Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2 The Word of God Our Necessary Instrument for Heartwork

Flavel closes his 'Keeping the Heart' with several means toward the end of keeping, watching and renovating the heart. The first of these is the foremost - the one without which keeping the heart is impossible.
Would you thus keep your hearts as hath been persuaded? Then furnish your hearts richly with the word of God, which is their best preservation against sin.

Keep the word, and the word will keep you: as the first receiving of the word regenerated your hearts, so the keeping of the word within you will preserve your hearts: Col. iii.16 - "Let the word of God dwell richly in you:" Let it dwell, not tarry with you, in its commands, promises, threats; in all that is in you, in your understandings, memories, consciences, affections, and then it will preserve your hearts; Psalm cxix.11 - "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." It is the slipperiness of our hearts in reference to the word, that causes so many slips in our lives. Conscience cannot be urged or awed with forgotten truths; but keep it in the heart, and it will keep both heart and life upright; Psalm xxxvii.31 - "The law of his God is in his heart: none of his steps shall slide;" or if he do, the word will recover the straying heart again; Matt. xxvi.57 - "Then Peter remembered the word of Jesus, and wept bitterly." We never lose our hearts, till they have first lost the efficacious and powerful impression of the word. (Volume 5, page 504-5, Complete Works of John Flavel, Banner of Truth)
How can one call to mind the teaching of Scripture amidst our walk and in the face of temptation, if it isn't hidden in the heart? Why do we see, time and again, the Scriptural command to know the Word of God and to keep it - not just to obey it, but to keep it, within? The ability of the human mind to hold onto words is a powerful tool God has granted us to order and guide our lives... we seem to have little problem memorizing contemporary songs, or sayings - why not install the powerful, living and active sword of the Lord in our bosoms? If we have that word in our memory's grasp, we have hope that it will guide and correct us as we are able to recall it.

I see no other means to instilling this Word in our hearts and minds than by daily reading, study and meditation. That is the call to us from Psalm 1, Psalm 119 and Joshua 1, as well as other places wherein meditation, consideration and contemplation of God's Holy and awesome Word is set before us as our duty and our joy. How wonderful it is to know and consider that God Himself has granted us the great gift of His own Word to guide, direct, inspire and correct? We are not left without His wisdom and truth, to some how flail about like Plato's men, trying to find direction? Instead we are handed, by His grace, THE truth and ALL wisdom! It is thus FOLLY to ignore, neglect, and fail to study deeply God's Holy Word. It is not only necessary for our growth and our guidance, but it is good - sweet - and wonderful to our very souls.

Flavel points out to us the value of God's Word for correction and inspection of the heart - a duty he has pressed on us from the beginning of this marvelous treatise - and one for which, he reminds us, we are equipped through the Scriptures. Let us not neglect God's great gift, but instead make it our joy to let the Word of truth dwell richly among and in us. As we remember the gift of Christ... let us not forget the gift of the written Word, or let it lie idle - but store it up as a treasure of innumerable talents of gold in our hearts.


Reformed Renegade said...

Excellent! Flavel and especially his Keeping The Heart are my favorites. Great blog!

Todd said...

Thanks :) Flavel is gold. I'm blessed to be able to own his works, and to have a good friend to read Flavel together with and bounce our reflections back and forth...


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