Home > C. H. Spurgeon, quotes > How to Keep the Heart: Lessons From Charles Spurgeon

How to Keep the Heart: Lessons From Charles Spurgeon


Proverbs 4:23 is often mentioned as one of the key verses in Proverbs:  Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.  Dan Philips at the Pyromaniacs blog, for instance, has noted that the real issue isn’t necessarily our mouth and our speech, but the heart and what flows out from it.

Some of my recent Spurgeon reading included a set of two sermons delivered on the same day in 1858 (the morning and evening services), “The Great Reservoir” and “How to Keep the Heart.”    In the first of these messages Spurgeon used a metaphor of the city’s waterwork system, a great way to illustrate the important things necessary for London’s 19th century public water system — and needful in our own lives as well.  Following are the ways to keep the heart:

I.  Keep the Heart Full:  continually draw your life and whole being from God, in communion with him:

A full-hearted man is always a powerful man—if he is erroneous, then he is powerful for error. If the thing is in his heart, he is sure to make it notorious even though it may be a downright lie! Let a man be ever so ignorant, still if his heart is full of love to a cause, he becomes a powerful man for that objective because he has got heart-power, heart-force! … Let him have a heart that is right full up to the brim with an objective and that man will do the thing, or else he will die gloriously defeated and will glory in his defeat! HEART IS POWER. It is the emptiness of men’s hearts that makes them so feeble. But the man in business that goes heart and soul into his business is more likely to prosper than anybody else.

How are we to do this?  Spurgeon includes the following advice:

If you continually draw your impulse, your life—the whole of your being from the Holy Spirit, without whom you can do nothing—and if you live in close communion with Christ—there will be no fear of your having a dry heart! He who lives without prayer—he who lives with little prayer—he who seldom reads the Word—he who seldom looks up to Heaven for a fresh influence from on high—he will be the man whose heart will become dry and barren! But he who calls in secret on his God—who spends much time in holy retirement—who delights to meditate on the Words of the Most High—whose soul is given up to Christ—who delights in His fullness, rejoices in His all-sufficiency, prays for His second coming and delights in the thought of His glorious advent—such a man, I say, must have an overflowing heart!

II.  Keep the Heart Pure:  the cross is what keeps our hearts pure.

Love your Savior more! Cry to the Holy Spirit that you may have more affection for Jesus! And then, however terrible may be your sin, you will say with the poet,  “Now for the love I bear His name, What was my gain I count my loss.  My former pride I call my shame, And nail my glory to His Cross.”

III. Keep Your Heart Peaceable and Quiet

Keep your heart in good temper. Do not let that get to fighting with you. Seek that the peace of God which passes all understanding may keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Bend your knees at night and with a full confession of sin express your faith in Christ. Then you may “dread the grave as little as your bed.” Rise in the morning and give your heart to God and put the sweet angels of perfect love and holy faith therein and you may go into the world and were it full of lions and of tigers, you would no more need to dread it than Daniel when he was cast into the lion’s den! Keep the heart peaceable and your life will be happy.

Peaceable:  we must ask the Holy Spirit to pacify the heart. No voice but that which on Galilee’s lake said to the storm, “Be still,” can ever lay the troubled waters of a stormy heart. No strength but Omnipotence can still the tempest of human nature.

IV.  Keep Your Heart Undivided:

You must not give half your love to Christ and the other half to the world. No man can serve God and mammon because there is not enough life in the heart to serve the two. Alas, many people try this and they fail both ways. … Give yourself unreservedly to Him! Keep not back part of the price. Make a full surrender of every motion of your heart—labor to have but one objective and one aim. And for this purpose give God the keeping of your heart. Cry out for more of the Divine influences of the Holy Spirit so that when your soul is preserved and protected by Him, it may be directed into one channel and only one —that your life may run deep and pure and clear and peaceful—its only banks being God’s will, its only channel the love of Christ and a desire to please Him!

V.  Keep Your Heart Full of Rich Things:

Never, never neglect the Word of God that will make your heart rich with precept, rich with understanding! And then your conversation, when it flows from your month, will be like your heart—rich and savory. Make your heart full of rich, generous love and then the stream that flows from your hands will be just as rich and generous as your heart. Above all, get Jesus to live in your heart and then out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water—more rich, more satisfying than the water of the well of Sychar of which Jacob drank. Oh, go, Christian, to the great mine of riches and cry unto the Holy Spirit to make your heart rich unto salvation! So shall your life and conversation be a gift to your fellows.

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