Princess Diana once said, “Only do what your heart tells you.”
This is a creed believed by millions. It’s a statement of faith in one of the great pop cultural myths of the Western world. It’s a gospel proclaimed in many of our stories, movies, and songs.
It states that your heart is a compass inside of you that will point you to your own true north if you can just see it clearly. Your heart is a true guide that will lead you to happiness if you can just tune into it. We are lost, and our heart will save us.
This sounds so simple and liberating. It’s tempting to believe.
Until you consider that your heart has sociopathic tendencies.
Think about it for a moment. What does your heart tell you?
No need to answer. Your heart has likely said things today that you would not wish to repeat. As Jesus said, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19).
No one lies to you more than your own heart. It’s true. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
If our hearts are compasses, they are like Jack Sparrow’s. If our hearts are guides, they are Gothels. They are not benevolent, they are pathologically selfish. If we only do what our hearts tell us we will pervert and impoverish every desire, every beauty, every person, every wonder and joy. We will try to consume them for self-glory and self-indulgence.
Our hearts will not save us. We need to be saved from our hearts.
That’s why Jesus did not say, “Let not your hearts be troubled, just believe your hearts.” He said, “Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).
Our hearts were not designed to be gods, they were designed to believe in God. And we are never happier than when we do. The fallen human heart rejects God, believing it can “be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). Jesus came to pay for that horrific, treacherous sin in full and to give us new hearts (Ezekiel 36:26).
That means, in this age, Christians have the strange experience of living with two hearts. And both speak to us. One we must reject and the other we must trust. We must be discerning. We know the corrupt heart is speaking when it says, “Believe what I promise you and you will be happy.” We know the new heart is speaking when it says, “Believe what Jesus promises and he will make you happy forever.
Therefore, only do what your heart tells you if it is telling you to believe in Jesus.