“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds. As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, so is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly; in the midst of his days it will forsake him, and in the end he will be a fool.”—–Jeremiah 17:9-11
You’ve heard the phrase, “follow your heart”, but is that something we should really be doing?? With so much talk about experience, feelings, and emotions these days, you don’t have to go long without someone telling you to go with what your “gut” is telling you. Truth then is subjective and lies within each individual.
The problem with this type of thinking is that our thoughts and feelings can change as fast as the weather and there is no way to determine by themselves if what we believe and what we do is right or wrong. Many times we are blinded by our own selfish desires and how we can get the best result for ourselves. Even if we happen to be motivated by looking out for others, who is to say what we believe and doing is still right??
By weighing our thoughts, feelings, motivations, and even our “gut instincts” cannot be enough. All of these may be very different than the guy next to me. So the end result may mean good in the heart and mind of one person, but harm and sin to another.
The central argument is based upon the misconception that people are “basically good”, that we can follow our hearts, and that there is no such thing as absolute Truth. As long as you aren’t “hurting” people, then who is to say or judge whether our thoughts, feelings, or actions are right or wrong?? But even by justifying that opinion, a judgment has been made that truth is within each of us to decide right from wrong. So really truth is based upon the individual and no one else can decide if what someone believes or does is good or bad, right or wrong.
As the world continues to embrace these lies of trusting our hearts to guide us, this belief is also taking deeper root in churches. Where doctrine used to hold great importance, many now see doctrine as too divisive and even arrogant to think we can truly know God and what it really means to live as a “Christian”. Interpretation of Scripture must remain fluid so that we can simply “dialogue” about “spiritual” things, but is much too dogmatic to seek or believe in absolute Truth.
Many in the Emerging/Emergent Church Movement can’t stand the idea of absolute Truth. Most can’t even handle being labeled as Emerging/Emergent. So when it comes to the person of Jesus, they have very conflicting ideas about Him; was He simply a teacher among many others, was He simply a good humanitarian, was He just showing how to “make the world a better place, or a plethora of other opinions.
For a while it seemed that the Emerging/Emergent Church Movement was the most prominent voice claiming to be “Christian” in opposition to absolute Truth, but it can now be found across almost every part of “christianity”. So much so, even many former conservative pastors and leaders are showing signs of compromise and inclusiveness with those preaching a false gospel. Those that used to be on the fringe are now being assimilated more and more into the mainstream of Christianity.
Some other areas we see this mentality infiltrating churches is in the over-emphasis and hyper-spiritual focus on worship, prayer, and spiritual gifts, among others. All these have been a means of focusing on subjective experience in the guise of a deeper understanding and “relationship” with God, but end up replacing our objective understanding and relationship with God found in the Bible alone. No wonder many across the spectrum of christianity have no problem embracing unbiblical beliefs and practices because people have let their hearts and feelings dictate what they believe about God rather than His Word.
In the verses of Jeremiah 17 quoted above, we must realize that our hearts are deceitful. Not just kinda deceitful, but more deceitful “than all else”. We cannot trust our hearts to lead and guide us because our hearts will always lead us astray. We must instead return to the love of God’s Word and purposefully be seeking to apply all His Word to our lives.
It is not good enough just to talk about the Bible, but realize that it is through Jesus and Jesus alone that holds absolute Truth. This is offensive to most because it demands that we repent of all our sin and walk according to God’s Way; not simply follow our own hearts. We must not make exception when it comes to everything that God has clearly said in the Bible. Sure we can ask questions to help understand what the Bible means and how we apply the Truth to our lives, but we can’t just pick-and-choose or redefine God’s Word to whatever we want. If we do, then we really aren’t submitting to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but have in turn created a pseudo-jesus in our own image.
The only way to know for certain that what we believe and what we do is right is if we are willing to spend time reading, studying, and applying all of God’s Word. With so much deception racing through the world and churches, it is easy to fall into Satan’s schemes and get swept away in false teaching that has the appearance of godliness. Many may seem to have good intentions and look like they are following “jesus”, but are really only repackaging faith according to their own desires and what gains the most followers. However, we can’t place our trust in flawed man, ourselves or any other, but must passionately and intentionally stand for the Truth found in God’s Word.