“Give Me Thine Heart”

“For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.” “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” —Proverbs 4:2; 23:26

JEHOVAH possesses infinite power to create and control the universe, but he does not use that power to coerce his intelligent creatures to obey him. Instead, he sets before them the opportunity of doing his will, and lets them make their own decisions. It was thus with our first parents in the Garden of Eden. It was the same with typical Israel, to whom it was said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Josh. 24:15) It is in keeping with this principle that our Heavenly Father is dealing with the followers of the Master now.

But while our devotion to God is on an entirely voluntary basis, the Scriptures make it plain that in view of the marvelous things the Lord has done for us, he looks for and expects our love and devotion in return. As our texts indicate, he gives us the truth, good doctrine, with all that it includes and implies, and then he asks us to give him our hearts. When we give the Lord our hearts we give him our all, even life itself. This is what the Heavenly Father expects of us, and nothing short of full heart devotion will merit his well done at the end of the way.

God does not expect a blind, unintelligent devotion to him. He seeks a worship and devotion which is based upon the truth, a worship that is in Spirit and in truth. That is why he first enlightens those whom he invites to give their hearts to him. This enlightenment, while it continually increases as we study to show ourselves more and more approved unto God, is, nevertheless, adequate even before consecration to constitute a vision of God’s love, and to inspire us with a desire to know him better and to serve him faithfully. David declares, “God is the Lord, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” Here, in the symbolic language of the typical sacrifices, our devotion to God is shown to follow, and to be the result of, our receiving the light.—Ps. 118:27

Isaiah Sees the LORD

The Prophet Isaiah tells of having seen the Lord, and that he was “high and lifted up.” (Isa. 6:1) The prophet was greatly inspired by this vision. In it he heard the Lord inquiring, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” This is the question that our Heavenly Father puts to each one of us, when, through the truth, he permits us to see the beauties of his character, high and lifted up. This is the purpose of revealed truth. It is God’s method of inspiring us with the desire and determination to lay down our lives in devotion to him. He does not coerce us into serving him, but if we are truly inspired by the vision our reaction will be like that of Isaiah, who replied, “Here am I; send me.”—Isa. 6:8

If through the truth we see God in the beauty of his holiness, the effect upon us will be the same as it was upon Isaiah; that is, it will cause us to realize our own sinfulness and unworthiness. Isaiah said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” God knew that Isaiah was a man of unclean lips, but he wanted the prophet to realize it also. And he also wanted him to know that it was only because of the provision for cleansing by means of the coal from the altar, that he could render acceptable service to the God whom he saw so high and lifted up.

Is it not also thus with us? One of the first effects of the truth should be to make us realize our own sinfulness, that we are members of a fallen and dying race, hence cannot of ourselves render acceptable service to God no matter how much we may be inspired to do so. Unless we learn this lesson from God’s Word, he cannot use us in his service. But learning it, we also discover, even as Isaiah did, that God has made provision for our cleansing. With us that cleansing comes through the blood of Christ. The fundamental facts relating to it constitutes a part of the good doctrine which the Lord has given us.

What a marvelous provision! How humble it should make us, and thankful, too, that the God of the universe has not only inspired us with the desire to serve him, but has made provisions whereby, despite our imperfections, we can serve him acceptably. No wonder the apostle admonishes, “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” (II Cor. 6:1) Yes, beloved, the fact that it is only by God’s grace that we are permitted to devote our lives to him, is one of the most important things revealed to us by the truth. And this, in no small degree, should contribute to the inspiration to faithfulness that comes to us through the knowledge of God which the truth reveals.

Divine Authority

While the truth inspires us with a desire to serve the Lord, there may be a question as to whether we have proper authority to aspire to such an honorable and exalted position. Surely we cannot take this honor unto ourselves. Not even Jesus assumed such honor. (Heb. 5:4) Here also, however, truth’s vision reveals a further manifestation of divine grace. Not only does the Lord provide us with the robe of Christ’s righteousness, enabling us to render acceptable service, but he also gives us of his Spirit to equip us for that service. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit in our lives is anointing, or authorizing us for his service.

Of Jesus and his body members it is prophetically stated, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”—Isa. 61:1-3

The anointing of the Spirit came first upon Jesus, and each one of his followers receives it in turn, as he is inducted into his body. The Apostle John says, “The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (I John 2:27) From this we learn not only that we come under the anointing which Jesus received, but also that in authorizing us to be co-workers with Christ, God also gives us the necessary knowledge in order that we may be workers “that needeth not to be ashamed.”—II Tim. 2:15

This twofold thought of the anointing or authorization for service is well illustrated by the present-day custom of issuing diplomas of competency to physicians and others when they have successfully completed a course at college. Such diplomas are certificates of authorization to serve in the particular field to which they apply. These certificates, however, also give assurance that certain knowledge has been acquired. So it is with the anointing of the Spirit, for it indicates that by God’s grace we have acquired certain necessary knowledge in order that we may serve acceptably and efficiently.

