“I said in my heart.” There are numerous stories that begin this same way and end the same way as well: badly. Often what we tell ourselves is terrible. We give ourselves horrible advice. We lie to ourselves. We flatter ourselves.
There are six times in Scripture (all in Ecclesiastes) where the phrase “I said in my heart” is used, and in all six, the Hebrew literally reads, “My heart said…” In our world, following your heart is a romantic notion. It’s what dreamers, poets, and adventurers do. The only problem is that according to Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” The sinful, unregenerate heart will get us in trouble—every single time. This is why we can’t follow our heart. It’s the worst possible thing we can do. The path to fulfillment is not to follow our heart; it is to ask God for a new one, to have God rip the old, sin-ravaged, deceptive heart of stone out of your chest and replace it with a new, grace-saturated, redeemed heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26). Only such a new heart, given to us by God, inclined toward God, and controlled by God is worth trusting.
The last time you followed your heart, was it your old heart of stone or your new heart of flesh? What was the result?