SELF – Octavius Winslow

“Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.” — Psalm 131:2

Other writings by the same author


Octavius Winslow,

The first object from which our heavenly Father weans His child is from SELF. Of all idols, this he finds hardest to abandon.
Idolatry of SELF has been the great and universal crime of our race!

In the soul of the regenerate, divine grace has done much to dethrone this idol, and reinstate God. The work, however, is but
partially accomplished. The dishonored and rejected rival is loath to relinquish his throne, and yield to the supreme control and sway of another. There is still much yet to be achieved before this still indwelling and unconquered foe lays down his weapons in entire subjection to the will and authority of that Savior whose throne and right He has usurped.

Much self love, self esteem, self confidence and self seeking remain in the saved person’s heart. From all of this SELF, our Father seeks to wean us. He would wean us…..

from our own wisdom, which is but folly;
from our own strength, which is but weakness;
from our own wills, which are often as an uncurbed steed;
from our own ways, which are crooked;
from our own hearts, which are deceitful;
from our own judgments, which are dark; and
from our own ends, which are narrow and selfish.

(from “The Weaned Child” by Octavius Winslow)

[View original article at Grace Gems]

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“Saving Faith is Always Evidenced by a Humble Heart” — A.W. Pink

Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)


A.W. Pink,

Saving faith is always evidenced by an humble heart. Faith lays the soul low, for it discovers its own vileness, emptiness, impotency. It realizes its former sinfulness, and present unworthiness. It is conscious of its weaknesses and wants, its carnality and corruptions. Nothing more exalts Christ than faith, and nothing more debases a man. In order to magnify the riches of His grace, God has selected faith as the fittest instrument, and this, because it is that which causes us to go entirely out from ourselves unto Him. Faith, realizing we have nothing but sin and wretchedness, comes unto Christ as an empty-handed beggar, to receive all from Him. Faith empties a man of self-conceit, self-confidence, and self-righteousness, and makes him seem nothing, that Christ may be all in all. The strongest faith is always accompanied by the greatest humility, accounting self the greatest of sinners and unworthy of the least favor (see Matthew 8:8- 10). (excerpted from: Studies on Saving Faith, A.W. Pink)

See also:

A Call To Humility: How Pride Keeps You From Christ — J.C. Ryle
The Humbling Doctrine of God’s Absolute Sovereignty — A.W. Pink
J.C. Ryle: On The Dangerous Delusion of Sinless Perfectionism
“Assurance and Humility” by A. A. Hodge

“Humility” by William Romaine (1714-1795)

“Grow Up: Advice for YRRs” (Young, Restless and Reformed) (part 2) by John MacArthur

Dr. John F. MacArthur


John MacArthur,

If I could impress on Young, Restless, Reformed students just one word of friendly counsel to address what I think is the most glaring deficiency in that movement, this is what it would be: “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20).

I’m very glad the ranks of YRRs are growing numerically. Many good things about that movement are full of promise and potential. In order to fulfill that potential, however, this generation of Reformers desperately needs to move past the young-and-restless stage. Immaturity and unrest are hindrances to spiritual fruitfulness, not virtues.

When Paul told Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth” (1 Timothy 4:12), he wasn’t suggesting that Timothy should forbid people in the church to disapprove if the pastor were to display immaturity, juvenile misbehavior, youthful indiscretion, or other traits of callow character.

Much less was the apostle suggesting that Timothy should cater exclusively to young people while purposely marginalizing the elderly. That, I’m sorry to say, is the kind of advice we sometimes hear nowadays from many self-styled church-growth
experts
….[continue reading at Grace To You]

“Assurance and Humility” by A. A. Hodge

Click to view at WTS Books


A.A. Hodge,

I think the first essential mark of the difference between true and false assurance is to be found in the fact that the true works humility. There is nothing in the world that works such satanic, profound, God-defiant pride as false assurance; nothing works such utter humility, or brings to such utter self-emptiness, as the child-like spirit of true assurance. Surely this can be known. If a person is self-confident, there is self-assurance; if there is any evidence of pride in connection with his claim, it is a most deadly mark- it is the plague-spot which marks death and corruption. But if there is utter humility, you have the sign of the true spirit.

This will manifest itself in connection with another mark. If one is really united to Christ in a union so established that Christ is indeed in possession of the soul, the whole consciousness will be taken up with what I would call Christ-consciousness, and there will be no self-consciousness. Little children are very prompt to show their character. There is a great difference in them. Bring a child into a room. She comes thinking about nothing in particular, looking at her mother, then looking at the guests or anything that objectively strikes her, not thinking of herself. That is pure, sweet, and lovely. She grows older, and she comes to think of herself and what people think of her, and her manner has lost its unconsciousness. A great deal of what you call bashfulness is rottenness at the heart; it is self-consciousness. Nothing in the world so tends to defile the imagination, to pervert the affections, and to corrupt the morals, as self-consciousness. You know it is connected with every diseased and morbid action of the body.

