Retain My Word

by Frank Jones


He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.(Proverbs 4:4)

A believer can readily slip into a routine of morning "devotions" that does not affect the heart and life. The context of our text is an exhortation of a father to his son. Do not neglect my instructions. Bury my commandments in your soul. Obey them and live.

What is true for a natural father to his son is paralleled with our heavenly Father and His children. We can get into a rut of reading the Word of God and not engrafting those words into our soul. We can pray but without heart (spirit). We can speak of the Lord but our hearts are far away from Him. Brethren, if we worship Him we must worship in spirit and in truth. The Words of God plus soul earnestness must be involved and affected. We are to love the Lord with all our mind, soul, and strength.

No doubt that this spirit of dullness can affect the pulpit as well. John Owen spoke of the necessary work of the Word illumined in our souls.

No man preaches that sermon well to others that doth not first preach it to his own heart; for, unless he finds the power of it in his own heart, he cannot have any confidence that it will have power in the hearts of others. It is an easier thing to bring our heads to preach than our hearts to preach.
— John Owen. Works, vol. 9, 455.

Whether a person in the pew is called to be a "voice" of witness or a man of God is called to be a "voice" in a pulpit, we must exercise ourselves unto godliness. Our devotions must not be an item on our checklist but an exercise of a heart full of love towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Brethren, we must realize that in this body of sin - it will be an exercise. Sometimes it will be easy to flame the heart of love, but generally it will be an exercise that ends with the heart cry for deliverance from this body of death. Truly the Lord cries out from heaven above - my son, give me thine heart (Proverbs 23:26a).