Articles and Sermons
We invite you to consider these articles and sermons in light of God's word, that you be considered "noble-minded" by Him.
A popular catchphrase is "follow your heart", this can be seen and heard as advice given not only in physical matters, but also in spiritual matters. In some circumstances, following one's heart is a perfectly acceptable practice. If a person was having trouble deciding between buying apples or bananas, the advice to follow one's heart is unlikely to have dire consequences. If, however, someone was to ask whether or not they should continue to take their life-preserving medicine, the consequences of 'following your heart' could be disastrous. By 'heart' people do not mean the blood pump in the middle of their chests, they refer to the mind or conscience.
The problem is that the conscience is something which can lead a person into error. It is possible to do something wrong but have a good conscience at the same time. The Apostle Paul is proof.
In Acts 23:1 we read Paul as saying,
"'...Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.'"
In the next chapter (Acts 24:16) we see Paul saying,
"'This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.'"
The previous two verses are important to understand the next verses from Acts 26:9-11.
"'Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.'"
From harmonising the three quotes we can see that before his conversion (recorded in Acts 9) the Apostle Paul acted in good conscience when he was persecuting and opposing the early Christians. The problem was that he was acting on the wrong information, he thought he was serving God when he was in fact doing the opposite. In good conscience he did what was evil. The conscience can be educated and unless we have a conscience correctly educated it will be an unreliable guide for our actions.
So how do we get the correct information? In Proverbs 16:25, we are told:
"There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death."
This is reinforced by Jeremiah 10:23,
"O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps."
The source of truth is not within our heart or consciences: we need to go to God to find out what is right and morally good.
In Psalm 119:105 the author, referring to God, tells us:
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Following our own hearts, unless they are in agreement with God's word will not guide us in the way we should go.