When a person is not certain of their decision, their friends will often say “just follow your heart”, suggesting that deep down, they know what the right thing to do is. But does God agree with that?
We were created in the image of God, but the first sin changed our state. Our relationship with God broke, our spirit died, and only the blood of Christ can resurrect us and give us eternal life, that is, the life of the Eternal God. But since we remain in the world, a world that is under the power of evil (1 John 5:19), we are often influenced to follow a direction that is not God’s. However, since God knows all things, He ultimately also knows what the best decision to make is. So if we follow His commandments, if we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, we will do the good things that will lead to our prosperity (Joshua 1:8).
Knowing human beings well, God advised them to put a band on their clothes as a reminder to follow the precepts of God. “And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after” (Numbers 15:39 ESV). Our Father is clear here: it is not a good idea to follow the desires of our heart.
This is also what the prophet Jeremiah had found. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV). It was after sinning that King David asked God to give him “a clean heart” (Psalms 51:10 NKJV). Our heart needs to be cleansed from its evil nature to be able to follow the will of God. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22 ESV).
We must understand that in Hebrew, the word “heart” means many things. It is the physical organ, but for the Hebrews, it is also the seat of the emotions, where the intelligence develops and also the place of our desires, good or bad. (We recommend this video about this subject). The heart can be educated, by wisdom, to learn to follow the ways of God, but if the heart is not tamed, it will push us into all kinds of emotions or desires that do not conform to God’s character. This is why the Apostle Paul advised young Christians to develop the knowledge of the Word of God, in addition to their love. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9 NKJV). Love is good, but without wisdom, without the knowledge of God, we will not be able to have good discernment.
Should we follow our heart? Never! Even if we plant the Word of God regularly in it, it can still deceive us. We should never trust our emotions to make a decision (especially for our love life!). Rely on our flesh or our desires even less, which are generally contrary to those of the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). When we have a conflict within ourselves, when we don’t know what to do, we must speak with the Lord to know what direction to take. His answer will always be confirmed by a verse in the Bible because this book is the “Word of God”. If you want God to speak to you, read your Bible.