If you’ve watched a movie, basically any movie, in the last forty years you might have noticed a theme. When things get tough, and the hero is about to give up, some two-bit philosopher gives them some advice. It is usually some form of, “Believe in yourself,” “The answer is inside you,” or the worst, “Just follow your heart."
In case you haven’t been able to get your eyes and ears to a TV set since the 1980s, here is a big fat list of examples, but there are plenty more.
Obviously this is a philosophy that runs through more than just our movies.
Movies are just reflecting what society already believes. Modern philosophy argues that mankind is inherently good. Society says people do bad things because their environment forces them to act out. Things like poverty, oppression, and injustice are supposedly to blame for mankind’s evils. So, the solution: follow your heart; stop listening to what everyone else says; do what feels right to you.
Is that really good advice, though? Is that what we should be telling one another?
No! It's one of society's big lies.
Here’s why it’s a lie. Jeremiah said:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?(Jer 17:9)
Obviously, people have a capacity for good under certain circumstances, but we also have the capacity for tremendous evil. Your heart will deceive you, and lead you into desperate wickedness. For some, that wickedness might be a drunken lifestyle. For others, it may be self-righteousness. For some; laziness. Your heart will trick you and lead you into your favorite sin. One thing is for sure: you should not follow your heart.
So, what’s the Biblical solution?
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above…(Col 3:1 NIV)
It should not be your heart leading the way, but you setting the path for your heart. You point your heart/mind toward the things that are above. Focus on Christ. The verse goes on to show that your heart and mind are the same things when he repeats himself, but this time says:
Set your mind on things above...(Col 3:2)
Can you imagine a Hollywood movie that gave this advice? Instead of saying, “follow your heart,” Maverick pats his co-star on the shoulder and says, “just focus on Jesus, IceMan.” People would run from the theater as if the place was on fire. I’d sit smiling, happy that at least one move got it right.
So, don’t follow your heart. Teach your heart/mind to stay focused on Christ.