Do You Want a Quiet Heart?

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled by Martin Lloyd Jones:  A Book Review

Sometimes we get it all wrong when we read Scripture.  We translate sentences through a syrupy grid of sentimentality (“Oh, that’s so comforting . . .”), when what we are looking at is a command.  Do this.

Thus begins sermon number one of Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, a compilation of eight sermons preached by Martin Lloyd Jones in 1951 when Cold War angst and post WWII gloom hung in the air of Great Britain as thick as London fog.  His musings on John 14 are no less relevant in today’s milieu of beheadings and suicide bombers, nor is his thesis:  “The greatest need of men and women in this world is the need of what is called a quiet heart, a heart at leisure from itself.”  He explores the various means that people use to achieve that goal and comes to a firm conclusion:  “The claim of the gospel is not only that it can give us a quiet heart, but also that nothing else can do it.”

Chapter 2 (i.e. sermon number two) sets forth Jesus’ own words as to just how that quiet heart comes about, and it, too, is a command:  Believe in God; believe also in me.  Sermons three through eight go on to reaffirm the foundations of Christian faith, asserting that the substance of what one believes about God does indeed matter, and that the calm and quiet heart that Jesus urges upon his disciples is not merely another anesthetic to numb the inevitable pain of life on a fallen planet.

Although it is tempting to recommend this book as an evangelistic tool for unbelieving family and friends, it may well have a more immediate purpose within the household of faith.  Jones gets to the core of biblical illiteracy and theological holes that plague the church:

“If we want to know exactly what believing in Him means, we must take the entire New Testament, the Acts and the epistles and the light they cast upon Him as well as the detailed records we have concerning Him in the four Gospels.”

We come to Christ through a cross, and the essence of this gospel will remain a mystery to those who neglect the Source of all Truth about God — the Bible.

With the words of Hudson Taylor, Jones urges his readers to “hold on to the faithfulness of God,” (Mark 11:22).  A right view of God will result in a right view of life, including realistic expectations for peace and happiness.  Doubting Thomas becomes the hero of the day, his stumbling, groping statements of doubt setting the stage for Jesus’ clarifying words that resonate through the ages:  “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled is a road map for the seeker, and a homing device for the believer who has lost his way.

This book was provided by Crossway Books in exchange for my unbiased review.

Resurrecting this post for my first link-up with Overflow’s #wholemama community!  Join us!

8 thoughts on “Do You Want a Quiet Heart?”

  1. I love that you remind us that it is really a command and not a sentimental, sweet thought.
    Your post reminds me of a study I read recently finding that in times of war and extreme circumstances, there is a trend in the popularity of more strict denominations of Christianity. In our hardest time, like you remind us here, we need firmer faith. Thank you. Very inspiring!


    1. That’s an interesting thought – it does seem like there’s been a push in the USA where I live to go back to a more liturgical, older form of church worship for those of us who are looking for a “church home”. We are finding ourselves drawn to the old ways, and I do wonder if there isn’t something to be said there for what you mentioned – that really, we are searching for firmer faith and finding it in the ritual.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The idea that a quiet heart is a ” heart at leisure from itself” caught my attention and seems right in line with what some of the other ladies in our linkup wrote about. How in motherhood we are often caught in a push and pull between calm and not. And even when we are calm we struggle with the lack of calm in our own hearts. So having a heart that is “at leisure from itself” is a lovely thought.
    Thank you for sharing this with us this week, Michele!!

    Liked by 1 person

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