It’s advice we’ve all heard before.

You have to make a tough decision and go to friends for advice, and inevitably someone tells you something like “trust yourself,” “go with your gut” or, the one that pains me the most, “just follow your heart.”

The phrases vary, but the advice is the same. In moments of confusion, we encourage one another to just do whatever we really want to do.

The origin of the phrase “follow your heart” is unclear, but there is an overwhelming cultural sense that this is the thing we are to do when faced with difficult decisions. It is seemingly harmless and encouraging, but what is actually being communicated when this advice is given?

At the heart of every cliché there lies an assumption. Phrases move to become clichés when we use a phrase to the point of exhaustion. It doesn’t mean anything anymore.

We like to hear advice that sounds familiar because we think we can achieve it, but the reality is we don’t really know what these things even mean, or the action steps we are to take after hearing the advice. The vague nature of clichés helps us get out from under difficult truth that we actually need to obey, not just hear.

When someone tells us to “follow our heart,” it’s really not advice, but a vague encouragement to do whatever it is we wanted to do in the first place.

“Follow your heart” had very little weight for me until I recently re-read the prophet Jeremiah who, quite boldly, says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Earlier he says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man!”

These are big, bold statements that say some very plain things about these hearts of ours that we are being told to follow. The Bible has a very different opinion on our hearts. They are not our trusty guides, but a dishonest witnesses as to what life is actually all about.

The assumption behind most advice given is that we generally know what we are doing, that we have all of the resources within ourselves to understand what we must do in order to have a good life. But the problem is we don’t; that’s why we’re asking for advice in the first place.

So, after all of this asking and advice giving, we realize that our cultural encouragement to follow our heart really just puts us back to the place we started: lost.

Amidst our confusion, God might be (if He’s lucky) just one of many consultants we ask when seeking answers for how to live. The problem is, most of God’s wisdom only works when applied completely and not just in part.

“Guard your heart above all else,” says Solomon, “for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23). God’s idea for your life is not that you would follow your heart, but that you would guard it.

Beware of letting your heart go, of following it wherever it might lead. All of us live from the place of the heart; it is where our understanding of the world sits.

The Bible tells a different story: We are not to be trusted, not even with ourselves. Joining the life of Jesus is not about being affirmed of every decision you make, but to be corrected in all of your ways, including your motives. New questions are asked, fresh and loving authority is in play—this is what it means to repent. God is our guide, our shepherd we follow at all cost, and we surrender this heart we want to follow to Him.

In our following of Jesus and out of our love for Him, that seat of understanding called, “the heart,” actually begins to change. Fresh desires come when we begin to love our Master, Jesus (Psalm 37:4). The truth about us that doesn’t change is this: We all do what we want. But what if what we wanted to do began to change? What if we began to want to do the same things God wanted us to do?

The only way to be convinced of the better ways of God is to begin to follow Him, to take His wisdom, His yoke of teaching. Let’s start with aggressively holding our hearts back when they want to be our guide. Jesus is our master, not our hearts.

When you are swooned by that boy, desperate for that career or captivated by that new Apple product, try and remember the device that is directing you from place to place might actually be broken. Be discerning: is this your heart or the Spirit of God?

Surrendering our life over to God begins with our hearts. We will never fully change until we say “no” to our heart’s leading and yes to that of our new, gentler master, Jesus Christ.

  1. This is biggest load of bull I’ve read recently. God has poured out His Spirit on all flesh. He has taken out our heart of stone and made it a heart of flesh! He has made all things NEW! When creating you God said “it is very good” Our hearts can definitely lead us astray if that is your goal but not the honest yearning of someone wondering which direction to take.

    I can’t believe how this is still being promoted as good theology.

    If this is true, the more we dive into community and vulnerability the more untrustworthy we should find everyone to be. This is the exact opposite of my experience of people sharing their heart with me and in community. If this is true, why even try?

    Also, if this is true we could never ever trust ourselves whatsoever. What will that lead to? Self-doubt, depression, neurosis, never accepting the acceptance of God.
    I wonder if this “relevant” avenue is just a clever way to repackage Calvinism…
    I guess you can say I am a disenfranchised former evangelical small (c) catholic Christian. So I may not even understand fully where the author of the article is coming from. No offense intended.
    If you want to understand why my dander got riled up check out my blog.

  2. Thank you freemercifultemple for bringing me back my husband into my life. we were together for more than 8 years and we were always happy with our relationship, i love him so much and also he love me.later he stated to act in a different way he stop calling me and also he told me that he do not love me again. i almost got mad i was frustrate and also sick for more than a month, i decided to contact a spell caster, i was never a fan of the spell casting i just want to try it due to the frustration i was passing through that moment. i contacted freemercifultemple for the return of my husband,they told me that he was with another woman and that she casted a spell on him. then he told me that they have to cast a spell of return back of love on him, they did the spell casting on him.and after 6 days he called me on phone, to forgive him that he still love me and that he did not know what happen to him that he have to leave me, it was the spell i casted on him that brought him back to me again. thank you freemercifultemple for bringing him back to me again.i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of over problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact and you will see
    that your problem will be solved without any delay.

  3. I never believed in love spells or magic until I met this spell caster once when i went to see my friend in Indian this year on a business summit. I meant a man who’s name is Dr ATILA he is really powerful and could help cast spells to bring back one’s gone, lost, misbehaving lover and magic money spell or spell for a good job or luck spell .I’m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is

  4. My husband has abandon me and the kids for the the past 8months now, and refuse to come back because he was hold on by a woman whom he just met, for that, my self and the kids has been suffering and it has been heel of a struggle, but I decide to do all means to make sure that my family come together as it use to, then I went online there I saw so many good talk about this spell caster whose email is so I had to contact him and explain my problem to him and in just 3days as he has promised, my husband came home and his behavior was back to the man i got married to. I cant thank the spell caster enough for what he did for me, i am so grateful and i will never stop to publish his name on the internet for the good work he has done for me,once again his email is

  5. Am giving this testimony because someone out there may have similar problem My Husband doesn’t think polygamy is wrong. He has been seeing another girl for about four months now. I told him that he needs to stop, but he says he is in love with her. They’ve talked about being together “forever” and eventually her moving in with us. My husband still loves me. He regrets getting into this in the first place, but is not willing to just break up with her. He says if they so break up then thy will be it and he will not pursue another relationship. I contacted Dr. Zaco a spell caster who cast a 24 hour spell for me surprisingly my husband came home on his knees begging me to forgive him that he has broke up with his mistress all thanks to Dr.Zaco I pray that God will continue to use you to help people. Friends don’t die in silent because someone like Dr.Zaco has a solution to your problem is living happily with my family. Contact him via

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