One final thing that I feel is embedded into our culture through children’s programming is the idea that following your heart is the true purpose of life. Walt Disney made this popular, and this theme has permeated children’s entertainment for years.
As a Christian, I have a hard time with this as an absolute statement. I understand that God has gifted me in certain ways and given me certain interests. Because of those propensities, it is certainly responsible of me to be a good steward of the abilities I have and use them for his glory. In that sense, following my heart and what I love to do is indeed a good thing.
Unfortunately, as a Christian, I also believe that the human heart can cause a lot of problems. Following our heart can bring us to a lot of very bad places. When our passions alone dictate our behavior, we are not always considering what God would have for us. We’re not always thinking through our decisions because our hearts have this annoying tendency to rebel against God. Our sin nature is rooted in the heart of humanity, and we need to be very careful where we follow our hearts.
Again, I do believe that God gives us certain abilities and puts us in positions to take advantage of what He has made a specific way to do. I don’t deny that at all. However, the focus of God putting me in that position is not to fulfill me. The purpose is not to help me find my purpose. The purpose is to bring glory to God. That ought to be my purpose.
The differentiation is somewhat subtle, but it is important. If my entire purpose on earth is to follow my heart, my focus is wrong. If God uses my passions and abilities allowing me to follow my heart with the purpose of bringing him glory, then my focus is right.
Think about it in a professional context. The entire purpose of my job could be to make money. Most of us probably understand that if we are in a job only for the paycheck, we probably are not going to last in that job for very long.
However, if I am in a job that allows me to make money while simultaneously doing something that I enjoy, I think we would agree that we have found a better fit. We can have the good things, but those good things are not necessarily the end. It is not a perfect comparison, but I hope that helps illustrate a little bit more of what I’m talking about.
We have to be careful when we take in the messages that popular culture wants to push on us and our children. It is not necessarily a bad thing to follow our hearts, but as Christians, we understand we need to be cautious and remember what our true purpose and calling is actually meant to be.