Just follow your heart. You just need to believe in yourself.

How many times have you been given one of these clichés for advice? Chances are…a lot!

Especially nowadays, they seem to be everywhere, on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and of course, all over social media. It makes sense why culture gravitates towards these ideas. They appeal to our human nature; the side of us that wants to believe we’re in control. The idea that we can take matters into our own hands and pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. If we believe it enough, we can achieve anything.

It all sound nice.  But in actuality, they’re lies. At best, they are pithy, superficial clichés. At worst, they are unbiblical ways of thinking that is creeping into the church and into the vernacular of many Christians today.

And while I’m sure they’re often said with the best of intention, as followers of Christ we need to learn to go to God’s Word to see what God really says on these matters instead of perpetuating these ideas. Otherwise we will lack the biblical knowledge and understanding we need to know when—and why—these expressions are wrong.

Some catchphrase, written in pretty script and set against a photo of a sunset on Instagram may be motivational—but it will never transform your life. Because there’s no power it. Only the Bible has the power to change your life; and that’s why we must learn to go to Scripture as our source of hope, encouragement and motivation.

Self-help, self-love, self-esteem will always fall short.

It can’t deliver what it promises to give you. Why? Because the emphasis is on you and your ability, instead of on God’s. Phrases like, “You are enough”… “Never forget how wildly capable you are…” or this:

“She believed she could…and so she did!” A lot of people must think this one is in the Bible. When you type it into the search bar, the auto-complete that Google suggests is, “She believed she could, so she did…Bible verse.”

Nope. Not in the Bible. But you know what is?

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” – Luke 1:45 NIV

Where do we find the promises of God? In the Bible!

We need to go to God’s Word as the source of authority in our life.  We need to spend time studying what God says in it, learning how to apply it to our lives, and then doing so. Because it’s not enough to know the Bible if you don’t do what it says.

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Then again, “You are My friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14).

Do you love Jesus? Do you want Him to call you His friend? Do what He says in His Word.  And remember that the writer of Hebrews tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). God’s Word doesn’t change. It doesn’t evolve with time in order to fit with whatever culture and society says is now acceptable.

What God calls right and wrong is still right and wrong. No matter how we may feel about the subject. No matter what culture tells us. No matter what our own heart and mind tries to tell us is okay.

This is where the advice to follow your heart starts to fall apart. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

So no. Don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus. Don’t settle for “believe in yourself” when you can believe God and what He says in His Word—about you, and about Himself!

When difficult, dark moments come in life, will statements like “remember how wildly capable you are” give you the hope and peace you so desperately need? Will reminding yourself that “you are enough” bring you strength? Only if the one you’re addressing in that statement is Jesus—because He is enough.

The only thing that will bring you comfort and peace in those moments, and the motivation to carry on through all the others, is the very Word of God.