Listen to your heart… or not?
We often hear the phrase “listen to your heart” or “trust what’s inside” as a safe indicator for the truth. While that might have worked at a moment or two, in your own experience, is that really the best source to determine truth? The Bible tells us that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). And the Lord warns us not to trust our hearts but rather trust in His Word for showing us the right path. We must align our will with that of God’s and not confuse what we want as being God’s will.
The sinful nature of man
Humans inherited a sinful nature from Adam. The sin of Adam resulted in his posterity’s becoming erring (Romans 5:12). For this reason, man has an unregenerate nature (Job 15:14; Romans 7:14–20; Ephesians 2:3). Naturally, man will choose wickedness and evil (Ecclesiastes 9:3). For this, he is represented by barren land in the desert of sin (Jeremiah 17:6) rather than a fruitful “tree planted by the waters” of life (v. 8).
Man can’t save himself
On his own, man has no ability to heal his own wicked heart. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23 also 30:12, 13; Matthew 9:12). The universal lack of spiritual understanding is due to the perversion of the mind because of sin (Romans 1:31). The things of God have become foolishness to the sinful man (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 4:18).
Therefore, it is futile for humans to attempt to overcome evil without God’s help (Romans 3:9–12; 7:22–8:4; 1 John 1:8–2:2). “The carnal mind … is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Thus, it is impossible for man in his own power to run away from the power of evil and bring forth fruits of holiness.
Victory over sin through God
Christ is the source of all power, wisdom and godliness (1 Corinthians 15:57). All that is needed to be done to overcome sin could be done through His strength because He won the battle over sin (John 16:33). When God’s commandments are faithfully obeyed, the Lord becomes responsible for the success of the work taken on by the believer (Romans 8:37). In Christ, there is power to fulfill duty, strength to resist temptation, stamina to endure trials, and patience to suffer without murmur. Therefore, the believer can proclaim, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Daily relationship with Christ
A constant abiding in a living connection with Christ is vital for spiritual growth. Occasional attention to religious matters is not enough. Jesus said, “abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4). To abide in Christ means that the believer must be in daily relationship with Him through reading His Word and prayer. And He must live His life (Galatians 2:20).
The Word of God is the truth
The Bible sets the standard for truth: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Isaiah here, points people to the Scriptures as the guideline for truth and godly living. God has revealed Himself in His Word. Whatever men’s heart may say that is not in harmony with the Word, then there is “no light” in them (Isaiah 50:10, 11). In that case, you don’t want to listen to your heart. David affirmed, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
In His service,