My heart or His voice?

The other day I stumbled upon this quote:

If there ever was one concept that would never steer you wrong, it would be: “Follow Your Heart” True, at times following your heart may seem reckless and may result in some embarrassing or uncomfortable situations. However, following your heart is not about being comfortable and not about getting approval. It’s about achieving all your dreams and fantasies. It’s about finding and living in your life’s passion. It’s about truly feeling alive and courageous.

Yet the Bible says amongst others :

“The heart is deceitful above all things ,and desperately wicked: who can know it ?” Jeremiah 17:12

“He that trusts in his own heart is a FOOL : but whosoever walks wisely, he shall be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26

“Just follow your heart, follow where your heart leads you, trust your gut.”
It seems almost like common wisdom and it is what we are taught so very often. And in all fairness, I have probably lived most of my life like this.  Some will try to make it more convincing and make the heart the place in your body associated with “love”. And hey, the Golden Rule will probably indicate that love  (and compassion) are worthy pursuits.  Is it not amazing how such a common place wisdom seems to be set aside when you read the Bible.

Yet, it is when we see what Jesus said that things start to fall in place:

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22 NIV

When we are made to believe that we should follow our heart it is from a New Age, Law of Attraction type of perspective that still places us as individuals in the center of the universe.

People who follow their heart’s desire are the most successful. When you follow your heart’s desire, it is not a matter of whether you will have it, it is only a matter of time. You will always have what you want when you follow your heart’s desire. When you follow your true heart’s desires, you will live a life where everything you ever wanted will be available to you, and you will be loving every minute of it as you’re on the path towards them. Your true heart’s desires will also inspire you to take the right action whenever it will serve to bring the fulfillment of your desires….
Our emotions are what activates the law of attraction. Your heart’s desire creates the most powerful emotions that you can experience and therefore has the most emotional and magnetic attracting power, which can overcome any and all obstacles to make it a reality. When your heart’s desire is driving you, nothing or no one is able to stop you.When your heart and mind is set on something, you will never give up. You will do whatever it takes to achieve it.

But that changes dramatically when your heart is focused on something else: on God. Yet in all fairness, very often our hearts (my heart) are not focused on God, on the Godly but on the very carnal, hence the warning. I find myself often wondering and waiting as a result: Is this what I want for God or what God wants for me and if all fails, is it actually what I want for me. I guess more than once it is the last but not least. Things started to change when I got a grasp of
Psalm 37: 4:

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

As I delight myself in the Lord, He give me His desires. He creates and places within my  heart new and holy desires. And with that  I begin to delight in the things that He delights in. I start to want what He wants. Following him becomes a joy. Some will say effortless, but for me it is more than once a harsh reality check. I try to set of my heart against His voice. And in all fairness they often do not match, but hey I am a new and learning Christian as if this really makes a difference.  But God has His own word on it:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6

I guess for me the most important message in this proverb is to let Him direct my paths. More than once His paths do not make immediate sense to me. But then again those occasions where I  managed to get of get of my high horse I have found that He knows better. It is too easy almost to ignore that gentle voice  directing you in directions you actually do not want to go. But as said time and time He appears to be the better lead to follow.  It is in that realization, that following your heart is dangerous – unless your heart and God’s  heart are aligned perfectly – that I (you will) find myself (yourself) staying on course for the better. It is when my hearts desires are no longer mine but God’s desires for me pressed upon my heart, and me (trying hard to be) being ready to follow up on that that things work out for the better.

So what are you going to follow? Your own heart or His voice?

Weaned from arrogance: Psalm 131

I love reading the Psalms, and the other day I was particularly captivated by Psalm 131, the depth of its humble simplicity and the actual challenge it poses for us in modern day life, for my life in any event. 

Psalm 131

A song of ascents. Of David.

1 My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.

As a father I remember well how babies cry. Upon that cry it is comforted by giving it the breast or a bottle, a change of diaper, or just by being held close.

What attracted me so much about this Psalm I guess is the spiritual change that has taken place within David. What you quickly learn as a parent is that a  weaned child leaves the initiative with the parents. It stops crying and is at peace in the knowledge or trust that it will be fed at the right time again. David became weaned like a child with its mother, calm and content, at peace.

As a result, he is no longer concerned with matters too “wonderful” or as other translations read ” too great” for him. I understand that as being occupied with matters that are actually not his concern at all, to big to take care of by himself or that are out of his hands.

We too could consider, and I am, that perhaps we should allow God to wean us from our natural arrogance that leads us to think that we are in control, that leads us to look for answers to problems that are not ours to solve, that leads us to think that we can take care of everything on our own strength. It is in this leaving the initiative with God, actually becoming childlike again (loving, dependent, and trusting, open to the world and new learning and understanding) that I found myself opened up to actually receive and learn beyond what I could ever have done myself with my needs taken care of and in a state of peace and calmness I had not known before. That is, come to think of it quite something considering the challenging circumstances here in Christchurch, New Zealand (another 5.5 aftershock the other day).

In the Lord’s prayer we ask God to give us our daily bread and that is what it comes down to I guess. Instead of trying on our own strength for more and more (our wants instead of needs), let God take care of or needs. I sounds simple and straightforward but I have found it to be one of the greatest challenges ever.
We we live in a society and world that makes us believe that we are in the center of the universe, that we are in control and that through our own efforts we can take care of our own needs, that we are in fact little gods. Such a frame of mind will result eventually in pride and arrogance making us believe that we have the answer to anything, can solve anything and need none other than ourselves to take care of our needs and wants. In fact we are made to believe that we can be our own idols that if we follow the path of the next self-help guru, we can be little gods ourselves. I know because I have been there and my journey to Christianity (back home) is filled with examples of it.

This change (like David) has been part of my journey, of becoming a Christian in the first place and in the past years poses a challenge on a daily basis still. It took me some time to realize that I was working things the wrong way around. It all  is not about my agenda and my purpose for God but the other way around: His agenda and purpose for me, trusting that He probably knows better. From the moment of this realization and my (as good and as bad as I could) acting upon it things started to change and for the better. It is in this humble and dependent approach that I have found the answers to many of the questions I could not find the answer to myself, it is in this state of meekness that I have found myself stronger and most of all at peace in the knowledge that I am being looked after and it is in this state of trust that I have heard and found my calling. I may not have understood it at times, I may not have seen the logic of what was coming but I trusted and things have been changing for the better every day. That does not mean a life without challenges but it did mean being better equipped for and protected against what life is throwing at us, physically and spiritually.

I have not been disappointed and have been looked after better than I could ever have done myself with all my needs taken care of. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you give it an honest try.

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