This is the final paragraph from this week's reading in "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment:" "A new cart may creak and make a noise; but after it has been used a while, it will not do so. So when you are first a Christian, perhaps you make a noise and cannot bear affliction; but are you an old Christian and yet will you be a murmuring Christian? Oh, it is a shame for any who have been a long time in the school of Jesus Christ to have murmuring spirits." The last aggravation that Burroughs considered in this chapter, for me, hits home hard. I have been a believer since I was fourteen years old, and through all the afflictions the Lord has always been faithful. More than that, I can look back now and see how He has conformed me to the image of the Beloved Son. Yet even now, when new trials come, I am tempted to murmur. I can quote the Bible verses and sing the songs, but still my flesh wants to grumble. I see another law working in the members of my flesh, as Paul says in Romans 7. How slow we are to learn our lessons. Still, even in the midst of my conviction from reading this chapter, I was presented with hope. Hope not in myself, that I can pick myself up by my bootstraps, but hope in God the Father. I have been reading through Proverbs, and this morning came to this one: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Prov. 13:24). And of course this calls to mind Hebrews 12:7-8, "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." We get the point, right? Just as good earthly father will chastise his children to teach the path of life, so too does God chastise us, and this is one way we can have assurance of our adoption. And the great hope is this: though earthly fathers cannot affect change in their children, yet God the Father does affect change in His children. His chastisement not only teaches us the way of life, but actually fits us to walk in it. So then, let us strive to not murmur, but to trust in the Father who is working in us sanctification to manifest His glory in us. What were some of your thoughts on this week's reading?
The following quote stood out to me during this week's reading: "Your Maker has the absolute disposal of you: will you strive against Him?" It reminds me that the foundational relationship between God and myself is that of Creator and created. Not only did He create this physical life, but He also recreated (or regenerated) me in the Lord Jesus. He has every right to manifest His glory in my life in any way that He sees fit. That is a very easy statement to make during the good times. When the disposals of providence provide us with sunshine and roses, we find the idea of God's ownership over us easier to swallow. But when the clouds and the briars come, we find out the reality of our hearts. We are, as the old hymn says, prone to wander; and this wandering is not always into the pagan pastures of idolatry. Sometimes it is wandering into discontentment of the pastures with which we have been provided. We grumble and complain that the grass isn't green enough, or the water isn't clear enough. Yet, at its heart, discontentment really is idolatry. When we complain and murmur, we are actually striving with the One who made us. We are telling the Lord God of Heaven and Earth that He actually does not know what is best for us. We tell Him that we are far more capable of discerning our own good. When we murmur, we are telling God that He must abdicate His throne and surrender it to us. What horrid creatures we are! But, there is great mercy in Christ. How often it is that God uses the clouds and briars to show us the deceitfulness of our hearts and the emptiness of this world. Let us strive against the flesh, and not against our Maker. Let us rest in the wisdom and goodness of God, who works all things to the good of those that love Him, who are called according to His purpose. What were some of your thoughts on this week's reading?