Intro: Many of us have heard the saying “follow your heart.” In the midst of indecision, this whimsical phrase is often chided to us with a smile from loved ones, friends, strangers, but most often is heard in cheesy Hallmark movies. It’s one of those American “pick-me-uper” cliches, and personally, it has never helped me. I find it anti-Gospel, and I feel that it’s a confusing jumble of words that masquerades itself as advice, but really doesn’t say anything clear to the decision-maker at all. The cliche assumes that my heart is a source that is capable of leading me. But
what if my heart lead me to do something that was, in the end, bad? I titled this series, “Don’t Follow Your Heart.”
Part I: Don’t Follow Your Heart Because…It leads you to prostitution.
The Shema Israel (meaning, “Hear, Israel”) prayer is found in the Bible. Many Jewish and Messianic Jewish people say this prayer once in the morning, and once before going to bed. I was reading it the other day, and something at the end of it peeked my interest because of its consistency with other scriptures that I have read. I will make the part I am interested in bolded.
“Speak to the people of Isra’el, instructing them to make, through all their generations, tzitziyot on the corners of their garments, and to put with the tzitzit on each corner a blue thread.It is to be a tzitzit for you to look at and thereby remember all of YHWH’s mitzvot and obey them, so that you won’t go around wherever your own heart and eyes lead you to prostitute yourselves; but it will help you remember and obey all my mitzvot and be holy for your Elohim. I am YHWH your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt in order to be your Elohim. I am YHWH your Elohim.” (Numbers 15: 38-41).
Paraphrased, YHWH is saying, “Here are my laws. Teach these to your children, wherever you are and throughout the generations. There are benefits of blessings if you do them, and the consequence of curses if you don’t. Place these words and certain places so that you see them, and make the fringes of the corners of your clothing blue. When you see the blue fringes, it will remind you to obey my law and not go wherever you own heart and eyes lead you…” YHWH Himself describes us as a people for whom it is natural to chase after things that appeal to their eyes and the cravings of their heart without his Law…and that these things and cravings that we as people are naturally attracted to lead us to prostitute ourselves!Aside from its obvious definition, prostitution also has a broad meaning Biblically. Take how Andrew Lansdown of Life Ministries explains it:
Throughout the Bible, prostitution is used as a symbol of filthiness and unfaithfulness, and Elohim likens his people to prostitutes whenever they turn from him to false gods and to evil ways. In Ezekiel 23, for example, YHWH likens Jerusalem and Samaria to prostitutes because of their sin. ‘They became prostitutes in Egypt,’ YHWH declares, ‘engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed’ As for Samaria, YHWH declares, she “engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians… (Read Ezekiel 23: 1-13)
YHWH’s definition of prostitution states that prostitution is the slavery lifestyle that is the result of a person woshipping [an] idol[s]. We know that idol worship does not necessarily have to involve another formal religion or shrines, but may be the exaltation of another person, place, thing, or idea above YHWH. It’s not that YHWH is saying that some things are “figuratively” prostitution to Him, and that sexual prostitution alone is the only actual form of prostitution. Rather, He is saying that many things are prostitution to Him. There is no difference between sexual prostitution and spiritual prostitution. In fact, one could argue that even sexual prostitution is a manifestation of spiritual prostitution. Often, we separate the two, viewing sexual prostitution as the only and/or literal meaning of the word, and allow the sort of prostitution depicted in this passage to be taken in a “symbolic” sense. According to this law, it is easier to engage in prostitution than you think! As hard as it may be, we must accept the Father’s view. They both occur as the result of idolatrous worship.
In a nutshell: Don’t follow your heart because it can quickly have idols there as we have a tendency toward prostituting our devotion and trust into other things instead of for YHWH. Follow the Word!