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DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: Follow your heart?

Reality check: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9).

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Pastor Andy Spurlin (photo submitted July 1, 2021)
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To “follow your heart” is our culture’s overarching perception of “the good life.” It seems like a simple and liberating way to true happiness, but it's anything but.

Our hearts have a disease that requires God's remedy: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Jesus lists symptoms of this disease: “It is … out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:20-23).

The truth is, no one lies to us more than our own hearts. Our hearts are faulty compasses that don’t point us to the truth; they just tell us what we want.

To “follow your heart” is a worldview that trusts each individual to know what will make them happy and what will be in their own best interests. But that trust is misplaced. An evil heart is an untrustworthy guide in the search for a good life.

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“There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

We’re to follow God’s heart! Happiness and meaning aren’t goals achieved by pursuing them. They’re only achieved by pursuing God, who grants us happiness as a byproduct of our relationship with Him and a life rightly lived.

Freedom is doing what you love to do, if you love to do what you ought to do. We are free to love as God loved, but there is no such thing as free love. Love is never cheap. It’s always costly. That is why many reserve love unashamedly for themselves. Love can be Christless where all we do is take.

Our hearts are always full of desires. We won’t discover lasting liberty by indulging in whatever we want, but by letting God transform our desires. “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

“If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me” (Matthew 10:39).

Jesus warns His followers: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, …but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20).

Jesus then added: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v. 21).

“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:33).

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Pastor Andy Spurlin serves at Restoration Christian Church in Park Rapids. References to Matthew 10:39 and 6:33 are taken from “The Message” translation.

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Pastor Andy Spurlin serves at Restoration Christian Church in Park Rapids.
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