“Follow your heart.”
This has to be one of my least favorite phrases. Far from being just an expression, this lie has so permeated our culture that on any given day, you can buy t-shirts, journals, or phone cases emblazoned with these words. As socially accepted as this advice is, the Bible, as usual, stands in stark contrast to accepted societal norms. Not only does it not recommend following your heart, it goes so far as to say that your heart is wicked and will flat out lie to you.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
It’s easy to look at the story of Jonah and judge his disobedience. It’s easy to scoff at his seeming cowardice in running in the opposite direction of what God called him to do. The truth of the matter is that our hearts, if left unchecked, will always lead us into a dark, lonely place much like the one Jonah ultimately found himself in. When our obedience to and communication with God is dependent on our current feelings, moods, or circumstances, we’ll spend most of our life running or being tossed about like a ship in rough waters.
If you are a follower of Christ, you have a great call on your life. To love God, to show others His love, to extend His grace, to assist the poor and needy, to make disciples...yet we have all been guilty of letting our hearts lead us astray from fulfilling these beautiful, God-given purposes. How many times have people quit jobs or given up on relationships simply because they weren’t “happy”? And how can we avoid falling into this very common and very human pitfall? The answer can be found in one simple word from a verse found in the book of wisdom.
“Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path.”
Not be at the mercy of.
The Message translation says to “point your life in the right direction”. I’ve recently struggled with letting life circumstances, hurts, and unanswered prayers deter me from actively pointing my heart towards communion with God. If you find yourself in a similar place, I’ve got good news. You’re actually in a great position to encounter the relentless mercy of your Heavenly Father.
“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me!”
When we cry out to Him, He hears us. When we align our hearts with His wisdom, we step more fully into the calling of our life. When we adjust our compasses to the one true north, He directs our steps and leads us beside still waters.