(Don’t) Follow Your Heart!

Read: Jeremiah 17:5-10

Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. (v. 9)

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. (v. 7 NIV)

In 1862 in a letter to a friend, Emily Dickinson wrote, “The Heart wants what it wants.” However, I have found that in my life, doing whatever I want to do has not usually lead to joy. The heart does not always want what is best.

Jeremiah chronicled God’s struggle for the hearts of his people. The Israelites spent centuries following their hearts. Their hearts led them to abandon God and his ways. Through Jeremiah, God said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (v. 9). God knows what our hearts were made to desire: himself. He knows that when our hearts stray from him, they settle for substitutes. These substitutes not only fail to satisfy. They fatally sicken us.

In Jeremiah, God saved his people by separating them from their substitute desires. In the exile, he recalibrated his people’s hearts by removing every distraction. They were left with their hearts’ true desire. God’s desire was to bless his people with his presence and provision. Jeremiah testified, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (v. 7 NIV). Our Lord desires to bless us too. When we follow our own hearts, we are unsatisfied. When we follow God’s Spirit, he leads us back to his heart. As Augustine famously put it, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you” (Confessions 1.1.1). —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, ask God to bless you and lead you back to his heart.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.

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