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Don’t Follow Your Heart

“Follow your heart” is a creed embraced by billions of people. It’s a statement of faith in one of the great pop cultural myths of the Western world; a gospel proclaimed in many of our stories, movies and songs.

Essentially, it’s a belief that your heart is a compass inside of you that will direct you to your own true north if you just have the courage to follow it. It says that your heart is a true guide that will lead you to true happiness if you just have the courage to listen to it. The creed says that you are lost and your heart will save you.

This creed can sound so simple and beautiful and liberating. For lost people, it’s a tempting gospel to believe.

Is This the Leader You Want to Follow?

Until you consider that your heart has sociopathic tendencies. Think about it for a moment. What does your heart tell you?

Please don’t answer. Your heart has likely said things today that you would not wish to repeat. I know mine has. My heart tells me that all of reality ought to serve my desires. My heart likes to think the best of me and worst of others—unless those others happen to think well of me, then they are wonderful people. But if they don’t think well of me, or even if they just disagree with me, well then, something is wrong with them. And while my heart is pondering my virtues and others’ errors, it can suddenly find some immoral or horribly angry thought very attractive.

The “follow your heart” creed certainly isn’t found in the Bible. The Bible actually thinks our hearts have a disease: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). This is not leadership material.

The truth is, no one lies to us more than our own hearts. No one. If our hearts are compasses, they are Jack Sparrow compasses. They don’t tell us the truth, they just tell us what we want. If our hearts are guides, they are Gothels. They are not benevolent, they are pathologically selfish. In fact, if we do what our hearts tell us to do, we will pervert and impoverish every desire, every beauty, every person, every wonder and every joy. Our hearts want to consume these things for our own self-glory and self-indulgence.

No, our hearts will not save us. We need to be saved from our hearts.

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Jon Bloom is the Executive Director for Desiring God Ministries