Examining the Heart 90

Reckon not duties by high expressions, but by low frames, and the beholdings of Christ. Tremble at duties and gifts. It was the saying of a great saying, “He was more afraid of his duties than of his sins”; they often made him proud, the other always made him humble. Treasure up manifestations of Christ’s love; they make the heart low for Christ, too high for sin. Despise not the lowest, meanest evidence of grace; God may put you to make use of the lowest as you think; even that may be worth a thousand worlds to thee (I John 3:14). Thomas Willcox

This selection of writing (above) points to the great need for the soul to be truly humble and that must be a humility that comes from Christ. The true life of the Christian not only comes from beholding Christ and His glory shining in His great work in His incarnation, life, sufferings and death, and His resurrection and ascension, but that it takes a low frame to behold this. It seems as if it is a great curse or judgment of God to have great gifts and even in the religious or “Christian” realm and yet not have true humility. It is far worse to do great things in the moral and even “Christian” realm and to be proud of those than it is to be a lowly and broken-hearted believer that no one pays attention to. It is far worse to be a silver-tongued preacher who does many outwardly great things and yet is full of self and pride than it is to be the poorest believer that cannot utter a word.

Oh how depraved sinners (both believers and non-believers) mistake what God truly loves and is truly pleased with. God hates pride and is opposed to it in all places and at all times. God so hates pride that He gives people over to proud hearts as a severe judgment. When you see a truly proud man, you have seen a man under the judgment of God and that includes well-known and “successful” ministers and leaders in denominations. Oh how proud men are so proud that they don’t want to appear proud to others and so will pretend to be humble, yet God knows the heart. The wrath of God is upon the proud regardless of how much they pretend to be humble.

Willcox advises the people of God to treasure up manifestations of the love of Christ. The reason for this, he says, is that the love of Christ will make the heart low of humble for Christ and yet too high for sin. This is such a beautiful statement that gets at the heart of humility, the love of Christ, and of fleeing sin in a truthful way. It is not just believing facts of history that give the soul a manifestation of the love of Christ, but it is Christ Himself in the soul opening the eyes of the soul by His Spirit to see the love of Christ working in the soul and giving that soul love for Him and working true love in that soul.

When Christ has given a poor sinner a true love for Himself as He is and a love for His spiritual blessings and not just for temporal blessings, that poor sinner should see this as an evidence of true grace which is worth more than all the riches of thousands and thousands of worlds. The soul will have battles and it will struggle to behold Christ and Christ will test the soul with trials and with His withdrawing from it to test it, but the soul that has a true taste of Christ will never be satisfied with anything less than Christ Himself and His grace in the soul giving the soul manifestations of His love to the soul.

The paragraph (by Willcox), taken as a whole, points us to the great truth that God dwells with the humble and contrite of spirit while He opposes and fights against the proud. God opposes the religionists and the “Christian” who can be proud or prouder than any or all. But only the humble receive grace. This points us to our great need, which is not the attempt to do great deeds or great acts of evangelism, but to examine our hearts to see if Christ is in us. Part of that is to examine our hearts to see if we are truly proud or if there is even a mustard seed of humility in us. While God demands us to be humble, He does not demand us to be perfectly humble. He will even work this humility in people by grace alone. As regeneration precedes faith, so grace precedes humility and then more grace is given to those with humility. As a last thought, the life of humility in the soul is really the life of the humble Savior in our soul. We must seek Him to give us this humility because it is His sharing His life with us.

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