The Heart

“Just follow your heart,” a friend told me while thinking about what to get. It was a big purchase. A lot of my life has been leading up to the moment. I thought to myself, “well, do I should I do? Pinto or black? Chicken or Carne Asada? Well, of course the guac is extra. We all know that.” After some deliberation waiting in line I ordered my usual. It was a victorious moment really. My heart did not let me down, and I ate
Chipotle for the last time with my college roommates. Turns out, following my heart was a good thing after all.

Or, so I thought. This year I’m reading the Bible cover to cover in about 120 days. Two weeks ago I read this haunting passage. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Welp, that dashed my “follow your heart” bit to smithereens. Why though? Why is it so wrong to follow our hearts? It has us order chipotle, or at times find love. Sometimes start a new sport. What’s so wrong with it?

I believe it’s this: our hearts don’t give us the answer we need. More than not, they lead us down a path further from God as opposed to closer. This week we are going to consider the discipline of looking within our hearts to grow more like Jesus. There is a problem though, Jesus teaches us our hearts can’t be trusted. Actually, it is worse, it will actively lie to us to get what it wants. So looking in our hearts is to find something, that many of us may find uncomfortable. It is our sin. Sin can be defined a number of ways, but I loved this definition. Sin is living outside of God’s design for life, either intentionally or unintentionally. When we look into our hearts and really consider them, we see ourselves as people who are in desperate needing of a savior.

Now, to clarify, this does not mean we have no good in us. It doesn’t mean that God has not created your personality and he loves you deeply for it. What it does mean is at the end of it all, our hearts will always lead us down the wrong path. That’s why we need Jesus, and that’s why we need to follow him above our hearts. Here’s how I would apply this: when making any decision think, how would Jesus make this decision or in what ways would he make it? If you can start there God will see the rest through. Happy heart hunting my friends! – Jack Hein

Journal Guide: Answer these questions alone in your journal. They will help you process what God might be trying to tell you.
1. What do you think about the phrase, “follow your heart?” Is it helpful or destructive?
2. Can you think of a time following your heart was helpful? How about unhelpful? Write it down.
3. In looking at your own heart, in what ways do you see it being sinful? (Think more in terms of your beliefs and motivations, instead of just your actions)
4. Jesus believes, our hearts are deceitful. What would you tell Jesus about your heart today?
5. Take some time to write a prayer to God.

Conversation Guide: Ask these questions to your siblings or your mom or your dad. We think around the dinner table or right afterwards is the best time.
1. How is everyone’s heart today? Is there anything we can do to make it feel better?
2. The devotional today was about Jeremiah 17:9, it says, ““The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” What do we think about that? Do we agree or disagree?
3. Everyone think of a time, where they followed their heart. How did it go? Was it good or did it end up bad?

Prayer: Read Luke 6:43-45 and read this prayer quietly to God.
Dear God, my heart doesn’t love you like I want it to. Please give me new heart. One capable of loving and following you the way you. I love you so much. Amen.