My wife and I have been working our way through the book of Jeremiah lately for our devotional time. I’m not sure why I picked the book of Jeremiah as our first book to go through as a couple, but I did and we are both blessed by it.
It is not an easy book to read through because it seems at times that the people are trying to repent, but our loving and gracious Father will have none of their empty-lip service. They have transgressed, and transgressed, and transgressed against Him and His holiness and He is bringing judgment upon them.
God has every right to bring judgment on His people, and the rest of humanity as well. We can expect Him to do so when we turn from Him and follow our hearts. In fact, that is one of the many sins Jeremiah lists as the reason for God’s judgment: the people were following the dictates of their own evil hearts. Jeremiah writes:
“And you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart so that no one listens to Me” (16:12).
“And they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart” (18:12).
There is one reference to those who turn back to God and the hope we have in doing so. Jeremiah writes:
“At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts” (3:17).
That last statement is being fulfilled in Christ. Those who turn to God in Christ are given the law on their hearts so that they may follow God’s Law as opposed to their own hearts (Jeremiah 31:31ff). This is a work of God’s Spirit and an act of grace. Otherwise we are left to our own inclinations and evil hearts.
The point being, when we follow our own hearts, we are not following Christ and His word. That is the choice we are faced with every day. We can either look to God and His word for our direction, or to our own wicked hearts. It’s a simple choice for those in Christ. That is the beauty of being born again. We are made as new creations so that we can live as the Triune God has dictated, and leave behind the inclinations of our evil hearts.
The next time someone tells you to follow your heart, please tell them, “no thank you. I would rather follow Christ.”