Don’t Follow Your Heart


Luke C. Perkins, Guest Columnist

Contrary to popular belief, “following your heart” is a terrible idea. 

The millennial and Generation Z’s have been misled their entire lives by the Disney philosophy that you should “be the true you,” that following your heart is the only moral path. This idea is everywhere, from Burger King’s “Have it Your Way,” to the modern trope “live your truth,” and yes, to Disney’s “Tell me, princess, now when did you last let your heart decide?” 

I call it a philosophy, but you would also be correct to call it a religion. It is a religious perspective that suggests, “When there’s no one else, look inside yourself; like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within.” (That’s from the prophet Christina Aguilera.) 

Should you “trust the voice within?” Well, it all depends. It depends on your religion, on what you believe about God.

For instance, the Christian proclaims the opposite of the above views. 

The prophet Jeremiah says, The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it?” Jesus echos this later, saying, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” 

The Christian author Jon Bloom helpfully summarizes this.

“Our hearts are not leadership material. The truth is, no one lies to us more than our own hearts. No one,” Bloom says. “ If our hearts are compasses, they are Jack Sparrow compasses. They don’t tell us the truth; they just tell us what we want. (Our hearts) are not benevolent; they are pathologically selfish. In fact, if we do what our hearts tell us to do, we will pervert and impoverish every desire, every beauty, every person, every wonder, and every joy… We need to be saved from our hearts.”

So, I am looking at two religious perspectives on our hearts. One is the you-be-you perspective, and one is the you-be-like-God perspective. These two religious views cannot both be true. Disney has either been lying to you, or Jesus is off his rocker. For the perpetual fence-sitters out there, there is no middle ground. Your heart is either trustworthy or it is not. 

And here’s the rub: you are therefore a deeply religious person, whether you think so or not. 

We are, all of us, inescapably religious. We all admire and follow (worship) something. Unfortunately, most professing Christians reading this align far too closely with the Disney religion. 

Most modern Western people are worshiping ourselves, following our hearts, and letting our hearts be our guide. In other words, living as though there is no God. Or if there is a God, it is me. We have become our own north stars. 

Even so-called academic works proclaim, “We must learn to trust our own … feelings and experiences, and to give them authority.”  But since God does exist, and He has created us, we are therefore obligated to follow Him, not ourselves. This is a fundamental shift of thought. 

There is a moral standard in this world, and it is set by the nature of God and His word to us. This means all our intellectual, aesthetic and moral opinions are judged not by “our heart,” but by God. 

At first, this is actually bad news, because God is good and we are not. Thankfully, the center of the Christian gospel is that Jesus will forgive us and give us new hearts, ones that can joyfully submit to and follow him. 

As the apostle Peter said, “Where else shall we go? You [Jesus] have the words of eternal life.” Following Jesus is far better than following your heart, and this better path is open to all. Who do you follow?