Examining the Heart 84

Judge not Christ’s love by providences, but by promises. Bless God for shaking off false foundations, for any way whereby He keeps the soul awakened and looking after Christ; better sickness and temptations, than security and superficiality.    Thomas Willcox

This is vital to understand for the person with the smallest seed of faith. The natural man wants to judge love by how things are going on in life, which is to say that as long as all things are easy for the natural man s/he will think that Christ loves him or her. But the opposite may be and almost always is true. Those whom God loves He disciplines (trains) and He does this by trials and hard things. This is not to say that providences are to be cast out in all ways at all times, but simply to say that when nothing but good things in the natural realm are happening is not the same thing as things being well spiritually. In fact, when all things are going well it can mean that God is hardening the person’s heart. It is also true that when it seems as if nothing can get worse, it just may be that God is working true good in that person’s soul.

We can look at the life of Christ as a guide. He was afflicted and suffered during His earthly sojourn and ministry. He was hated by the religious and political elite of His day. Yet, Scripture says, He learned obedience by His suffering. Was Christ to judge that He was not loved by the Father when He was being ridiculed? Was Christ to judge that He was not loved by the Father when He was hungry and it appeared that the entire world was against Him? Was Christ to judge that the Father did not love Him when He was sent to the cross? No, we cannot conclude that without being heretics of the worst order. It was the Holy Spirit who led the Son into the wilderness to be tempted (tried) by the Devil. It was the Father who sent trial after trial upon Him and then sent Him to the cross. The Lord Jesus looked to the promises and not to the providences.

During times of great trial God uses hard things and even great trials to keep the soul from settling into a false security and to seek Christ. It is during the hard things and even the things that seem to keep the soul full of mourning and thinking that it can barely go on (if at all) that God is working in that soul a depth that the superficial religionists will never know as they go through life thinking that all is well because they are living an easy life. We can read Job and the Psalms and know that men suffer because of sin, but yet at times they suffer greatly because God decides to bring trials upon them in order to make them grow. The trials are evidences of true love, but the worldly person will never see that at all.

When we look at things through the lenses of Scripture, we see that when God sets His love on a person it is far better to be tried with all sorts of things than it is not go through a life of ease and comfort. We must examine our hearts and take note whether we are looking at things according to the natural man or according to the spiritual sight of things. We should look at our hearts and know that when the heart is learning to some degree to be content in God regardless of the circumstances, that heart is far more blessed by that than by the riches of the whole world.

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