Keeping Your Heart before God: Wisdom from John Flavel

Six Ways to Keep Your Heart before God

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this…” (1 Tim. 4:16a); And… “Is it I, Lord?” (Mark 14:19).

  1. Converse with your heart. Listen to what it is saying, both evil and good. Where is it disputing with God? Where is it joyful? What is making it joyful? Where is it angry, vengeful, bitter, lusting? What is it resisting, fearing, loving too much?

    “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
    “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” – Psalm 139:23-24

  2. Let the evils of your hearts grieve and humble you. God allows us to see the evil that still remains in our hearts to humble us, and to make us more dependent upon Him. Where can self-righteousness and pride spread out in your heart, when you see the evil that still remains, and your desperate need of God’s grace in Christ?!

    “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7
    “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?!” – Romans 7:24
    “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” – John 21:17

  3. Pray for grace. This is what we need, isn’t it—more grace??! There’s a place for guilt when we see the evils of our sin, so that we will not be tempted to think that we are without sin, or have no real conflict on our hands, and we can confess our sins, knowing He is faithful and just to forgive us and restore us.

    “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret…” – 2 Corinthians 7:10
    “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:8-9

  4. Resolve to walk more carefully God. We are here on this earth ultimately for God’s glory and the enjoyment of Him. When we see the deeper needs we have for Him, let us seek to repent of our indifference, apathy, and ingratitude, and seek to live soberly, and to watch and pray.

    “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you…” – Job 42:5
    “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Mark 14:38
    “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” – Luke 21:34

  5. Be jealous (zealous!) for holiness and afraid of sin. Pursue holiness, stretching forth yourself agonizingly, reaching to the goal of taking hold of Christ Jesus more completely in your life, because He has taken hold of you! Remember that each sin has enough danger in each drop of sin to ignite all of hell on fire, to provoke God to manifest His just and eternal wrath, and to destroy lives and people.

    “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” – Hebrews 12:14
    “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14

  6. Be aware of God’s omniscience. Be the same person publicly that you are privately, because the same God sees all things. Let Him be pleased by your life in Christ. You are a His child in Christ, and He wants to say: “This is my Beloved Son,” not only with regard to your justification, but also in the fruits of your sanctification.

    “The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man…” – Psalm 33:13

    “For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.” – Job 34:21

In Christ’s love,
Pastor Biggs