“The human heart would rather hear lies that bring comfort than truths that bring conviction and cleansing.” Warren Wiersbe, Be Reverent: Bowing Before an Awesome God (Ezekiel commentary)
As I read these words in my study of Ezekiel, the truth and profoundness of this statement hit me like a wave. I keep returning to it, reading it over and over again. How many times have I chosen a lie of comfort over the truth that would lead me to confession and repentance?
A lie like, “You can’t find a church that you like, so it’s okay not to go.”
Or, “It’s not that big of a deal to (fill in the blank), you could be doing much worse.”
And what about, “I don’t have time to (read my bible, pray, serve others).”
Lies of comfort, things I want to hear because it’s easier or more convenient; my heart can be an awful navigator if it is not centered on the Lord.
If you know me at all, you know I have a tender heart that I wear on my sleeve. Reflecting on my own heart and my tendency to rely on it heavily, I finally realize how dangerous this unstable ground can be if I depend on my heart alone.
First of all, what do we mean when we refer to the “heart”?
- Source of joy
Expressions about the heart also came to mind so I found a site with a list: Heart Idioms and expressions
- Follow your heart. (Do what you believe is right.)
- Be half-hearted about something. (Not do or take something completely seriously.)
- Have a heart-to-heart talk. (Have an open and honest discussion with someone.)
- Have your heart in the right place. (To mean well, have the right intentions.)
- Have your heart set on something or set against something. (Absolutely want something or absolutely NOT want something.)
- Take heart. (Have courage.)
- Pour your heart out. (Confess or confide in someone.)
- Have a heart of gold. (Be very trustworthy and well-meaning.)
Since I have been a “heart-led” person my whole life, I thought it best to direct myself to the Word and see exactly what God has to say about the human heart. If my heart is aligned with God’s heart, then what a powerful tool it can be. It’s when I trust my emotions, desires, or efforts instead of the Holy Spirit when I can get myself into trouble.
If you also need some direction on matters of the heart, I’ve found some do’s and don’ts regarding this fragile, yet mighty gift we have been given.
Know what the Bible says! When trying to determine if something is from God, I check to see if it lines up with His Word. Many times I also check with a spiritually mature Christian friend to confirm.
How do I know when to trust my heart? Just because I feel something does not necessarily make it true. (This has been a lifelong lesson for me!)
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’” -Jeremiah 17:9-10
Ask, “Do my emotions line up with God’s Word and agree with who He says He is?” (examples)
- Emotion: I feel alone.
- Answer: The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. -Deuteronomy 31:8
- Emotion: I feel worthless, stupid, unlovable, etc.
- Answer: “What is the price of five sparrows- two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Luke 12:6-7 NLT
- Emotion: I want this. Is this the right time? Am I pushing for what I want vs. what God wants?
- Answer: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” -Matthew 16:24-26
What should I do with my heart?
- Write God’s Word on your heart (Proverbs 3:3-4)
- Love God with all your heart. (Matthew 22:37)
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart. (Proverbs 3:5)
- Have a cheerful heart. (Proverbs 17:22)
- Be strong and take heart, have courage. (Psalm 31:24)
- Praise you with an upright heart. (Psalm 119:7)
- Go about your day with a joyful heart. (Eccl. 9:7)
- The heart rejoices in salvation. (Psalm 13:5)
- Banish anxiety from your heart. (Eccl. 11:10)
- Give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart. (Psalm 9:1)
- Hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.(Psalm 119:11)
- Rend your heart. (Joel 2:13)
- Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. (Colossians 3:23-24)
- Guard your heart! “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (see examples below how to guard your heart)
Don’t indulge in things that lead your heart away from God. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”- Romans 12:2 NIV
Don’t place anyone above God. Jesus replied, ‘The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’’ -Luke 4:8 NLT
Don’t reveal private or sensitive information to a person you do not fully know or trust. “My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them,for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble.You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly.” – Proverbs 3:21-24
Rely only on your own knowledge. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6
God created us as beings who worship. He designed us to worship Him (it’s when we worship anything besides him that things fall apart). The human heart is intricately fashioned for beauty, generosity, love, devotion, passion, and loyalty. When we let God mold our hearts to His, it can be all of those things. The best way I have found to keep my heart within proper boundaries is to set it on God first. He gets my focus, my praise, my worship before anyone or anything else. When I start with Him and realize just Whose presence I am in, I can’t help but want to open my hands and my heart to Him.
The world calls out, cries out, screams for our attention. It gives us smooth and digestible lies that are easily justified. I want to be a woman who stands for truth, even when it is not popular. It’s okay to follow your heart if it is set on God. But be wary of slick and shiny messages that make you feel good. Seek out the Truth, even when it is uncomfortable. Your heart is a poor and fickle guide if it isn’t aligned with the Creator.
“Oh that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” Deut. 5:29 NKJV