One of the phrases that people like to throw out there is “follow your heart”. You’ll be watching a movie (most likely a chick flick) and one friend will say to another “follow your heart”. I even heard a sports agent talk about his athlete client recently by saying that he was following his heart to the team that he chose to play for. I know I follow my heart all the way to Krispy Kreme whenever I can!
The problem with “following your heart” is that our heart can make some bad choices if left to its own devices. The reason this is so is that our feelings demand immediate attention and want what they want when they want it. You see, friend, like it or not, our heart lies to us way more often than we realize. You may be asking, how does that happen? What can easily happen in our lives is that our feelings are based on our experiences of the world around us. Our heart feels a certain way because of something that happened to us in childhood or we feel a certain way because of how our parents raised us or our heart feels in a particular direction because of a previous relationship or loss or a significant life experience.
While we certainly can’t take away the experiences of our life, we are taught in God’s Word about the importance of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to “Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.” The author of Proverbs is not talking about the organ in your body that beats 70-80 times a minute in your body. Rather it means your mind, your thoughts, and your emotions – that’s really who YOU are. We have to guard our feelings and thoughts because out of those come our love for God and His Word, the Bible, and out of that comes our ability to serve, to find joy and to trust God. If we let our heart be led astray, then our faith gets derailed. That can be a short term derailment based on one level of life experiences and decisions or it can be a long term derailment based on a series of these experiences and decisions.
When I was at Judson I remember getting into a heated debate with a good friend concerning the role of feeling in matters of faith? In this on-going argument, I would make the case for not having a time of prayer and reading God’s Word if I didn’t feel like it. My good friend would make the case that we are to spend time with God whether we feel like it that day or not out of obedience, loyalty and heart-guarding practice. Well, friends, I was wrong and he was right. There, I said it. I feel so much better. You see when you put your faith in Jesus there are some moments where you “feel it” and many when you don’t. But we don’t stop believing when we don’t feel it. We either believe or we don’t. Feelings are fickle. As a result, our heart can be fickle as well.
Where’s your heart today? Is it following God whole-heartedly in a life of submission to His word and His will for your life. If so, it’s because you have guarded your heart with God’s Word, the real truth. Keep it going! If your heart is not following God’s path right now, is it because you lost the “feeling” and you’re “following your heart”. Friend, know that that line of thinking is not truth. It is not God’s will for life. He has a great plan for your life, but in all things we need to surrender to His Word. Pick up the Bible again and start to read the Gospel of Mark and Proverbs and let the real truth of life begin to guard and transform your heart so that you can put your hope in the LORD and have Him renew your strength. Then you will soar on wings like eagles; you will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not be faint, just like a Judson Eagle!
-Eric Rojas, Class of 1990, Executive Pastor at Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL