The Heart

Read Romans 3:9-20

“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong” (Romans 7:21 NLT).

“Lil’ Heart Just for You” by Casia

One of the things I remember being told from grown-ups as a kid was, “always follow your heart”. The truth is, I have mostly lived my life that way. What was meant by that was that one should follow their conscience and live with compassion. At least, that is how I have come to interpret it as an adult. With that said, I have also found that the phrase has more problems than it is worth hanging on to.

Theologically speaking, following the heart is dangerous and can lead to all sorts of trouble. It makes me think of Anakin Skywalker in Episodes II & III of Star Wars film franchise. In those films, Anakin is a Jedi Knight in training and he’s being taught to use the Force. In order to master the force properly, though, the Jedi has to be able to empty him or herself of all attachments and devote onself to living a life of balance.

This is very hard for Anakin, in part because he is young and angry. He was born a slave and, though now he is free, his mom is still a slave. What’s more, he’s been having terrible nightmares and fears she is in trouble. In one of the scenes, Anakin (who is supposed to be protecting a senator) tells the senator that he has to leave because he knows his mom is suffering. In other words, he abandon’s his post in order to follow his heart, which was bleeding for his mother.

Now, that doesn’t sound so bad right. Shouldn’t he have done that? Well, this is where it gets complicated. You see, he did find his mom; however, not in time to save her life. His HEART was crushed and rage flooded him. Burning hot with anger, Anakin killed every one of the raiders who kidnapped and hurt his mom. Not just the men but all of them, including the women and children. Should Anakin have followed his heart?

Theologically, we know that the human heart is rife with sin. As our Scripture today indicates, no one is good. All have fallen short of the glory of God. What’s more, we also know that the human “heart”, or human nature more specifically, is always bent toward sin. Though we know we should not do something, we do it anyway; when something needs to be done, we fail to do it. Paul was blunt about that nature within himself so that he could put himself up as a mirror for us to look into.

So, as you can see, “following the heart” can be a devastatingly destructive thing. We should NOT follow our hearts; rather, we should follow Jesus! The even cooler thing is that Jesus resides in our heart through the Holy Spirit! That means that Jesus will actually begin to align our heart with God. That is the work of the Holy Spirit, bringing God’s will as the foremost desire of our heart.

Still, you are not following your heart, but the one who resides within it. You are following Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior of the world, who has given you the Holy Spirit to guide you each step of the way. It is the Holy Spirit, working within us, that gets us to realize that our way is inferior to God’s way. It is the Holy Spirit that moves us to follow Christ rather than ourselves. So, let’s not follow our hearts; rather, let us turn to and follow Christ.

Turn to the Bible, not society, for wise phrases to follow.

Lord, thank you for revealing yourself to me and for transforming my heart to be bent toward your will. Amen.

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