"The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?" (ASV)
"Follow your heart." It's advice that we've all been given at one time or another. Perhaps we've even said this to a friend who was faced with a difficult challenge. If you don't think too much about it, it sounds like great advice. While it appears to be wisdom on the surface however, the Bible tells us that our hearts will only get us into trouble and that we shouldn't be deceived by them.
We need to remember that our hearts are corrupted by sin. Our hearts are a part of our flesh, our fallen nature, prone to sin and deceit. While our heart can certainly guide us, it's guidance is selfish, fickle and all too often unwise. Our heart can not tell us God's will for us, only it's own. It can't tell us what's good for us in the long run, as it only sees the circumstances of the moment. Those who make a habit of following this guidance will often find themselves heart-broken.
The good news is that God has given us a better guide for making tough decisions. "But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you." (John 14:26 ASV) The Holy Spirit of God dwells in each of His followers. If we learn to listen to Him, we can always be assured of good, sound guidance in any situation. He is a wise counselor, a loving comforter, and a good teacher. If we follow His direction, we can never go wrong.
Learning to listen to the Holy Spirit's guidance can be a difficult task. It's never the loud broadcast of a booming speaker. Rather, the Spirit speaks to us in a "still, small voice." (see 1 KINGS 19:11-12) You see, God will not force his guidance upon us. We have to seek it out. So the next time you have a big decision and you're tempted to listen to your heart, take a moment instead to listen to the voice of the God who loves you, who wants the best for you, and who has wonderful plans in store for your life. You'll find it well worth the effort.