Has anyone ever told you to “listen to your heart”? I know that it’s happened to me, multiple times. I can understand why people would say that, encouraging you to make a decision or chase a dream that feels natural, something that would make you happy. But how often have we “listened to our hearts” and ended up walking down the wrong path? I think it’s time to stop listening to our hearts.
Recently I found myself doing the same thing I am advising people not to do. In a text exchange with a good friend of mine, I found myself telling him to “listen to his heart.” Very quickly I get a short response back from him that said “Jeremiah 17:9.” Well, what does the verse say? Let’s take a look…
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?”
The verse stopped me right in my tracks. My mind started racing, “What do you mean I can’t trust my instincts? Shouldn’t I be going after the things in life that make me happy?” Much to my chagrin, God is exactly right (big surprise there).
You see, just because something feels right, (or we don’t feel convicted about it), doesn’t mean it’s pleasing to God. We are inherently sinful and naturally inclined to sin. Galatians 5:19-21 shows us that our sinful nature is inclined to some nasty things:
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that just because your conscious is clear does not make you innocent – “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me”(1 Corinthians 4:4). Falling into a place of comfort can put you in real spiritual danger.
So if you shouldn’t “listen to your heart,” what should you listen to? The answer is simple: the Holy Spirit. His sheep know His voice (John 10:2-4). The more time you spend in the Word, the more time you spend in the prayer, the more time you spend relying on Him, the more often you’ll hear his voice. Pretty soon it will become second nature to you, and there will no longer be a need to listen to anyone but God.