"Follow your heart" is one of those feelgood themes that shows up practically everywhere—movies, books, music, and memes. Similar advice, such as "trust yourself" and "chase your heart" often go hand-in-hand with the guarantee that "your heart will never lead you astray." But you know what? That's not the advice the Bible gives. The human heart is kind of an emotional, messy wreck most of the time. Wouldn't you agree?
Our hearts regularly cause us no end of confusion, frustration, and consternation. And sometimes, no end of interpretation or evaluation can unravel the twisted wiles and desires of the human heart. Truly, the Bible tells us that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). We can't always trust the human heart because it can be unpredictable and highly changeable. Why? Because our hearts have been broken by sin (Romans 3:23).
There's no real way to "fix" the heart, rather, God offers NEW hearts to those who accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Holy Spirit comes to live within every believer and helps to guide the human heart toward righteousness and remind us of the instructions in God's Word (John 16:13; Galatians 5:16). Even with a new heart, we still need to exercise wisdom and caution when considering what our innermost hearts desire. “The flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:17).
As we continue to grow and mature our faith, trusting in and following God's will and direction, our deepest desires will begin to align with God's heart. Psalm 37:4-6 says, "Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” God promises to grant us wisdom when we ask (James 1:5). When it comes to matters of the heart, we should remain vigilant, always considering God's Word when we look at what our hearts yearn for (2 Timothy 3:16).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” —Proverbs 3:5-6
We can trust God because His view is completely objective. He knows everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen in the future (1 John 3:20; Isaiah 46:9-10). He knows the outcome of every possible decision you could make AND every thought or intention behind it (Matthew 11:21; John 2:25; Acts 1:24). And because God loves you, He will only guide you in truth and wisdom, giving you the best, most beneficial options to choose from. Jeremiah 17:7 says, "Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him."
The Bible does not advise to "follow your heart" because the human heart is a messy, confusing wreck a lot of the time (Jeremiah 17:9). Instead, we should trust in God's wisdom and His Word, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us when we make decisions (John 16:13; Galatians 5:16). As we continue to grow and mature our faith, trusting in and following God's will and direction, our deepest desires will begin to align with God's heart (Psalm 37:4-6; Proverbs 3:5-6).
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.