February 7: Proverbs 28:26

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,

But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.

I recently saw a popular magazine that featured an interview with a woman who was speaking out about the things she has learned along the way. Having just come out of her third failed marriage, she has a lot of experience to glean from. The big thing that she said she had learned was that at the end of the day, you just have to follow your heart. Of course this is not a new insight from her; it is a often repeated and admired philosophy in the world. So much so that we cannot see the bad judgment in taking that kind of life and love advice from a woman coming out of her most recent exhausted marriage.

But here we have Scripture’s take on that little bit of insight from the world. Trusting in your own heart will make you a fool.  This is funny when you think about it. Your heart will just make a fool out of you if you are trusting in it. Do not follow it, unless you are hoping to be a fool. Trust your heart, and things will not be smart in your life.

Still, never do you hear an interview with an Olympic hopeful who says, ” I just really want to walk in wisdom as I pursue this.” When people are talking about big decisions – where to move, who to marry, whether to have children, whether to open a business, we are trained to think of it in terms of following our hearts, and not in terms of walking in wisdom.

The word of God (wisdom) is the bedrock. Here is a long, constant standard. When your heart is in submission to that standard, it can wave up and down, but it is still anchored. If your marriage (or job, or life with children) is not tethered to the Word of God, you will be careening wildly all over the place. Hearts are terrible leaders, but great followers. When you are walking in wisdom, your heart can follow wisdom. When you are trying to follow your heart, you will find yourself behaving like a fool. Our hearts are quitters. They are faithless. They are needy. They are selfish. They are fickle. They tire easily, and get fussy fast. Our hearts are not to be trusted with leadership.

If your heart is a bloodhound, get it on the trail of wisdom. Do not ask your heart to follow the illusive happiness squirrel, with you being dragged along behind it. Our hearts alone are fools. But there is a way to be delivered of their foolishness, and that is to walk in wisdom.

And of course this isn’t bad news. Instead of chasing after a little bit of skittish happiness, we are free to live in great joy. Joy is a side effect of faithfulness, and chasing after it in unfaithfulness is not a way of finding joy, just a way of always losing it. So take the advice of Scripture, and make your goal to walk in wisdom.

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17 thoughts on “February 7: Proverbs 28:26

  1. Thank you for your consistent exhortation towards being Christ-like. Your posts are always a blessing to me! May The Lord guide you and bless you as you raise your little ones for Him!

  2. Great post. The spellchecker may have led you astray on advise/advice. I think you meant advice in the first and last paragraphs. Thanks for your thoughts. Very helpful.

  3. Feel free to delete my editorial comments. I’d assumed you would see them before they appeared for the public.

  4. Sarah – Happy for the editorial comments! I fixed it, thanks! Usually I call mom and tell her I put up a post, and then she goes and corrects all of my runaway commas.

  5. “Do not ask your heart to follow the illusive happiness squirrel, with you being dragged along behind it.”

    I choked on my tea from laughing. It’s so true and tickled my funny bone. A mental image worth remembering! :-)

  6. I feel like this kind of thing happens in a stealth way for me — where I see all the failings in my mothering and end up letting my discouraged/afraid heart “run the show”. Somehow this makes it look like I am not running after my own happiness because I certainly don’t feel happy while I’m sitting in my puddle of despair. But it is still following after my own heart instead of trusting in God’s heart (His kindness and faithfulness) nor is it obedience to God (anxiousness, fear, despair, lack of joy and gladness, a not-at-peace wreck of a spirit). So, anyway, my unbelieving, self-absorbed, pansy of a heart is not a good leader. Christ’s heart is.

  7. I have really been enjoying these daily posts from you and your mom! It’s very encouraging to be directed to Scripture and Biblical thinking when so much of the advice I find online is along the lines of “follow your heart,” even from Christian sources…not to mention my own heart that wants to go its own way.

  8. Yes, it is easy to let our hearts rule our heads especially in matters of the heart, but I must point out that there is a reason that “follow your heart” has such a following.

    Often when studying and praying about what to do in our lives we will have a “feeling” about what we should do or not do. This sort of “following our hearts” is a good thing as we are following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. However when our heart is telling us to do anything in violation of God’s commandments or just stupid, we should slow down — we are probably just following our own desires.

    As we pray to know the Lord’s will in our lives we can walk in wisdom with the Holy Ghost to guide our steps and follow our hearts as our hearts follow God.

  9. I was just thinking about this the other day. People follow their hearts way to too much and don’t listen to the Holy Spirit’s guiding. Following your own heart only leaves people drowning in a wake of misery that you’ve created while you ride the boat of life fast and with selfish joy. We have to follow God’s heart and do his will!

  10. ‘Happiness squirrel’! *snort* Made me think of all the dogs in the film ‘Up’ whose heads all swivel in the same direction when one shouts ‘squirrel!’. Fear I may be exactly like them…

  11. Right on, Rachel! Mommies are especially prone to letting our wild hearts run away with us, even when we mean well and are trying to serve our families and friends. It is good to have a husband or an friend who can look in to our reactions from the outside and help us see where we are missing what the Lord needs us to do.

  12. I am loving the happiness squirrel phrase! I think I need to add it to our household lexicon. Much easier than trying to sort through my feelings and emotions when I’m trying to explain to my husband why I think I’m having a bad day. “I was chasing the happiness squirrel again, baby.” is much more succinct. :-)

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