Keeping the Heart

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John Flavel's book Keeping The Heart did not disappoint. This book is not for the name it claim it crowd of modern evangelicalism but for the true child of God who needs to be reminded to "check thyself before ye wreck thyself". Steeped in Scripture, doctrine, reproof, correction, exhortation, this devotional has it all. I My goal in is to read some of the timeless "Christian Classics" that have made an impact on the body of Christ and are heralded as the best works in Christian literature.

I'll leave you with an excerpt that rang my bell. That the pains and labours which many persons have undergone in religion are of no value, and will turn to no good account. Many splendid services have been performed by men, which God will utterly reject: they will not stand on record in order to an eternal acceptance, because the performers took no heed to keep their hearts with God. This is that fatal rock on which thousands of vain professors dash and ruin themselves eternally; they are exact about the externals of religion, but regardless of their hearts.

O how many hours have some professors spent in hearing, praying, reading and conferring! And yet, as to the main end of religion, they might as well have sat still and done nothing, the great work, I mean heart-work, being all the while neglected. Tell me, vain professor, when did you shed a tear for the deadness, hardness, unbelief or earthliness of your heart? And do you think your easy religion can save you? If so, you must invert Christ's words, and say, Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to life, and many there be that go in thereat.

Hear me, ye self-deluding hypocrite; you who have put off God with heartless duties; you who have acted in religion as if you had been blessing an idol; you who could not search your heart, and regulate it, and exercise it in your performances; how will you abide the coming of the Lord? How could you profess religion? With what face could you so often tell me that you loved me, when you knew in your conscience that your heart was not with me? O tremble to think what a fearful judgment it is to be given over to a heedless and careless heart, and then to have religions duties instead of a rattle to quiet and still the conscience!

Keeping the Heart. Kindle Edition. Oct 23, Steve Hazell rated it really liked it. The only reason I withheld a 5, is due to the monotony of the situations when the heart needs to be guarded. It seemed to go on and on. And yet, perhaps the monotony is aimed at causing the reader to realize, that there never seems to be a moment in life when the heart does not need to be kept. I think most would be hard-pressed to identify a moment in life when they couldn't identify with one of the issues that Flavel unpacked. Very helpful. Very insightful. Jun 19, Timothy rated it it was amazing Shelves: read This is a very pastorally written book.

I hope to refer back to it when I'm in times of need of keeping my heart. We all know that we need to "keep the heart" in all circumstances but Flavel carefully and lovingly gives reasons for each situation. Jan 05, Edward Joseph LaRow rated it it was amazing. View 1 comment. Flavel is a joy to read. He challenges the Christian yet writes with so much love. This book serves as a good reminder why the Christian must always be diligent in matters of the heart.

There were some good things here and there, but overall it was very lacking in grace and gentleness. It was very strongly worded and harsh at times and ended up sounding quite legalistic. First two chapters are great. Third felt out of place. Nonetheless, this is an excellent little book on the importance of a right heart. May 06, Helen Griffin rated it it was amazing. A very helpful book about how to maintain your love for God, read a few pages a day but very worthwhile.

Dec 12, Stephen Drew rated it really liked it. This is a wonderful short book on one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of Christian living. John Flavel addresses the great importance of why we need to keep our hearts, in what seasons we need to be most aware of keeping our hearts, and gives instruction in how to keep our hearts all based around Proverbs Although I enjoyed this book as a whole, I particularly appreciated the opening few chapters and the final chapter which assess the why question.

The middle of the This is a wonderful short book on one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of Christian living. The middle of the book addresses different seasons in which we need to be most attentive to keeping our hearts and although very good insights are given unless you are going through one of those seasons they do not deeply resonate, at least many of them did not with me.

One thing I think is not the best teaching, as is the case with much of puritan writing is the lack of emphasis on our new identity in Christ. Most of the teaching is about our depravity and our need for repentance but almost nowhere is mentioned how we are seating at the right hand of God and new creations already.

The teaching very much is "here is your sin, now obey by believing this. Here are my three big idea take away a 1. The uttermost importance of keeping the heart This is the concept that Flavel begins and ends with. That the crux of all Christian living is keeping the heart. That is, being aware of where our affections stay from God and how sin is seeking to gain a hold in our lives. When not keeping the heart all kinds of hypocrisy is produced.

