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For a Christian to defy adversities is to "despise" chastisement. Instead of hardening himself to endure stoically, there should be a melting of the heart.
Afflictions are light when compared with what we really deserve. They are light when compared with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps their real lightness is best seen by comparing them with the weight of glory which is awaiting us.
An ineffably holy God, who has the utmost abhorrence of sin, was never invented by any of Adam's descendents.
Before He furnishes the abundant supply, we must first be made conscious of our emptiness. Before he gives strength, we must be made to feel our weakness. Slow, painfully slow, are we to learn this lesson; and slower still to own our nothingness and take the place of helplessness before the Mighty One.
Chastisement is designed for our good, to promote our highest interests. Look beyond the rod to the All-wise hand that wields it!
The Christian life is a life that consists of following Jesus.
Instead of complaining at his lot, a contented man is thankful that his condition and circumstances are no worse than they are. Instead of greedily desiring something more than the supply of his present need, he rejoices that God still cares for him. Such an one is "content" with such as he has.
It is only in proportion as the Christian manifests the fruit of a genuine conversion that he is entitled to regard himself and be regarded by others as one of the called and elect of God. It is just in proportion as we add to our faith the other Christian graces that we have solid ground on which to rest in the assurance we belong to the family of Christ. It is not those who are governed by self-will, but "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14).
Daily living by faith on Christ is what makes the difference between the sickly and the healthy Christian, between the defeated and the victorious saint.
Like the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the miraculous birth of our Savior, the truth of election must be received with simple, unquestioning faith.
Faith endures as seeing Him who is invisible; endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life, by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” What is poverty of spirit? It is the opposite of that haughty, self-assertive, and self-sufficient disposition that the world so much admires and praises. It is the very reverse of that independent and defiant attitude that refuses to bow to God, that determines to brave things out, and that says with Pharaoh, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?” (Exodus 5:2). To be poor in spirit is to realize that I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing, and have need of all things. Poverty of spirit is evident in a person when he is brought into the dust before God to acknowledge his utter helplessness. It is the first experiential evidence of a Divine work of grace within the soul, and corresponds to the initial awakening of the prodigal in the far country when he “began to be in want” (Luke 15:14).
“Christ is the key which unlocks the golden doors into the temple of Divine truth.”
“Behold, I am vile.” Though grace has entered his heart, his native depravity has not been expelled. Though sin no longer has dominion over him, it rages and often prevails against him. There is ceaseless warfare within between the flesh and the spirit. There is no need for us to enlarge on this, for every Christian, because of the plague of his heart, groans within himself, “O wretched man that I am!”
“Beware, my reader, if you despise God’s Truth you will fall into love with Satan’s lies.”
“A preacher may induce a man to believe what Scripture says about his lost condition, persuade him to bow to the divine verdict, and then accept Christ as his personal Savior. No man wants to go to hell, and fire is assured intellectually that Christ stands ready as a fire escape, on the sole condition that he jump into His arms (“rest on His finished work”), thousands will do so. But a hundred preachers are unable to make an unregenerate person realize the dreadful nature of sin, or show him that he has been a lifelong rebel against God, or change his heart so that he now hates himself and longs to please God and serve Christ. Only the Spirit can bring man to the place where he is willing to forsake every idol, cut off a hindering right hand or pluck out an offending right eye.”
“The preacher who most honors Christ is not the one who produces the largest “visible results,” but he who sticks the closest to His commission and preaches the Word most faithfully.”