We live in the age of dream-seekers. Of heart-followers. We’re told that in order to be happy in life, we must follow our hearts and chase after our dreams. Then, and only then, will our lives truly have meaning.
Follow your heart?
“Follow your heart.” It’s Disney’s mantra. Nearly every princess ends up with a dashing prince because she was listening to her heart. She found that fulfillment came from being true to herself.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if it worked out that way? If we listened to our hearts, and ended up with a fairy-tale ending?
But there’s a just one flaw.
Our hearts are depraved and capable of unspeakable deeds.
I know this might sound extreme, but I’d like to invite you to examine your heart. How many times have you been envious of someone? Thought unkind words to another person? Lusted after someone?
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Like it or not, our hearts are not trustworthy. In a perfect world, we could follow our hearts, and it would be great. But ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, our hearts have been corrupted. We don’t desire what is good. We don’t desire what is pure. Instead, we pursue the desires of the flesh, which don’t satisfy.
Love is more than a feeling
I am a musical theater nerd. I absolutely adore Broadway. In Disney’s new Broadway version of the musical Frozen, there is a song called, “What Do You Know About Love?” It’s a scene where princess Anna tells mountain-man Kristoff about her engagement to a man she just met. She admits that she just felt like he was “the one”, and she knew she couldn’t be wrong. I absolutely love Kristoff’s response.
“Love’s not an easy climb
You have to take your time!
Love’s not a thing you get
It’s work and tears and sweat.”
Kristoff can see that Anna’s heart is leading her astray. Her gut feeling, no matter how real it feels, is flawed. As the story continues, we find out that Anna’s fiancé is actually a con-man and just trying to use her. In the end, it’s Kristoff who proves to be the man for Anna through his sacrifice.
Anna felt like she knew who she loved because of her heart. The feelings. The butterflies. But in the end, it was the sacrificial love that prevailed. It went against Anna’s initial feelings, but it was what lasted.
Our hearts will lead us astray
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Sometimes, we don’t like God’s ways. But we have just a glimpse into what God sees. He is so much more than we could possibly comprehend. His vision is unlimited. His wisdom is unlimited. But our vision is limited. Our wisdom is limited. He is the Potter, and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). Why is it that we struggle to trust Him? Why is it that we look to ourselves and try to take control of our own “destiny”?
Author Jon Bloom wrote a book called Don’t Follow Your Heart. It’s a must-read! What he has to say about our hearts is very profound.
Our hearts were never designed to be followed, but to be led. Our hearts were never designed to be gods in whom we believe; they were designed to believe in God. If we make our hearts gods and ask them to lead us, they will lead us to narcissistic misery and ultimately damnation. They cannot save us because what’s wrong with our hearts is the heart of our problem. But if our hearts believe in God, as they are designed to, then God saves us and leads us to exceeding joy.
Even though we live in a vastly post-religious culture, don’t think that we’re free from the worship of idols. In the narcissistic nation of America, we don’t worship gods made from our own hands. No, instead we worship ourselves. We want to be gods. We want the control. We want to lead ourselves. But we look to the very thing that leads us astray. Our heart is the issue, but our culture tells us to follow it.
We were meant for so much more. We were created for something bigger than ourselves. We were created with a void within our souls that only Jesus is able to fill. No wonder there’s so much brokenness in the world ‒ it’s because we have looked to our own hearts to fulfill our desires. But we crave something outside ourselves.
Jesus alone is the One who can lead us to fulfillment and joy. In Him we find satisfaction. He took upon himself the sin and shame that plagues our hearts so that we can be made pure. When we let Jesus lead us and shepherd our hearts, only then will we find the joy and peace that we so crave.
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 15:9-11).
Through out the month, we are going to open the chapters of our favorite childhood fairy tales to uncover the biblical realities behind our wildest fantasies. Follow along for the series: Fantasies & Fairy tales!