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- St. Paul United Methodist Church published a newsletterReadSeptember 2021Cornerstone News
From Pastor David . . .
“Listen to your heart...” sounds like really good advice. Of course, what we refer to as the “heart” is not the physical blood-pumping organ, but rather a symbolic representation of the center of our thoughts, values, dreams, and desires.
So how good is “listen to your heart” advice? Let’s see.
Scripture gives warnings about our hearts. Jeremiah says the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). Jesus says from the heart comes all sorts of junk (Matthew 15:19). Proverbs says there is a way that seems right, but in the end, it leads to destruction (Proverbs 14:12).
Wow. Those are some stark warnings. Of course, we are always free to not heed warnings. We can drive through the “Road Closed” sign, or disregard the “wet paint” sign. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Perhaps Adam and Eve were listening to their heart when they reached for the forbidden fruit. Maybe the religious leaders were following their heart’s desire when they arrested and crucified Jesus. Many who “follow their heart” do not arrive where they want to and, instead, find themselves in difficult and tragic situations. This isn’t surprising when you realize our hearts by default are inclined toward selfishness and sin.
If we choose to listen to Scripture’s warnings about our heart, then what should we do? Where can we turn?
There’s some really good news! The God of the universe, the One who knows us better than we know ourselves has invited us to allow him to guide and direct us. He has given us all we need in order to listen to him. He is beyond everything, yet he is closer than we know. We have everything we need in order to listen to him and he invites us to do so.
Not only does God desire to direct us, but God says he will transform our sin-formed and harden hearts. Through the prophet Ezekiel, he says he will give us a new heart, removing our heart of stone (hardened because of sin) and replace it with a heart of flesh (soft and open to God’s spirit). This new heart is a game-changer.
God continues and says he will put his own Spirit within us and “move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ez. 36:27)” God gives us the opportunity to have an entirely new heart. In Psalm 51, David prays for this heart, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
“Follow your heart”? I don’t think so. “Follow your heart transformed and renewed by God’s Spirit…” definitely! May David’s prayer for a new Spirit-led heart become our own prayer.