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The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be principally fixed upon it. 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. Here lies the very force and stress of religion; here is that which makes the way to life a narrow way, and the gate of heaven a strait gate.

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How to keep the heart "1. Frequent observation of the frame of the heart. It includes deep humiliation for heart evils and disorders 3.

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It includes earnest supplication and instant prayer for purifying and rectifying grace when sin has defiled and disordered the heart. It includes the imposing of strong engagement upon ourselves to walk more carefully with God, and avoid the occasions whereby the heart may be induced to sin.

Well advised and deliberate vows are, in some cases, very useful to guard the heart against some special sin. It includes a constant and holy jealousy over our onto hearts. It includes the realising of God's presence with us, and setting the Lord always before us.

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It is hard work but the most necessary work 1. It is the hardest work. It is a constant work. The keeping of the heart is a work that is never done till life is ended. It is the most important business of a Christian's life. The careless heart is an easy prey to Satan in the hover of temptation; his principal batteries are raised against the heart; if he wins that he wins all, for it commands the whole man: and alas!

It is not more difficult to surprise such a heart, than for an enemy to enter that city whose gates are open and unguarded. Mar 11, Jeremiah Tan rated it it was amazing. Above all else, guard your heart. Feb 11, Mike E. That aside, this book will help believers who desire to love God --in their hearts. Flavel describes various conditions of life--from prosperity to persecution, from depression to seasons of blessing. He provides wisdom for believers to "keep their hearts" in these various seasons of life. The emphasis of the book is how to love God in the prayer closet and in the quiet places of the soul--not life in community.

Quotes: Outward sins are sins of greater infamy; but heart sins are sins of deeper guilt. In what words could the abhorrence of the creature's actions be more fully expressed by the holy God? Murder and idolatry are not more vile in his account then their sacrifices, though materially such as himself appointed: and what made them so? The following words inform us, "their soul delighteth in their abominations.

Indeed, if he had cut off his love, or discovenanted my soul, I had reason to be cast down; but this he hath not, he cannot do. If you indeed love the creature for itself; if you make it your end, and religion but a means, then the conclusion is lightly drawn against you. But if you love the creature in reference to God, and see nothing in it separated from him, though sometimes your affections offend in the excess, this is consistent with sincere love to God. Though the world be in your hands, let it not banish Christ out of your hearts. Possibly my favorite Flavel work so far. Flavel opens by addressing 'the keeping of the heart'--what it means and why it matters for Flavel, this essentially boils down to spiritual health or a heart centered on faith in the gospel and rightly related to God.

He examines twelve 'seasons' in which the keeping of the heart is particularly challenging, and offers encouragement and counsel for keeping the heart in each one. Flavel admonishes hypocrites those who do not keep the heart, but only pr Possibly my favorite Flavel work so far. Flavel admonishes hypocrites those who do not keep the heart, but only preserve outward appearances , and then lists various motives and means for those who would keep their hearts well.

While the whole work is excellent, Flavel's discussion of the twelve seasons was particularly convicting and encouraging. This list includes such circumstances as prosperity, adversity, when troubles assail the Church, public danger wars, etc. In other words, pretty much any situation any Christian could ever be in, any time, anywhere.

Whatever your issue, there's an app for that. There is a lot of repetition, as many of the encouragements are the same across these varied situations, but the substance is incredibly meaty. Flavel avoids the temptation to offer empty comfort or platitudes--his words are based on reality and Scripture, not warm, fuzzy feelings. For example, he points out that if you really are in desperate want of something you cannot live without, you should be encouraged because your want will be of short duration--God will either meet your need, or you will die.

Either way, the period of want is not long. No 'God will make it better' talk for him--just practical, realistic, biblical wisdom. Flavel repeatedly points to the gospel as the source of all solace--the gift of our salvation outweighs any hardship or circumstance, and no matter how bad things are, we deserve worse. The text is littered with references to Scripture, and it is on this rock that Flavel builds his arguments and exhortations. He promises only what Scripture promises, and no more.

