From Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers, to Steve Kerr, head coach of the NBA world champion Golden State Warriors, from R&B singer Patti LaBelle to country singer Conway Twitty, the one piece of advice that you’ll hear in common between them all is, “Follow your heart.”
This piece of wisdom is embedded firmly in our culture. Few, if any, would ever dispute that this is the right thing to do. After all, isn’t your heart the place where you discover your true self, your deepest motives, and your most tightly-held values?
So, it’s kind of shocking to come upon the statement that we find in Jeremiah chapter 17. It’s about 600 B.C., and Jeremiah is writing a commentary on current events and issues amongst God’s people. There are a lot of things to comment on. And few of them are good or positive.
The root of the problem, Jeremiah states, is that the people of Israel have been following their heart. Unfortunately, their heart has been seriously deceiving them and misleading them. And there is no cure, no course correction, in sight.
The thing is, in our own day and age we still need to have a realistic view of where following our heart might lead us. We need to learn to take our heart with a huge grain of salt. Because, as Jeremiah tells us, our heart is not just deceitful. It’s “deceitful beyond cure.” Our heart, in other words, is desperately ill and dramatically dark. It is an unsolvable riddle.
And so, our heart is far from being the most reliable guide. In fact, just the opposite — it may actually be the worst possible choice for us to look to our hearts for leadership and guidance.
Instead, look to God’s heart. There is a heart that is fully trustworthy, faithful and true. There is a heart that is clear and steady. There is a heart that will always guide our steps into the right course.
And where do you find out what the thoughts and feelings of God’s heart are?
That’s not hard at all. Simply open your Bible and begin to read.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Thursday, October 8, is Jeremiah 16:1 – 17:27, Colossians 4:2-18 and Psalm 118:17-29.
Lord, send me your Holy Spirit and help me to follow your heart, not my own heart.
Header image based on "daddy's gone" by Elia Scudiero, CC By 2.0