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When You Should Not "Follow Your Heart"

We have added our own Christian-ese to the “follow your heart” anthem, as well. We say things like “God moved my heart,” “My heart wasn’t in it,” and the one that really irks me, “Ask Jesus into your heart.”

But after reading the verse from Jeremiah and really meditating on it (not that it needs meditation because, man, it’s about as black and white as it gets), I doubt that I could ever again only allow my emotions to guide me.

And for good reason…

If I only followed my heart….

I would be selfish.

I would be vain.

I would be self-absorbed.

I would be self-protective.

I would be untrustworthy.

I would be shallow.

I would be blind to the feelings and needs of others.

I would basically be the antithesis of Jesus.

And Jesus. What about Jesus? Did Jesus follow His heart? Dare I say, He denied His heart. He did not want to go to the Cross. His emotions, His heart as it were, were trying to prevent that from happening.

Thankfully and joyfully for us, Jesus did not listen to His heart, but rather the Spirit. He yielded not to His emotions, but to His Father in Heaven.

Jesus even said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:19 He knew, and He warned us.

Our emotions are meaningful. God made us to be emotional beings, but simply following our heart is not the wisest course of action. We can express righteous anger, feel overwhelmed by joy, drown in feelings of hope or anguish or peace yet none of those emotions alone can lead us to the mind of Christ.

It is in following God, not our heart, that we can find true fulfillment. The heart is fickle. Our emotions cannot be trusted, but God can.

Have you ever subscribed to the mantra of “Follow your heart?” Has it helped or hurt you? How much should our emotions guide us?  

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Nicole Cottrell is trained in the fine art of button-pushing. She uses her skills daily on Modern Reject where she writes about the intersection of faith and culture as well as the unpopular stuff no one else likes to talk about. Nicole is a speaker, writer, discipler, and coffee fanatic. She and her husband planted the Foundation, a network of house churches in Arizona. Nicole lives in Scottsdale with her husband and two little munchkins, three of the coolest and funniest people she knows.