It disturbs me that an increasing number of messages from pastors these days sound more like teachings from the personal development crowd than they do from the Word of God. We don’t go to church to learn how to be better people here on earth; we go to learn more about God and how to live and love like Him.
Living and loving like Jesus will improve your life spiritually and mentally, but the personal development philosophies are more focused on the physical and financial side of things. The Word of God will prepare you for eternity, but pop psychology will only help you for the moment in time you will spend in this life. Self-help gurus will teach you to follow your heart. The Bible will teach you to follow Jesus.
If you know your Bible, you’ll realize the encouragement to follow your heart is terrible advice. The prophet Jeremiah tells us, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and is incurable” (Jeremiah 17:9). To follow your heart is to pursue deceit. Jeremiah went on to ask about the heart, “Who can understand it?” How does one follow what they cannot understand? It’s an exercise in futility.
We all have powerful desires and dreams. We want to pursue those things we think will make us happy. God is not a dream killer. He’s the One that created you with all your unique skills, talents, passions, and desires. But He gave you those things so you would use them for His glory.
When we surrender our will to God, we can begin following His heart. He will replace our selfish desires with a hunger for His Word. His glorious aspirations will replace what we thought were our dearest dreams. To follow your heart is a short-sighted strategy. You might find some temporary happiness, but you will miss out on the eternal joy found only in Jesus.
When Christ becomes the Lord of our lives, only then should you follow your heart. Only a heart surrendered to Jesus is safe to follow. As long as we are still trying to control and direct things, following our hearts will be a road of delusion that will ultimately lead to our destruction. We will spend our days chasing something we will never find. Fortune and fame disappear as quickly as we find them. Romantic love and happiness are fleeting, both constantly choked by the cares of this world. Only Jesus will ultimately satisfy.
Don’t follow your heart if Jesus is not enthroned there. Seek the will of God in your life. Love Him above all else. And then love others as He loves you. Look for opportunities to serve people every day so you might be a shining example of the God who lives in your heart. Study His Word to learn to live like Him and obey everything He has told you to do. Tell others about the priceless gospel you know. This is God’s will for your life, and it is a far more valuable pursuit than following your heart. Leave the psychobabble for others. You have a mission to fulfill and a King to serve.