Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Which Way is North?

I have heard the phrase a lot lately, "Follow your heart." I have heard this from well-meaning Christians even when exhorting friends about decisions they have made or are making.

When looking for direction on what to do in a situation or the way to go in life, I have to wonder if my heart is really the right compass to be using for getting a "due North."

Jeremiah 17:9 makes it pretty clear: "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?"

I can even look to my own life and times of "following my heart" when my heart actually led me far astray of what was best for me. As follwers of Christ, it is He to whom we should look for guidance and direction, not our hearts. Our hearts are too easily drawn into the patterns of the world or the flesh to be fully trusted to give us the correct answers in life. This is why we are to give our hearts over completely to Christ to be transformed and renewed. This is life-long process of sanctification and not something you ever really arrive at. My heart is less deceitful and sick than it was a year ago, but still more deceitful and sick (hopefully) than it will be a year from now.

Even when I seek the Lord for my decisions, I enter into that process soberly. My heart can even deceive me into thinking that its voice IS the Lord. It is so important as followers of the Way that we have scriptural foundation for our decisions, and that we seek the wise advice of those who are further down the road than we are before doing what we do in addition to seeking the Lord alone. I see far too many of us either blindly following our own wicked hearts or even being encouraged by friends who are just as blind about the way we should be heading in life. How can the blind lead the blind into anything but pits and traps?

I particularly like that the passage in Jeremiah 17 is preceeded by this:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,Which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes;But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought,Nor will cease from yielding fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8



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