Would you like to know an expression I honestly hate?
“Follow your heart.”
“Do whatever makes you happy.”
“You do you.”
These lines make me want to rip my arm off so I’ll have something to throw.
On the surface, they seem to make sense, I mean, who wants to live by “Do what you’re told.”? That’s not exactly going to inspire blogs, shirts and coffee mugs.
From the time we’re kids we want to move away from being told by mom and dad what to do. It’s a right of passage into being an adult. No one can tell you what to say, do or think.
So of course “you do you” seems right.
Here’s the problem: the heart is inconsistent.
The same heart that leads us to pursue something can also be the same heart to tell us to abandon it when things get tough.
Have you ever noticed that NOTHING tends to get us into more trouble than following our heart? It’s horribly inconsistent.
Since the heart is seemingly so random, how then can we love God with all of it?
Let me compare this to marriage:
I love my wife.
That’s not a throw away statement. I love her more than any man has ever loved a woman.
If you knew her, you’d see why. She’s literally the most amazing person most people have ever know.
I’ve loved her for more than half my life. I loved her when she was just my friend’s sister (I broke bro code, I know…), I loved her when she was pregnant with my kids, I loved her when she had thyroid cancer.
I really can’t think of a time that I didn’t love her with my whole heart.
And she’d tell you similar stories.
Why do we have such an intense love of nearly 20 years? Because we followed our hearts? Nope.
It’s certainly not because I’m an easy person to love either. If you know me, you can agree with that!
The kind of love and marriage we have is because of our intimacy.
And intimacy is a result of consistency.
She didn’t run when I felt like my world was collapsing around me as the church I’d poured nearly a decade of my life into died slowly and I didn’t run when she went through her battles.
In fact, those moments brought us closer.
The heart is selfish so loving with our hearts is less about emotions and more about a choice to love intimately.
In the same way, following and loving Jesus with our hearts is less about emotions and more about choosing consistently to be with him.
I realize this seems a little vague but I promise as we look at the last three (soul, mind and strength) that this will make more sense.
Loving the Lord our God with our heart is at the core of the Shema. The next three topics will give us practical steps into the HOWs of loving Him.