Thus each encouragement is based on the full heft of God's own faithfulness. This is no 'hang in there' kitty poster. This is real, solid, substantive encouragement, and Christians everywhere would benefit from Flavel's unflinching perspective on their circumstances. Definitely a book that's going on my re-reading list. I read this work in [book:The Works of John Flavel ] Volume 5 , but wanted to review it separately. Sep 07, Brian rated it really liked it Shelves: gospel , sin-and-temptation , devotional , christian-living , spiritual-warfare.

This is the first book I've read by Flavel but won't be my last. So much meat here that a lifetime could be spent reading and re-reading this text. Flavel, a puritan, is trying to get the christian to understand that of the many issues we face, keeping the heart protected, and directed toward God and his gospel message is most important. I believe some of the other versions of this book are abridged, but this was quite lengthy. I probably took longer than I do on most Christian books because of This is the first book I've read by Flavel but won't be my last.

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I probably took longer than I do on most Christian books because of the depth through-out. I was impressed with his insight into the human spirit and humbled by what can become of a man who walks with God in repentence. I leave you with Flavels summation of his intent in the book. To keep the heart then, is carefully to preserve it from sin, which disorders it; and maintain that spiritual frame which fits it for a life of communion with God.

Duties Included in Keeping the Heart This includes in it six particulars: 1. The heart can never be kept until its case be examined and understood. It includes deep humiliation for heart evils and disorders; so the upright heart cannot be at rest till it has wept out its troubles and poured out its complaints before the Lord.

It includes the imposing of strong engagements upon ourselves to walk more carefully with God, and avoid the occasions whereby the heart may be induced to sin. It includes a constant and holy jealousy over our own hearts. Quick sighted self-jealousy is an excellent preservative from sin.

Happy is the man that thus feareth always. By this fear of the Lord it is that men depart from evil, shake off sloth, and preserve themselves from iniquity. This the people have found a powerful means of keeping their hearts upright, and awing them from sin. John Flavel is a very readable Puritan. As with most Puritans, his writing is very vivid and penetrating. After opening the book by discussing the heart, and what he intends by "keeping" it the majority of the book is given to admonitions tailored to specific seasons when this is necessary e.

I did not find him repetitious, rather I found each application flowed from a keen insight. Near the end he laments and admonishes: O that I might see the time when professors shall not walk in a vain show; when they shall please themselves no more with a name to live, while they are spiritually dead; when they shall be no more a company of frothy, vain persons; but when holiness shall shine in their conversation, and awe the world, and command reverence from all that are around them; when they shall warm the heart of those who come near them, and cause it to be said, God is in these men of a truth.

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And may such a time be expected? Until heart-work becomes the business of professors, I have no hope of seeing a time so blessed! Does it not grieve you to see how religion is contemned and trampled under foot, and the professors of it ridiculed and scorned in the world? Professors, would you recover your credit?

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  5. Would you obtain an honorable testimony in the consciences of your very enemies? Then keep your hearts. This is a book that I intend to reread on a regular basis. I think it has landed on my books to mostly strongly recommend list. Outstanding thorough read! Have not read many Puritan authors before. Was pleasantly surprised and challenged in this short read!

    Infused with Scripture and presented in a direct, straight-forward manner, Flavel zeroes in on what should be one of the key focuses of a Christian - that of keeping one's heart with all diligence. I highlighted and marked many a statement from this book. The author lists and expounds upon special times in life when one ought to give special attention to the keeping of Outstanding thorough read! The time of prosperity 2. Instead we mostly ignore them, hoping that they keep going okay, much like the engine in a car to most of us with little mechanical knowledge.

    Only when the warning light begins to blink on the dashboard do we give any attention to that which drives everything. We know that the heart is the place we need to look. We know that a change needs to take place in our heart. So how do we do it? But that should not lead us to despair. We have a living God who has taken up residence in us by his Spirit. The Spirit is the skilful surgeon applying his work to the core of our being. That is precisely what God does for those who call out to him. By his mercy and grace he restores the joy of his salvation to those who need his goodness, and transforms us.

    The heart of the matter is indeed the matter of the heart, and we have a Saviour who is able to deal with the matter of the heart and make it new again. Thank you Dan. Articulate, pertinent and helpful. I hope you guys are doing well in the Big Smoke! Skip to content. What we need to do is echo the words of David from Psalm

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