“Terrible Advice”

Jeremiah 17:9

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?”

Split Rock Lighthouse was built in 1910 on the north shore of Lake Superior, near Two Harbors, Minnesota. Because of all the iron ore in the area (one of the largest deposits in North America), it deflected compasses by about 8°. Great ships went down in storms because they got too close to the shore. The Coast Guard retired the lighthouse in 1969.*

It’s a tragedy when we base decisions on a source that we assume is trustworthy. But sometimes something unforeseen, or behind the scenes subtly leads us down the wrong path. One of the worst and often given pieces of advice by well-meaning people is to “just follow your heart.” We assume that our hearts would never lead us astray. But as Jeremiah warned, if we understand only one thing about the heart, it’s that it is deceitful. Our sick and wicked heart has its finger on the scales. No matter how we rationalize or justify, our heart is both literally and figuratively self-centered. People have abandoned their spouses and families in the name of following their heart. 
Following our heart is no guarantee of a good choice or a successful life. If you want to get where you want to go find a guide that is trustworthy and beyond reproach. Follow Christ and die to those things that would ultimately take you down the wrong path. 

While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:

  • Can you think of a time when following your heart might have led to destructive consequences? 
  • How do you think our hearts mislead us? 
  • How can we protect ourselves from our hearts AND protect our hearts as it says in Proverbs 4:23?

Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you? 

Explain – what does the passage mean? 
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today? 
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?

Jon Price, Associate Pastor


*Quoted exactly from “Helen,” a contributor on the following link regarding compasses being thrown off. https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/15157/can-a-compass-be-thrown-off-by-its-surroundings

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