Follow God’s Heart
Taylor Mendoza, Pastor of Students and Young Adults
Overview: God has always cared about the heart. In Deuteronomy 9, Moses recounted the awful story of Israel’s idolatry with the golden calf. Their failure to trust God was a clear indicator that the Israelites said they loved God and wanted to keep His commandments but were ultimately following their own hearts. After the resulting judgment and punishment for idolatry, Moses went up again to the top of Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments for the second time. This time, the Lord wrote the tablets Himself and said to Moses, “Arise, go on your journey at the head of the people, so that they may go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give them” (Deuteronomy 10:11). It is here that Moses makes his case for a change of heart among God’s people.
What does it mean to follow God’s heart?
01. Following God’s heart means loving God with a full heart and walking in obedience from the heart.
Why do we follow God’s heart?
02. We follow God’s heart because of who God is, what He has done for us, and for our own good.
How do we follow God’s heart?
03. We follow God’s heart by being skeptical of the potential idols of our heart, internalizing God’s Word, and trusting in Jesus Christ for a new heart.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. How often have you heard the phrase “follow God’s heart?” Have you ever been tempted to adopt a lifestyle that resembles this phrase? Why or why not?
2. Deuteronomy 10:1-11 presents three pictures of a new beginning for Israel. Read these verses and try to spot all three. (1) God’s grace; (2) passing the baton of leadership to the next generation; (3) and renewal of the law. What is significant about these pictures as they relate to following God’s heart?
3. Puritan John Flavel once said, “The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God, and the greatest difficulty after conversion is to keep the heart with God.” According to 10:12-13, what does it mean to follow God’s heart? (Use sermon notes.)
4. In what ways have you obeyed God’s commands out of habit rather than desire? In what ways have you confessed your love for God but found your heart far away from Him? (See Mk. 7:6) What kind of people would Jesus claim these people to be?
5. What were the motivations for following God’s heart according to 10:13-18 and 11:1-7? How is goodness connected with Deut. 9:6, 10:13, and 11:8-9?
6. What fears, loves, or dreams motivate you to follow your own heart instead of following God’s heart? (Don’t be afraid to be personal and go around the group.)
7. Moses told the people of Israel in 10:16 to circumcise their hearts. What does this mean? (see 9:23-27 esp. verse 27 “stubbornness”) In order to dig deeper, spend some time looking at the following passages of Scripture (Gen. 17:1-7; Deut. 30:6; Jer. 4:4; 9:25-26; Rom. 2:28)
8. John Flavel helps us to think through two practical ways that we can follow God’s heart; his quotes are below. What is helpful about each?
a. Internalizing the Word: “Keep the Word, and the Word will keep you. Just as first receiving the Word regenerates your heart, so keeping the Word within you will preserve your heart.”
b. Being skeptical of idolatry in the heart: “The heart is a hungry and restless thing; it will have something to feed upon. If it enjoys nothing from God, it will hunt for something among the creation, and there it often loses itself as well as its purpose.”
9. What would success look like if you followed God’s heart perfectly? What would it look like if Northpoint Church collectively followed God’s heart together? (Use your imagination! Although no one is perfect, begin to think about what the Lord could do by the power of the Holy Spirit!)
10. Finally, read and then pray through Psalm 73 as a group. Ask the Lord to help you follow His heart instead of your own.
For Further Reading:
Craig Troxel, With All Your Heart: Orienting Your Mind, Desires, and Will toward Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020)
John Flavel, Keeping Your Heart: In Modern English, updated by Jason Roth.