part of the what is truth? series

It’s a common refrain from those in the world. “Follow your heart.” Or maybe you’ve heard someone say, “the heart wants what the heart wants.” It’s usually meant to be aspirational and reassuring, giving the individual confidence to do whatever it is they have a mind to do.

Pop singer Madonna released a song in 1998 called, “Sky Fits Heaven” that reached number forty-one on the Billboard Dance Club Chart. It includes this line in the chorus, “I think I’ll follow my heart, it’s a very good place to start.” And in a more recent post listing the ten reasons why one should follow their heart, a “tele-health counselor” lists as number one, “When you follow your heart, you cease having regrets.”

Sounds awesome! How does Scripture align with this statement?

how Scripture answers "Should you follow your heart?"

The heart may be the very last thing we should trust1,4,5 as it is where evil thoughts and deeds are spawned6,7. We must focus on God’s will and not our own2,5 and should be asking God for help3 and wisdom7.

the answer above is based on and footnoted with the following Scripture Blocks
1

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

The heart [of man] to be deceitful and sick, difficult to understand.

In a broader condemnation of the sins of Judah, God (through Jeremiah) begins a comparison of a “cursed” man (vss 5-6) and a “blessed” man (vss 7-8). Verse 5 really begins the thought specifically regarding the heart, namely describing the cursed man as one that trusts in man. Conversely, the blessed man is one that trusts the Lord. Finally, in verse 10 God says that He will search/test the heart/mind and judge us.

How does it inform?

Trusting in one’s heart is dangerous as we can fool/deceive ourselves. We must trust in God.

!! study note: context is extra important here !!

Does it apply? Yes

2

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven: We have transgressed and rebelled, and you have not forgiven.

Plea to evaluate one’s actions and return to the Lord by turning your attention (heart) up toward Him.  We have disobeyed and rebelled, and He has not forgiven.

Jeremiah’s lament of God’s punishment of the people of Judah/Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians. He is pleading to God on behalf of the people.

How does it inform?

It demonstrates the principle declared by God in the previous passage1; we must test “our ways” against what God has said.

Does it apply? Yes

3

I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

Jeremiah acknowledges that man is not capable of directing his own way and asks God for help.

Jeremiah’s prayer to God for himself and his people.

How does it inform?

A demonstration by one faithful prophet of God of what turning toward God looks like.

Does it apply? Yes

4
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
A man will find a way that seems right to him, but it only leads to death.

A collection of wise sayings primarily collected from Solomon, the wisest to live.

How does it inform?

We can’t trust our own judgement in what “seems right”.

Does it apply? Yes

5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Trust God with all your heart [mind], and do not trust your own understanding.

A collection of wise sayings primarily collected from Solomon, the wisest to live.

How does it inform?

We should put all our trust in God and look to Him for our knowledge and understanding.

Does it apply? Yes

6

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

The heart is the source of all sinful (“evil”) thoughts and deeds.

Jesus is teaching the people how sin manifests in their lives. He has prefaced this by saying that what goes in the mouth isn’t what defiles a person (e.g. unclean foods) but what comes out (generated from/by the heart).

How does it inform?

The heart is where evil thoughts and deeds are conjured up, being carried out by other members of the body (e.g. mouth, hands, feet, etc.).

Does it apply? Yes

7
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Whoever trusts his own mind [heart] is a fool, but he that walks in wisdom will be saved.

A collection of wise sayings primarily collected from Solomon, the wisest to live.  A recurring theme is the contrast of the “wise man” vs the “foolish man”.

How does it inform?

The Hebrew word for “mind” is the same as “heart”. Anyone that trusts his own mind/heart is a fool. Essentially the same thought in previous proverb4.

Does it apply? Yes

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