Christian, Don’t Follow Your Heart

by Cale Fauver May 9, 2018

The Original Instruction

In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1), and all things were created through him and for him (John 1:3; Col. 1:16). The Triune God existed before creation, God spoke and all things were created through and carried out by Jesus Christ. The Spirit gave life where the spoken and carried out command of God was given (Gen. 1:2; John 6:63). So, in Genesis 2 God gives gives the command to work and keep the garden, and that they may eat of any tree in the garden. But the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they are not to eat or they will surely die (Gen. 2:15-17).

Then, in Genesis 3 before sin and evil exist, human beings did not follow the instruction of God but the understanding of their heart. Eve tells the serpent, "God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree [of the knowledge of good and evil] …neither shall you touch it.'" (Gen. 3:3). Eve somehow knew the commands of God, yet she didn't follow his instruction but her own, and the rest is history as Adam fails to keep the garden and allows his wife to be misled. The original instruction of God was poorly heard and followed.

The Irregular Norm

Perhaps now the greatest irregular normative thing to do is to take our own instruction in the midst of a crooked world. One of America's founding fathers, Samuel Adams, said this, "Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason." We do what we feel, and we feel from our reasoning and the desires that we have, that this is right. All human beings became enslaved by their selfish desires, feelings, and reasoning (Titus 3:3). This is not the regular thing to do, it is abnormal to rebel against God. Stars, seas, sparrows, and starfish all obey God's word to be fruitful and multiply; to shine bright, to fly, and to creep amongst the ocean floor. But not man; we have heard the instruction of our God but we follow the instruction of ourselves. Oh, how irregular this new norm is. It is the norm. It is natural.

It is spewed from pulpits, from self-help gurus, and from the most influential instructors we know – ourselves. This is an irregular behavior for creatures to rebel and follow the intentions of self than the Word, the instructor of the universe. And as Samuel Adams attempted to diagnose, even our reasoning is darkened. We reason from ourselves, from darkness.

We followed our hearts, we reasoned from darkness, and we do not take the instruction of an infinitely wise God.

The Instructor Instructed

In the incarnation, God becomes man in the person of Jesus Christ. He, who instructs the stars and the seas, comes under the instruction of his parents. The God of the universe who sits over and above all rules and people sat under those who raised him. This God, the instructor of all that is, came to take instruction not from his perfect heart, reasoning, or desires – but to do that of his Father's (John 6:38). It was truly the normal, regular thing for him to do, like eating (John 4:34). Jesus demonstrates that we are designed to hear the word of God and do it (Luke 11:28).  True happiness is obedience to the word of God and our dependency on it (Psalm 1). He praised God for the instruction that he received from his Father (Psalm 16:7) though he himself was and is the Wonderful Counselor.

And on the cross of Calvary, Jesus took and followed the written word of God as instruction for him to be betrayed, beaten, and taken to the cross for the joy of obedience that the Father set before him (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus was pure in heart but did not follow his heart. He was led by the Spirit and by what was written of him to do (Matt. 4:1; 26:24, 54-56).

Don't Follow Your Heart, Follow Christ

Our desires, reasoning, and feelings are not trustworthy. Therefore, follow Christ. Trust the Father's heart. Be instructed by the Word. Follow the will of the Spirit and his will to form you into the Son (Rom. 8:29).

Jesus Christ has borne the wrath that was reserved for you, Christian. You followed your heart, he followed the Father's will. He absorbed wrath for your ways, you are granted life for his. The same word that instructed the Son, instructs you. In Christ, we are given a new heart that delights in being led by God (Ezekiel 36:26-27) that God has enlightened to do so. This is the new norm for the Christian. This new, irregular desire is to love and treasure Christ and his ways. The original instruction, and the Instructor, is our joy.

Christian, don't follow your heart. From it flow so many sinful things (Mark 7:21). Deny your original, natural desires, take up your cross of death to self and obedience to God, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). To die is gain because Christ is far better than us, our desires, and our reasoning.