HOW TO KEEP A CLEAN HEART
It is possible to lose the blessing of a clean heart, but, thank
God, it is also gloriously possible to keep it. How to do this is a
vital question. Two or three years ago, a brother, going to the
foreign field, arose in one of my meetings and said, 'I got the
blessing three times but lost it twice. The third time I got it the
Lord taught me how to keep it through this text "As ye have
therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk ye in Him"' (Col.
That is one of the simplest and completest statements of how to keep
the blessing that can be given. The conditions of getting it are the
conditions of keeping it.
I. To keep it, there must be continued joyful and perfect
consecration. We have put all on the altar to get it. We must leave
all on the altar to keep it. 'All the tithes' must be brought into
God's house. We must present our bodies to Him as 'a living
sacrifice,' recognizing ourselves as no longer our own, but His, by
the purchase of His Blood, and ourselves as stewards only of all
that is ours. Our health and strength, our time and talent, our
money and influence, our body, mind, and spirit, all, all are His,
to be used for His glory as fully as the fondest bride would use her
all in the interest of her husband. And this consecration must keep
pace with increasing light. The journey of life is not always
through grassy lawns and flowery gardens, but often over burning,
shifting, sandy deserts, rocky steeps, fetid swamps, and dark and
tangled jungles, as the Lord leads the soul in ways it has not
known. And at such times self-interest may cry out against the
sacrifice. But if the consecration be perfect, and grounded in love,
there will be no turning back, no plunging into seductive and easy
by-paths, but a steady marching forward, if needs be to Gethsemane's
lonely agony, Pilate's judgment hall of shame, and Golgotha's dark
and awful hour. But. thank God, it will not be alone for He says,
'My presence shall go with thee.' (Exod. xxxiii. 14). Hallelujah!
II. To keep the blessing, there must be steadfast, childlike faith.
It took faith unmixed with doubt to grasp the blessing. Unbelief was
banished. Doubts were put away. The assurance of God's love in Jesus
was heartily believed. His ability and willingness to save to the
uttermost was fully accepted, and His word simply trusted when the
blessing was received; and, of course, this same faith must be
maintained in order to keep it. God cannot require less of the
sanctified man to keep the blessing than He did of the unsanctified
man to get it. Peter said, 'Who are kept by the power of God through
faith' (I Pet. i. 5). Notice it is 'the power of God that keeps us,
but it is faith that links us on to the power as the coupling links
the railway carriage to the locomotive. Faith is the coupling. Paul
said of himself, 'the life which I now live in the flesh I live by
the faith of the Son of God' (Gal. ii. 20). And again he tells us
that the Jews were cut off through unbelief, and that we stand by
We may suffer prolonged trials, great perplexities, and fierce
temptations -- they are a part of the discipline of life-but we must
Keep on believing, Jesus is near,
Keep on believing, there's nothing to fear:
Keep on believing, this is the way,
Faith in the night as well as the day.
III. To keep the blessing, we must pray to and commune much with the
Lord. We pray when we talk to God and ask Him for things. We
commune, with Him when we, are still and listen and let God talk to
us, and mold us, and show us His love and His will, and teach us in
the way He would have us go. We should pray often and not be in too
great a hurry, but 'take time to be holy' take time to 'taste and
see that the Lord is good,' and to hear what He will say. And this
we should do, if possible, in the morning, that we may be
strengthened and nourished and gladdened for the day. Backsliding
usually begins through neglected, or hurried, secret prayer.
Someone has said, 'Stay with God in prayer, stay till He melts you,
and then stay when you are melted and plead with God, and He will
answer, and you will get changed and transformed and renewed, and
you will do execution.'
IV. To keep the blessing, we must give diligent attention to the
Bible. The soul needs the food of truth, and Jesus said, 'Man shall
not live, by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of
the mouth of God.' (Matt. iv. 4) God commanded Joshua saying, 'This
book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt
meditate therein day and night.' What for? 'That thou mayest observe
to do according to all that is written therein.' And what shall
follow? 'For then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and then thou
shalt have good success.' (Josh. i. 8). Then thou shalt keep the
David said of his blessed man, 'His delight is in the law of the
Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.' (Ps. i. 2).
And Paul tells us that the Scriptures are 'profitable for doctrine,
for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that
the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished to all good
works' (2 Tim. iii. 16-17). And Peter says, 'as new born babes,
desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby' (I
Pet. ii. 2). Some professors are smaller ten years after birth than
when they were born, because they have not fed on God's word.
Catherine Booth read the Bible through several times before she was
twelve years old, and grew thereby, until it is not to be wondered
at that she became a 'mother of nations.' I once gave a talk on the
use of the Bible to my Soldiers, and some of them caught the
inspiration, and carried their Bibles in their pockets after that
and spent all the spare time they had in reading and praying, and we
could fairly see them grow, until they became powers for God, and
some of them are spiritual giants to this day.
V. To keep the blessing, we must confess it be aggressive, and seek
to get others into it. 'For with the heart man believeth unto
righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation'
(Rom. x. 10). The man who withholds his testimony to this grace will
lose it. This light, hid under a bushel, will go out. God gives it
to us that we may put it on a candle-stick and give light to all
that are in the house, in the corps, in the community, in the
nation. Don't limit the power of testimony by unbelief. A torch
loses no light and heat by lighting a thousand other torches.
Touch a piece of steel with a magnet, and it in turn becomes a
magnet. It can then be used to turn ten thousand other pieces into
magnets with no loss, but rather with increase of power to itself.
But hang it up in idleness, and it gradually loses its power. So
with us, my comrades. Let the Holy Ghost touch us with cleansing
power, and we become divine magnets, and in touching other souls we
will quicken them and get added power and clearness of experience to
ourselves. But let us withhold our testimony, and we lose our power
and, like Samson, soon find ourselves 'as other men.'
Testify, testify, testify -- clearly, definitely, constantly,
courageously, humbly -- if you would keep the blessing. When faith
is weak and devils all around, definite testimony scatters the
devils, strengthens faith and stirs up and brightens the inward
witness. Testify to the Lord, tell Him you have the blessing and
thank Him for it. Testify to your comrades. Testify to your own
heart and to the devil. John tells us that the white-robed multitude
in Heaven overcame by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their
testimony. So testify, if you would overcome and keep the blessing.
VI. To keep the blessing, we must constantly live in the spirit of
self-denial. By yielding to fleshly desires, to selfish ambitions,
to the spirit of the world, we may lose the labor of years in an
instant. The hard hand of the old enemy is ever stretched forth to
snatch from us our treasure. We must watch and pray, and keep low at
Jesus' feet in profoundest humility, if we would keep it. It is all
summed up in one word, 'walk in the spirit,' 'walk in love.'
Finally, there, must be no resting in present attainments. The Lord
has clearer revelations of Himself for us. We may be filled to the
limit of our capacity to-day, but we should ever pray, 'Oh, Lord,
enlarge the vessel,' and this we should expect. Like Paul,
'forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto
those things which are before,' we should 'press toward the mark for
the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,' (Phil. iii.
13-14), ever remembering that He 'is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think' (Eph. iii. 20). Not according to
some mysterious power to which we are strangers, but 'according to
the power that worketh in us,' the power of the Holy Ghost that
converted us and made us His 'dear children.' Hallelujah!