Here, then, is a further provision of God’s grace. He has given us a diploma authorizing us to represent him, and to be coworkers with his Son. It is difficult to grasp the magnitude of divine grace that is manifested in such a provision as this. Anyone would properly prize very highly a diploma of efficiency he might receive from one or more of the world’s outstanding centers of learning, such as Harvard, or Yale, or Oxford. But think how much more wonderful it is to possess a diploma authorizing us to represent the God of the universe! Such is the provision of the Spirit’s anointing. Thereby we have been made “stewards of the mysteries of God,” and “it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.”—I Cor. 4:1,2

Spirit Begetting

The vision of truth which we have received reveals that the principal part of our work for God will be after we have finished our sacrificial course this side of the veil. From this standpoint, our present service is somewhat in the nature of an apprenticeship, by which we are being prepared to share in the future work of the kingdom. Faithfulness now involves the sacrifice of our flesh and its interests, a complete sacrifice, in fact, even unto death. It also means the giving up of our hope for restitution. In lieu of this, God begets us by his Spirit to a new hope of life.

The begetting of the Holy Spirit is the beginning of a new life, and is a further manifestation of divine grace by which we are provided with all things necessary in order to render acceptable service to our Heavenly Father. Like other functions of the Holy Spirit, the begetting power reaches us largely through the Word of truth. Not only has the Father made provision for this beginning of a new life in us, but in his Word is all the necessary spiritual food by which the new creature is nourished and enabled to grow in grace and knowledge and strength, until it is finally ready for birth into the glory of the Father’s presence.

Here again, God’s grace goes far beyond our comprehension! To begin with, we were members of a dying race, the fallen and condemned children of Adam. But we are cleansed through the blood of Jesus and begotten to a new nature, and if faithful will one day be taken into the immediate family of God on the divine plane. All of this is not because we have anything of value to offer to the Lord, but because of his provision for us—a provision ample to enable us to attain such heights of glory. Can anyone who grasps the import of this truth consider it commonplace, or treat his opportunity with indifference?

Sealing of the Spirit

God’s gift of the Holy Spirit also seals us. In Ephesians 1:13, the apostle speaks of being “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” This is a lucid statement of what the sealing of the Spirit implies. It is a further function of God’s power, reaching us through the Word of truth. It was God’s Holy Spirit that inspired all the writers of the Bible, and in these writings are hundreds of divine promises by which we are sealed or guaranteed success and victory. These promises cover every possible need of the Christian, and leave no room whatever for doubt that if we do our part God will see us through to glory. But we must do our part; God expects that of us.

God’s promises assure us that when we sin, “we have an advocate with the Father “ (I John 2:1); when we are weak, his strength will make us strong; when our enemies attack us, he is greater than all our enemies; when we lack wisdom, he will supply us liberally; when we need spiritual food, he will give us bread; when we need correction, he will chastise us for that purpose; if we are tired and discouraged, he will be to us as a refreshing rock in a weary land; when we need protection, he will be to us a fortress; if we are prone to worry, he assures us that the very hairs of our head are numbered; if we are concerned about our material needs, he bids us to take no thought for the morrow, for he knows our needs and will supply them in harmony with what his wisdom sees best. Yes, beloved, God has sealed us with all these wondrous assurances; yea, he guarantees that all things will work together for our good if we love him, and are the called according to his purpose.—Rom. 8:28

Viewing, therefore, all that God has done for us in giving us the good doctrines of the truth, we realize that there is something he can properly expect of us, which is that we give him our hearts. We might hesitate, and properly so, to offer ourselves to him if he had not made every provision whereby such an offering could be used to his glory. But having made every necessary provision for our justification, and for the anointing, begetting and sealing of the Spirit, we are placed in a position whereby we have “somewhat to offer” (Heb. 8:3), and he expects us to make the offering.

“My Son, Give Me Thine Heart”

The Lord’s invitation to give him our hearts is in reality an invitation to give him our all. The heart, symbolically speaking, is the seat of affection. So, if we set our affections upon God and the doing of his will, it means that everything we hold dear will be devoted to him. It means that we will live and die for him; that we will sacrifice for him and serve him. Our flesh may endeavor to sidestep the issue of sacrifice, but if our affections are wholly set upon things above, if we have truly given our hearts to the Lord, we will gladly and faithfully carry out the terms of our consecration, knowing that such is but our reasonable service.

The reasonings of our flesh are often very subtle, and we need to be constantly on guard lest we be induced to leave the narrow way of sacrifice. It may be suggested that to give our hearts to the Lord means merely to assume a reverential attitude toward him, and to be appreciative of what he has done for us. We may be led to believe that we can give our hearts to the Lord and keep everything else for ourselves. However, the genuineness of our heart devotion to God is demonstrated by the degree to which our time, strength, and means are actually used in his service.

