WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 21, 2020
TOPIC: WHY YOU SHOULD NOT FOLLOW YOUR HEART
BY T. O. BANSO
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26 New King James Version).
One of the wrong counsels many people, including the youths, have received is to follow their hearts. This is considered one of the secrets to success in life.
This counsel is based on wrong assumptions. First, that the heart of everyone is right. Secondly, that it is always full of good, and, therefore, it is capable of giving anyone direction. This is not so. Some people have messed up their lives because they followed their hearts.
In Genesis 6:5, the Bible says the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Ecclesiastes 9:3b says truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; and that madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that, they go to the dead. This is the unregenerate heart.
Why should anyone be told to follow this type of heart? He will be deceived by his heart, which is full of evil, to do wickedness. Jeremiah 17:9a says the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.
Thus, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26 New King James Version). The Basic English Bible puts it this way: “He whose faith is in himself is foolish; but everyone walking wisely will be kept safe.”
The Bible does not expressly say that believers in Jesus Christ should follow their hearts. Although they are born again, their hearts are not always right or reliable. If they follow their hearts, what becomes of the Lord Jesus, their Leader? What becomes of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God? Romans 8:14 says as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
The hearts of the children of God can sometimes be wrong but the LORD is always right. Their hearts can sometimes sin, but the LORD is ever holy and perfect.
1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are false to ourselves and there is nothing true in us. If we say openly that we have done wrong, he is upright and true to his word, giving us forgiveness of sins and making us clean from all evil. If we say that we have no sin, we make him false and his word is not in us” (Bible in Basic English).
Jesus says, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23 New King James Version).
Many non-believers have gone astray because they followed their hearts. Because the King of kings is not allowed in their lives, everyone is doing what is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6; 21:25). Some of them keep changing their directions or pursuits, creating instability in their lives because they are following their hearts. They’re now in a state of confusion.
Some don’t even know who they are and what they want to do with their lives. They should have followed Jesus Christ rather than follow their hearts. They should have followed the Word of God instead of following their hearts.
The heart of a sinner or a non-believer tends towards evil. Therefore, it would be wrong to counsel him to follow his heart. Unfortunately, that’s what many people have done; their sinful hearts have led them to pursue evil causes. We find them in different life endeavours, engaging in sinful practices, which promote the kingdom of Satan. But they are following their hearts!
It is after such people have an encounter with Jesus Christ and they surrender their lives to Him that they would realize that their hearts have been deceiving them. By then, they would have wasted some years and fractured their lives. They would also have led some people astray, who saw them as their role models. Such examples abound today in the entertainment world.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). Sinners who follow their hearts, believing that their pursuits are right, have been deceived by Satan. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them.
A sinner should not be told to follow his heart. His heart is not right before God; it’s under the control of Satan. What he needs is a new heart. God said, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 New King James Version).
Paul was following his heart as a persecutor of the church, but he was wrong because his heart had not been taken over by the LORD. He was deceived to think that he was doing the right thing until God encountered him on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9). He said he was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man but he obtained mercy because he did it ignorantly in unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13).
Paul was following his heart when he was zealously persecuting the church. He thought he was being zealous for God when he persecuted the church. That’s how someone can be deceived by his heart until he comes in contact with and knows the truth that will make him free (John 8:32). Paul actually thought he was serving the LORD. Many people following their hearts today are serving Satan!
Hear Paul: “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished” (Acts 22:3-5 New King James Version).
Follow Jesus, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit. Don’t follow your heart because your heart could be wrong except it is dominated and controlled by the Word of God. When Jonathan asked his armourbearer to go with him to the garrison of the Philistines, he told him to do all that which was in his heart (1 Samuel 14:6-7). But Jonathan had depended on the LORD to embark on that mission before talking to his armourbearer.
Jonathan said, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6 New King James Version).
The LORD can put something in your heart, but don’t put your trust in your heart. Put your trust in the LORD. Fill your heart with the Word of God. The Bible says the words of the Lord are true words: like silver tested by fire and burned clean seven times (Psalm 12:6).
The Word of God is settled forever in heaven. His Word is firmly fixed in the heavens. It endures forever. (Psalm 119:89). Don’t follow your heart if it’s not controlled by the Word of God. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11 New King James Version).
Follow Jesus. Follow the Holy Spirit. Jesus says about the Holy Spirit that when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth (John 16:13a).
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7 New King James Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Jesus, You’re my Leader; I will follow You. Holy Spirit, be my guide; let me not go astray. I shall follow the Word of God; I won’t do what seems right in my own eyes. Father, help me to keep Your Word in my heart so that I will not sin against you.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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