Should We Listen To Our Heart?

We often hear someone say, “Do what you think is right.” We might hear them say, “Just follow your heart.”  Should we listen to our heart?  Is there a place in the daily walk of a Christian to listen to the promptings of your heart?

Many years ago when I was a “young preacher” I was told by a more experienced preacher when we make the decision to come to God we ought do so without emotion. He told me it should an intellectual decision.  This advice is consistent with much of our historical prospective. Due to our approach to Bible study we are sometimes thought of as a “neck-up religion.”

Is there a time to trust the heart even when we can’t make it fit our intellectual box? Consider the thoughts of Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  I am grateful for the scientific approach Alexander Campbell brought to us concerning the study of God’s Word.  Yet, we must realize there are times we must trust God with all our heart rather than our own intellectual understanding.  This is one of the short-comings of the method of Bible study brought to us by  brother Campbell.

There is a time to trust what God puts on the heart. Growing up in the Church of Christ I had never heard this thought discussed in a positive religious context. I had never considered the possibility that God mentioned putting anything on the heart of man. Until this point I had always accepted what I had been taught. I had been taught that God works only through Scripture.  If God only worked through Scripture He would never prompt man’s heart separate from Scripture.  Therefore, God would never put anything on the heart of man. After all, if God were to  prompt the heart of man it might not fit into our intellectual method of Bible study.

Consider these Scriptures:

  • Ezra 7:27,  “Praise be to the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the LORD in Jerusalem in this way.”
  • Nehemiah 2:12, “I set out during the night with a few men.  I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.  There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.”
  • Nehemiah 7:5, “So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families.  I found the genealogical record of those who had been the first to return.  This is what I found written there.”
  • 2 Corinthians 8:16, “I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you.”
  • Acts 16:14, “One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God.  The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.”

There is a time to listen to the heart. The Lord recognizes and uses the heart to prompt His servants to obey.  Yet our hearts should not have the final say.  There are times when our heart can lead us astray. Consider these Scriptures:

  • Ephesians 4:18, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”
  • 1 Timothy 4:2, “Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
  • Titus 1:15, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.  In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.”

God recognizes and uses the heart as an invaluable tool in our daily walk with Him. In order for the heart to be of proper value we must be sure that the heart is maintained in a healthy environment.  How do we provide proper heart heath?  How do we learn to listen to our hearts in a way that allows God by His Spirit to lead us? Let me offer a few suggestions.

  • Make sure your heart is consistent with God’s Word. God will never prompt your heart in a direction different from Scripture.  We must know Scripture to know if our heart is consistent with God’s Word.
  • Make sure we spend time listening to God. Often our relationship with God consists of asking Him for things or telling Him what we want.  In any relationship there has to be time spent listening.  We must learn to listen to God.  Unless we listen to God our relationship will never be complete.
  • Make sure your heart is consistent with what Jesus says about the two greatest commands. If our heart is consistent in this area we will find hearts much more useful to God in other areas.
  • What does the rest of the body have to say about our heart? We need to surround ourselves with fellow Christians who know Scripture and know us well.  We don’t need “yes” men.  We need those who will pick us up when we fall.  We need brethren who will help us to heaven.  We need those around us who understand the concept of Galatians 6:1.

Is there a time to listen to the heart?  Consider the fact that God does use the heart to direct his servants. The Lord putting something into our hearts is not just a figure of speech. It is much more, it is actually a God thing!

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5 Responses to Should We Listen To Our Heart?

  1. Wayne McDaniel says:

    Dell, Thanks for having the courage to write this.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. I only want to speak the things of God. For too long I have practiced the don’t ask don’t tell policy. If you don’t ask I won’t tell. I hope I never find myself in that position again. Thanks again for your kind words.

  3. Jan says:

    Wonderful post Dell! I don’t understand, and never understood the concept of no emotion where God is concerned. How can you understand how God, Christ and the Holy Spirit save your eternal soul and not feel unbounding love and gratitude. Thanks for putting it into such plain words!

  4. christina says:

    A wise man once ( actually after every sermon) told me and a whole congregation of people, “Read it for yourself, don’t take my word for it.” I believe when more people do that, and just quit going by what MEN say then, more people will come to understand God and HIS Word. Sometimes you gotta listen to yourself, and God will let you know if you’re right or not. The heart is symbolic of Love. And God is Love, so why wouldn’t we let our heart be involved with giving ourselves over to God? Yes, you should be capable of understanding, and that takes intelligence, but God wants it all, not just your mind. When you get married, you don’t say I’m smart to marry you. You say I love you. Good job listening to your heart Dell!

  5. Thanks Jan and Christina,
    I appreciate your kind words.

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