realize that the obedient way is the best way—not just the moral way, but the best way (the two are always the same, but it still helps to say so). The obedient path is the life we want because it always follows the big picture God sees.
I echo Paul’s concern when he wrote:
I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. —2 Corinthians 11:3
True, the Spirit of God can guide through somewhat subjective means—but never in contradiction to biblical principles.
A Good Idea: How to Make Wise Choices
Make it a habit to evaluate your feelings through the grid of God’s Word. And when there is a contradiction between your heart and the Bible?
Betray your feelings and don’t follow your heart.
Never lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). Why? Because your feelings alone were never meant to guide you. They often can betray you. Maintain a “pure and simple devotion to Christ.”
- Even when it means humbling yourself.
- Even when you have to stand alone to do it.
- Even when it requires facing your fears.
Remember that when you follow your heart and allow feelings to guide you, it can lead you into places that will make you feel much, much worse.
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This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing.
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