The Surrender of the Heart
William Nicholson, 1862
"My son, give me your heart!" Proverbs 23:26
Proverbs are short — yet weighty sentences; hence we are not always to expect any connection, either of sense or sentences, in this book. Other parts of Scripture are like a rich mine, while the precious ore runs along in one continued vein; but the "Proverbs "are like a heap of detached pearls — yet possessing equal excellence and value.
The Book of Proverbs was written in Solomon's old age, and is chiefly addressed to young people, whom he frequently admonished not to forget God, nor to offer to him the mere refuse of life, but to consecrate to him the heart in the morning of their life. The text is the claim of Divine Wisdom, speaking through Solomon, for the surrender of the heart — and happy are they who yield it! Proverbs 8:32-36.
I. What Is Required?"The Heart."
This word "heart" sometimes refers to:
the mind, or understanding, Proverbs 10:8; Hosea 1:11;
the memory, Psalm 119:11, 36;
the conscience, 1 John 3:20;
the will and affections, Deuteronomy 6:5.
In the text it means the soul with all its powers.
Observe 1.This soul is immortal. It is the offspring of God — formed for God and eternity — capable of inconceivable happiness or misery. It is of immense value.
2.This soul is awfully depraved and desperately wicked! Jeremiah 17:9. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander!" Matthew 15:19. The heart is carnal — enmity against God — perpetrates evil. Hence this precious jewel has been marred by sin, etc.
3.This soul is exposed to the righteous displeasure of God. His curse is upon it — the soul therefore must be eternally miserable.
4.The soul while in this state is possessed by God's rivals. Satan has taken possession of it, and cruel, dark, and miserable is his dominancy. Business absorbs the use of its faculties — or it is a devotee at the shrine of wealth — pleasure fascinates it — or it adores the creature. Matthew 10:37. It is lover of pleasure, more than a lover of God.
This is the heart, or soul, which God asks for. "Give me your heart." Not the body only. Not outward performances merely. Not the shell, but the kernel — not the casket, but the jewel; "give me your heart." Not merely your ear, tongue, or head, money, and property, but your heart!
II. The Claimant.It is God. No other has a right to have it, or to ask for it.
1.God is the Proprietor of the heart. He made it, and all its powers, and none else can render it happy. It never can be happy, until he repossesses it.
2.God is your Benefactor. Has provided for your wants, guarded you from danger, and preserved you from death.
3.God is your Savior. He died to save it — how he suffered, etc. What a deliverance he wrought — what blessings he purchased!
Mark his earnestness to save you. He knocks at the door of your heart, etc. Although he is worshiped by angels — and though, as the all-sufficient God, he could dispense with your heart — yet still he pleads, "My son, give me your heart!"
4.God is your judge, and what will you do when he shall judge you — with your heart given to another? O my son, give Me your heart, and bid the world, and Satan, and pleasure, and the creature — to possess it no longer.
III. For What Purpose Does God Require the Heart to Be Given?
1. That he may enlighten it, Ephesians 5:14. He will give it clear and proper views of sin, as the transgression of the law — and of Christ as a Savior — and of the way of salvation.
2. That he may pardon all its sins, and remove all its guilt, making it free from all condemnation.
3. That he may regenerate it, and re-stamp it with his image.
4. That he may make it happy — with peace — with the love of Christ in the joy in the Holy Spirit — and give it the hope of immortality.
5. That he may qualify it for usefulness in his vineyard.
6. That he may eternally save it, and place it as a bright gem in the Savior's mediatorial crown!
IV. The Way in Which the Heart Is to Be Surrendered.
It will be the result of conviction — it must be given in the exercise of faith in the great Mediator as the only way to the Father. Surrendered at the foot of the cross, the surrender will be characterized by much humility, contrition, and sorrow. It must be done with cheerfulness, promptitude, and thankfulness. Give it wholly to him.
Surrender the heart now. While the heart is soft — while the mental powers are strong — while there are so many facilities, etc.
V. The Surrender of the Heart Is Highly Important.The heart is his by right, and not to comply would be rebellion and insult to God.
To give the heart to God, would be a manifestation of his power, and would tend to his glory.
Self-interest requires this surrender. It is to save the soul from damnation. It is to have a title to an eternal and incorruptible inheritance, etc. etc.
All religious duties and good works, however costly, without the heart, will be rejected. The best of men — the most useful, have been those who have given their hearts to God in early life, and consecrated to him the prime of their being.