Don’t Follow Your Heart.
“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.” – Jeremiah 7:24 NLT
Following your heart’s desires can be a dangerous activity – unless your heart happens to be devoted to God. But for many of us, just like the Israelites, our hearts are driven by something other than obedience and devotion to God. We are heavily influenced by the world and motivated by passions that are less-than-godly. James said, “Temptation comes from our own desires which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15 NLT). Our hearts are the center of our will and emotions, our thinking and decision-making. In Hebrews we read, “let us draw near [to God] with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscienceand our bodies washed in pure water” (Hebrews 10:22 NET). We have had our hearts purified by the work of Christ on the cross. But even as believers we can allow our hearts to turn from God. The writer of Hebrews warns us, “Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ” (Hebrews 3:12-14 NLT).
God is all about heart transformation. He wants to change the very center of our being, where decisions are made, from where our emotions flow, the very source of our thinking, actions, and attitudes. Jesus said, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45 NLT). What flows from our heart is an indicator of the condition of our hearts. Lust, greed, worry, anxiety, fear, anger – all these things reveal the condition of our hearts. They also reveal the allegiance of our hearts. We are loving something other than God – either ourselves, the world, or both. God wants our hearts. He wants our devotion. He wants our wills to be dedicate to Him. He isn’t interested in our all our “spiritual” sacrifices, activities, and religious busyness. In fact, God told the people of Judah, “When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’” (Jeremiah 7:22-23 NLT). God wanted their obedience – obedience that came from the heart, out of love and a sense of devotion. But instead, “they kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts” (Jeremiah 7:24b NLT). When our hearts are in tune with and in touch with God, they can lead us effectively and safely. When we allow our hearts to drift away from Him and become influenced by the world and our sinful nature, we run the risk of making unwise and potentially harmful decisions. Following the desires of a heart that is not devoted to God can be a dangerous habit. But a heart that is devoted to God, influenced by the Word of God, and empowered by the Spirit of God will lead us to faithfully obey God.
Father, it’s all about the heart. Continue to change mine. Keep me in Your Word so Your Spirit can speak to my heart, cleansing me from self-worship and pride. Make my heart increasingly more tender towards You. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men