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.