Often times we think we are following God but in reality, we’re following our heart. We make a decision and advise God on our plan, instead of asking God what His plan is and letting Him advise us. It’s not that we have bad intentions or don’t want to follow God, it’s just easy to follow our heart and mistake it as the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Following your heart means basing decisions off of what you feel (i.e. your emotions and/or instincts). Sometimes those decisions are good ideas, but they are not God ideas. They are things we want to do and we have the means to make them happen, but the question is should we? You could date someone who is wonderful, loves you, and God, but they could not be right for you. You may have the opportunity and availability to serve in four ministries, but that doesn’t mean you should. Presently, you might dislike your job or boss, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to quit.
Related Article: Choosing God’s Approval Instead of Man’s Approval [Podcast]
Don’t Follow Your Heart
Following your heart can lead you out of God’s perfect will for your life. Our emotions are fleeting, changing from day to day based on the present situation. They are responses, and though valid, they should not be the sole foundation for our decision making. Why? Because our hearts are a part of our flesh. Our flesh looks only to satisfy us in the short term with no regard for long-term consequences. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be like Him and die to our flesh. Instead of following your heart, submit it to God.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9
God Has a Different Plan
Maybe the reason that wonderful person isn’t your person is that you each have different callings on your lives and they will not complement one another. You could serve in multiple ministries because it’s all for God, but possibly God wants you to focus all of your time in one ministry because that is His plan. Or in the case of that job, it’s feasible that God doesn’t want you to quit your job because He’s developing patience in you, and the ability for your joy to come from Him and not your circumstance. These are just examples, but my point is the only way to know what decision to make is to seek God and ask!
God is the Alpha and the Omega. He knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. Understand that God can see what we can’t and He knows what we don’t. He has a purpose for your life that goes beyond you being comfortable. He desires for you to become like Jesus, by developing the fruit of the spirit and walking in obedience by Faith.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-25
There Is No Condemnation
If you find yourself in the position of following your heart instead of following God, do not feel condemned. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Surrender your heart to Him. You are not called to be perfect, you are called to trust in the one who is – Jesus Christ. You cannot mess up more than He can forgive you, and there is no mistake that His grace does not cover. God loves you. He knows your needs, wants, dreams, and desires because He made you. Trust Him with them, and you’ll see that His plan for your life is better than anything you could have ever imagined.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6