One of the occupational hazards of nannyhood: Barbie movies. It's been a few years, so their details are fading blissfully into the hazy reaches of forgetfulness, but they have left me with a deep and lasting aversion to a number of the popular catchphrases that have replaced Christian morals in the media: "Be true to yourself," "Believe in yourself," and most importantly, "Follow your heart," which are spoonfed into our childrens' hungry minds as quick and tasty recipes for happiness. Of course, I knew better. True happiness comes from following God, and in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).
Tonight, I got a new perspective. Yes, we are sinful; yes, our sinful hearts will lead us astray. But God promises, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). This is sanctification. This is why David prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God" (Psalm 51:10).
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." David isn't just saying that if we love God enough, He'll give us whatever we pray for. Rather, He will give us the desires behind the prayers. "Follow your heart" may carry a lot of trite, pop-culture baggage, but on a fundamental level, it's exactly what only Christians are able to do. Only someone who genuinely trusts and serves God is free to follow the desires of their God-given, purified heart. Martin Luther said it himself: "Love God, and do as you please."
How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
~ Psalm 119:9-11