Our society sells us “a me-focused approach”. That I am the most important person. That I alone have all the knowledge and abilities to make the decisions best for me. That me and my heart are the map and compass for decisions and morals.
At first, this might sound okay. I definitely fall into the trap of thinking this message is empowering and beautiful.
But this is not how Christians are called to live.
Your heart is me focused
Follow your heart sounds good. It sounds romantic. It sounds honourable. It sounds genuine. But it’s not.
The idea that we know best is naïve.
Our hearts are weak, selfish, and God is fully aware of that. He doesn’t leave us alone, stumbling in the dark, blindly trying to figure out what to do.
Instead God has already told us what to do.
He didn’t leave the Israelites to choose for themselves, because time and time again they made the wrong decisions. So God gave instructions on how to live. He outlined for the Israelites what this practically looked like, in the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament Law.
They were summed up again in the New Testament as “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:37-38).
Our hearts - upon Jesus
We are made alive through the death and resurrection of Jesus and are living for His glory and His Kingdom. So following our hearts means following Him. We are crucified with Christ, and so our desires are put to death too (Galatians 2:20).
Rather than following our own hearts and desires, our desire should be to live in a way that pleases God.
God’s commands are robust with clarity
God has already told us what to do. Listening to whether things ‘feel right’ or make us happy isn’t the right thing.
The Bible gives us such clear instructions. We are to love God and others. We are to be kind, tender- hearted, forgiving and speak with love (Ephesians 4:29-32). We are to do good works and get to know God better (Colossians 1:10).
We are to do justice (Micah 6:8). We are to trust God (Proverbs 3:5). We are to seek the Kingdom and God’s righteousness (Matthew 6:33). We are to let God renew our minds (Romans 12:2). We are to confess our sins (1 John 1:9). We are to do everything to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The great thing about the Bible and the teachings of Jesus is that there is so much instruction and description of what following God looks like. There are clear commands in the letters to the Church, and nuances to study in the parables of Jesus, and characteristics of God that we can embody ourselves. The way Christians are called to live is revealed through these things.
Listen to your heart.
Follow your dreams.
If it feels good, it’s right.
Don’t waste your time on things that don’t fulfil you.
Do what’s best for you boo.
If it doesn’t serve you, throw it out.
Rather than following your heart, follow God’s commands. Sometimes they will feel right and natural and your heart will lead you there. But even when your heart doesn’t lead you there, follow them anyway.
We are selfish and want to walk down the wide easy path.
So instead of ‘follow your heart’, follow God. There you will find clarity, love, grace, light and truth.
Melanie is a young Christian and leader from Sydney, passionate about Jesus, creating a better world and appreciating the good things in life. She works for an NGO and serves at Northern Life Baptist Church.
You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her socials.