The Result of Following Your Heart

The Result of Following Your HeartText: Jeremiah 17

A popular idea in our modern culture is that we should “follow our heart.” While it is popular, it is not wise. God described the heart as “deceitful” and “desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). In this lesson, we’re going to examine this chapter and see what happens when we follow our heart. Though we live in a different time and under different circumstances, we can fall into the same pitfalls.

When We Follow Our Heart…

Sin Becomes a Part of Us (v. 1-4)

  • Their sin would be “permanently” etched on their heart (v. 1) – they could not remove it themselves
  • They had become as close to their idolatrous practices as to their children (v. 2)
  • Their behavior would lead to irreversible consequences (v. 3-4) – more on this later in the chapter

We Put Our Trust in Man (v. 5-8)

  • A curse is pronounced upon those who trust in man (v. 5) – they turn from God; we cannot follow both (cf. Galatians 1:10)
  • This one will miss out on the blessings and rewards that come from following God (v. 6)
  • Blessings are pronounced upon those who trust in the Lord (v. 7) – they will enjoy stability (v. 8; cf. Psalm 1:1-3)

Our Heart Deceives Us (v. 9-11)

  • Our heart is more deceitful than all else (v. 9) – we must not “follow our heart” (cf. Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12)
  • Nothing is hidden from God (v. 10) – He will judge us (cf. Hebrews 4:12-13; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
  • Illustration (v. 11) – the point is that enriching ourselves apart from God is futile (cf. Luke 12:16-21; Matthew 16:26)

We Will Be Put to Shame (v. 12-18)

  • God rules from heaven (v. 12) – therefore, those who “forsake [Him] will be put to shame” (v. 13)
  • Healing and salvation are only found in the Lord (v. 14) – only in Christ today (Acts 4:12; Ephesians 1:7)
  • Yet those who speak truth will be put to shame by others (v. 15-18; cf. 2 Timothy 3:12; 2 Peter 3:3-4) – stand firm

We Will Ignore the Word of God (v. 19-23)

  • God told Jeremiah to publicly proclaim the need to keep the sabbath (v. 19-22) – this was to test them
  • The sabbath law prohibited working on that day (Exodus 20:8-11)
  • They rejected it because it was not what they wanted (v. 23) – they were unwilling to put God first (cf. Luke 9:23-25)

We Will Be Destroyed (v. 24-27)

  • Listening to God would bring a reward (v. 24-26) – God rewards those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9)
  • Refusing to listen would bring destruction (v. 27) – this is still true as well (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)


  • Rather than following our heart, we need to follow God
  • Our heart can deceive us and turn us away from the Lord
  • Our hope lies in our willingness to submit to His will and put away sin from our lives

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