It wouldn’t cost us much merely to entertain a kindly feeling toward the Lord, and occasionally give an expression of our love for him. We can’t say to the Lord that we will give him our hearts, but will do as we please with our time: for the giving of our hearts to the Lord means also the giving to him of our time, all of our time, not merely a part of it.

It is well, therefore, that we daily keep check of how we are using our time; especially with the thought of noting how much of it we are devoting to our own interests, to satisfy the desires of the flesh. If we have truly given our hearts to the Lord, it means that all of our time belongs to him. True, it might not be possible to use all of our time in the direct service of the Lord in the sense of being engaged in tract distribution or preaching the Gospel, or serving the brethren, for the Lord accepts the consecration of our time subject to prior mortgages that may be upon it.

We are to make proper provision for those justly dependent upon us. We are to provide things decent in the sight of all men. The Lord expects us to meet these obligations, and looks upon the necessary time, strength, and means devoted to such purposes as being devoted to him. This makes it possible for each follower of the Master to be a fulltime servant. What a wonderful provision this is, yet we should be careful that we do not misconstrue its meaning to give us liberty not to devote any of our time directly to the Lord. Here again is where we will need to be on guard against the cunning and misleading sophistries of the flesh.

Our Strength

After more than six thousand years of downhill travel, the human family, generally speaking, is in a very decrepit condition. Being members of the fallen race, we do not have a great deal of strength with which to do anything. The Lord knows this, but at the same time, in asking us for our hearts, he expects that what strength we do have will be freely devoted to his service. After we have used a considerable portion of the little strength we have in providing for those dependent upon us, there is even less that can be devoted directly to the Lord—so little, in fact, that there is often a temptation not to use it at all.

One of the greatest temptations of the flesh is to take life easy. The new creature needs continually to combat the reasonings of the flesh along this line. “I’m too tired to go to meeting tonight,” or, “I’ll not bother to make that radio call today,” or, “I’ll take a rest this evening instead of making preparation to serve the class next Sunday,” etc. These are but examples of how the human mind will attempt to discourage the new creature from using his strength directly in the Lord’s service.


Through the Lord’s astonishing provision of grace, we have certain talents we can use for him. Some have one, Some have more. But whatever our talents may be, the Lord expects them to be used in his service. We are not to reason that because we cannot serve in the same manner as others, we have no way of serving the Lord. “What is that in thine hand?” is a question that the Lord is asking of all those who have given their hearts to him.

We have already mentioned the talent of time and the talent of strength, but there are many others. Nearly all of us have at least a small amount of influence. It may be quite circumscribed, limited perhaps, to a small circle of relatives or friends; but it is a talent we can use to the Lord’s glory, if we will. True, it often happens when one sees the vision of truth, that his own people turn against him, and his name Is cast out as evil. Yet, among friends and relatives there is occasionally one, perhaps more, who will listen to the truth when presented by one who is near and dear.

In the faithful use of our talent of influence, we are quite liable to lose whatever reputation we may have among our friends; but this is the privilege we have of walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Of him we read that he “made himself of no reputation.” (Phil. 2:7) If our hearts are truly given to the Lord we will gladly make ourselves of no reputation among men.

The money talent also comes under the jurisdiction of the heart. We cannot say to the Lord, “I’ll gladly give you my heart, my time, my strength, my influence, but let me keep my money.” Some find it easier to use their money talent than almost any other. It is true, nevertheless, that often the most crucial test of the sincerity of our consecration is to transfer our affection from the mammon of unrighteousness to the true God. We are to exhort one another to love and to good works, and we should be glad to be reminded of all the various ways in which we can prove our heart devotion to God.

The Little Things

The Scriptures lay great stress upon the little things we are able to do for the Lord. Perhaps that is because none of us is in a position to do anything but what is little. Surely we do not want to be in the class who claim God’s favor because of the great and wonderful works they perform for him. (Matt. 7:22) Special attention is called to the widow’s mites, and may we not apply the principle here involved to any of the little services we can render?—Mark 12:42; Luke 21:2

The widow’s two mites are not mentioned because they were merely mites; but because they represented the utmost that the widow could do. If our utmost along any line is equal to four mites instead of two, the Lord will expect the four mites. Whether our offering is of time, or strength, or influence, or whatever it may be, it will be acceptable to God only if it represents our all.

The man of the parable who learned of a valuable pearl buried in a field, sold all that he had in order to purchase that field. The purchase price was all that he had, whether it was much or little. So with us. We have learned of a pearl of great price, the “prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14) We can obtain that pearl if we are willing to give up all that we have for it, no matter how little our all may be. And no matter how many talents we have, we cannot hold any of them back for ourselves, and still have enough left to buy the field.

The price of joint-heirship with the Master is all that we have. Inasmuch as the Heavenly Father has made every provision whereby we are able to give our all in an acceptable manner, he expects this of us. Shall we not, then, strain every nerve to respond to the divine invitation, “My son, give me thine heart!”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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