“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”
When faced with decisions, it is not uncommon to be counseled to follow your heart. Solomon suggests that doing so is a very bad idea. He calls it folly. I can think of three reasons why it is foolish to follow your heart.
First, the Bible teaches that the heart is deceitful above all other things (Jeremiah 17:9). That means our hearts can trick us into doing things that are unhealthy or even detrimental. Our hearts, like our appetites, can desire things which are harmful to us. A friend of mine was diagnosed with high cholesterol and counseled to drastically change his diet. Upon receiving the doctor’s orders, his appetite did not suddenly change. He still hungered for fatty, fried, high cholesterol foods. The heart is the same way. We can long for things that God forbids, and our hearts can lead us away from the Lord.
Second, the heart is the seat of emotion. It is the place where emotions arise; and emotions are untrustworthy. We have all had the experience where, suddenly and without warning, our emotions change. We are happy one minute then suddenly we are saddened, afraid or filled with anxiety. A person who is trusting in emotions, is like a small boat in a violent storm. It is very difficult to navigate through life with emotions as our compass.
Finally, not only are our emotions fickle, but the desires of the heart are constantly changing. Many of the things we longed for in the past are hardly worth having today. Look back at some old photos and notice the hair cut you had to have, or the outfit that you spent your hard-earned money to buy. Like changing fashions, the heart is constantly desiring something new.
Rather than trusting in the heart, we should trust the promises of God. Instead of leading us away from the Lord, they will lead to a life that is well pleasing to Him, and beneficial to the ones we love. Unlike emotions, the promises of God are like bedrock upon which to build your life. When emotions, fashion, culture, and experience suddenly change, the Word of God remains as solid ground to stand upon.