“Listen to your heart”, “there’s an answer in your heart”, and “what does your heart say?” Books are written, songs are sung, and the beat goes on and on: the cry of the world is to look inside for all your answers. But God has given us the revelation of Himself to guide us, because, as this verse points out, our heart can deceive us. We may “feel” that our heart is right; but we are not to judge our heart, our actions, our experiences, or our motives, based on our feelings. God is the one who, through the Word primarily, determines the state of our heart. Too often we go with our intuitions without truly testing our thoughts by the Word of God.
The presumption is that if we have our eyes “on the Lord”, that all our thoughts and feelings will be “right”. Often this idea is used to propagate the belief that if we ask God for a move of the Holy Spirit in our life that whatever happens is of God. People will then use verses such as Luke 11:13 to justify behavior that is contrary to biblical teaching. This is wrong. While it is true that if we ask for something from God that He is not going to give us a counterfeit, that does not mean that He is going to give us what we ask for at all. He may have done nothing, and we may be acting out of our carnal nature. He may have done nothing, but the Devil and his minions are right there to give us what we want: a feeling, and emotion, an experience.
Certainly we need faith that God will lead us, but not a presumption that our own feelings are God’s will, even when we have good intentions, and they seem right. We must remember that we still have a sin nature, we are not perfected yet, and we must test, not trust, our intuitions.
We hear a lot of talk about walking by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), and walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), but too often these are taken to mean walking according to our irrational (but we believe supra-rational) intuitions. It is as if we believe our feelings were some kind of force through which we ascend to a higher plane of spirituality. Faithfulness is dependence, but not simply a feeling of dependence. In Christian circles, just as in the secular world, people always seem to want to be “in a groove” or going with the flow. However, as believers you are not supposed to relax your mind and just go with it, that’s hippie talk. Charles Hodge once said, “Faith is not a form of feeling”. Think about that.
Let us call upon the Lord to reveal to us our hearts first – Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24). Before we blindly accept something, or some manifestation, as God given. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 16:25) (See also 2 Corinthians 11:14).
The world tells you to follow your heart, but Jesus tells you to follow Him (Mark 2:14).