Follow Your Heart…?

I have the privilege of being a part of the editing team for the Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels translation from Vine of David. Every time I go through Aaron Eby’s translation I learn something about either Hebrew or our Master, or both.

Today, I was finishing up reviewing chapters 9-16 of Luke and came across a phrase which Aaron has translated: “He returned to his heart.” It was in the context of Yeshua’s parable of the prodigal son, and his making the decision to return home after his time of rebellion. This reminds me of the phrase we hear so often, “Follow your heart.” However, most of the time we hear that phrase, “Follow your heart,” it generally means: “Go for it!” “Dream big!” “Live the American Dream!” It is usually in the context of self-indulgence, where we are supposed to find that “inner-voice” that is telling us what we need to be doing with our lives to get the fullest experience of life…to “drink in life” with passion. It’s really the opposite of the Hebrew meaning of this phrase (which I will explain further momentarily).

It reminds me of this new movie Eat, Pray, Love, based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert (which could be subtitled, “Hinduism has allowed me to cast off restraint”). Sadly many Christians are looking to this as a spiritual expression for believers. They are searching for something “more.” They want adventure & romance, and if their current situation can’t provide it they search it out. I’ve seen countless Christian marriages fail in the last 3-4 years because of this. And the answer is usually the same, “I’m following my heart” or “God is leading me in a new direction.” But would God really wreck a marriage, the most primal institution of the world, in order to make “me” happy? Is it really all about me? According to the philosophy of “Follow your heart” it is. However, Scripture actually warns us about the deceptions of the heart:

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

How many people are being told this? How many people have bought into the lie already, and it’s too late to recognize this? This is where being a diligent student of the Word will allow it to drive our lives, rather than allowing our hearts to drive them. In the context of the passage to which I referenced, the Hebrew literally says the same thing. It is וַיָּשֶׁב אֶל־לִבּוֹ. “And he returned to his heart.” But what does that mean? Does it mean that he finally found his “purpose” in life through reading The Purpose Driven Life? Does it mean he finally got up enough courage to hike the Himalayas? Does it mean he gave up his family, went off to a foreign country and lived it up? Wait… that’s what he did before he “returned to his heart.” So you see, “returning to one’s heart” in the Hebrew sense is not about all of these things, but about “coming to your senses.” It’s about following your head, not your heart. It’s about doing what’s right, rather than what feels good. Why? Because the right path and the difficult path are often the same, and when we choose the right over the wrong, the blessing will be in the journey. The joy will come from within, rather than from anything external. And the fruits will be eternal, rather than momentary.

Have you returned to your heart?

Monkey see…Monkey Do.

It’s really sad that many Christians genuinely love Hashem, yet in their parroting of their church doctrine or theology, they say and do things that are contrary to biblical truth. Since we are no longer students of the Word, nor disciples of the Master, but merely “converts,” we have forgotten to check our theologies and our practices against the authority of the Word. But people can’t be faulted too much. We have been lulled to believe this from the pulpit and the television for at least a few generations. We have been trained that the work of evangelism is up to the pastors and the “evangelists.” We have been trained that the work of discipleship is up to pastors & youth pastors. We’ve been trained that our denominational theology was given at Sinai. We’ve been trained that it really doesn’t matter what we do between Monday & Saturday, as long as we are baptized into our church, pay our tithes, show up on a semi-regular basis & assent to a theological confession. It’s a monkey see…monkey do mentality.

Hashem has called me to challenge this in the people around me. He has called me to be a voice in the wilderness (& sometimes a thorn in the flesh). I’m going to speak this message as gracefully as possible, but I’m not going to be silent, and I’m not going to be another monkey. This monkey’s getting off of my back. I’ve got a boat load of bananas for him, and I’ve sent him packing. Do you have any monkeys to send on the boat, too?