A young woman told me that she wanted the witness of the Spirit, and she talked about it everlastingly; she wanted to tell her own experience and feelings always. I told her she must forget herself, not think of her own feelings. The man who is talking about his love unceasingly has no love; the man who is talking about his faith unceasingly has no faith: the two things cannot go together. When you love, what are you thinking about? Are you not thinking about the object of your love? And when you believe, what are you thinking about? Why, the object that you believe. Suppose you ask yourself, ‘Am I believing?’ Why, of course you are not believing when you are thinking of believing. No human being believes except when he thinks about Christ. Am I loving? Of course I am not loving when I am thinking about loving. No human being loves except when he is thinking about Christ as the object of his love.

In Virginia I once saw one human being in whom there was the perfect work of grace, as far as I could see as her pastor…Even on earth she was one of those who had made their garments white in the blood of the Lamb, and she seemed always to walk upon the verge of heaven. I never heard her speak of any one particular of her character or of her own graces. I have come out of the pulpit when the congregation had gone, and have found her upon her knees in her pew, absolutely unconscious of all external objects, so far was she absorbed in worship. When I roused her from her trance, she cried instantly, ‘Is He not holy? Is He not glorious? Is He not beautiful? is He not infinite?’ She did not speak of her own love or of her feelings.

A great deal of Perfectionism is rotten to the core. All self-consciousness is of the very essence and nature of sin. Then, again, true confidence leads necessarily to strong desires for more knowledge and more holiness, for unceasing advances of grace.

I was told once, in a congregation where I preached, that I need not tell a certain young man anything about religion; he had finished it – that is, that, having finished it, he found nothing else to do. That is what the word ‘perfect’ means. Now, when a man has finished eternal life, when he has finished learning all the revelation of God, when he has experienced all the infinite benefits of Christ’s redemption, when he has finished all the mysterious work of the Holy Ghost in his heart, he ought to be annihilated. There is no place in heaven or on earth for such a man.

But a man who really has the love of God in his heart is always reaching forward to the things which are before. The more he loves, the more he wants to love; the more he is consecrated, the more consecration he longs for. He has grand ideas and grand aims, but they lie beyond him in heaven.

A.A. Hodge (1823-1886) was an American Reformed Presbyterian theologian who, like his father the eminent Charles Hodge, both served as a professor of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey as well as serving as its principal between 1878 and 1886.

(Article credit: Grace Online Library)

Humility: The Queen of the Christian Graces — J.C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)


Sobering and convicting words from J.C. Ryle,

Humility may well be called the queen of the Christian graces. To know our own sinfulness and weakness, and to feel our need of Christ, is the very beginning of saving religion. It is a grace which has always been the distinguishing feature in the character of the holiest saints in every age. Abraham, and Moses, and Job, and David, and Daniel, and Paul, were all eminently humble men. Above all, it is a grace within the reach of every true Christian. All have not money to give away. All have not time and opportunities for working directly for Christ. All have not gifts of speech, and tact, and knowledge, in order to do good in the world. But all converted men should labor to adorn the doctrine they profess by humility. If they can do nothing else, they can strive to be humble.

Would we know the root and spring of humility? One word describes it. The root of humility is right knowledge. The man who really knows himself and his own heart–who knows God and His infinite majesty and holiness–who knows Christ, and the price at which he was redeemed–that man will never be a proud man. He will count himself, like Jacob, unworthy of the least of all God’s mercies. He will say of himself, like Job, “I am vile.” He will cry, like Paul, “I am chief of sinners.” (Genes. 32:10; Job 40:4; 1 Tim. 1:15.) He will think anything good enough for him. In lowliness of mind be will esteem every one else to be better than himself. (Philip. 2:3.) Ignorance–nothing but sheer ignorance–ignorance of self, of God, and of Christ, is the real secret of pride. From that miserable self-ignorance may we daily pray to be delivered! He is the wise man who knows himself–and he who knows himself, will find nothing within to make him proud. (via: Grace Gems)

John M. Frame on Cultivating Humility Through Daily Repentance


John Frame,

We need more Christians who will lead lives of repentance, for repentance always challenges pride. If you’re coming to God daily to confess to him how much you have sinned, you will find it hard to pretend that you are holier than everybody else. You’ll find it hard to put on airs, to pose as the perfect Christian. When others accuse you of sin, you won’t immediately jump to defend yourself, as if of course you could never do wrong and any accusation must be a misunderstanding. Rather, when someone accuses you of sin, you’ll respond by thinking there is a high probability that the accusation is true, and you won’t be embarrassed to say, “Oh, yes, I did do that. And I am terribly sorry. Will you forgive me?” If we are able to humble ourselves before God, we will be humble before men as well. And the church will be far better if there are more of us who are like that.

Reprinted from Salvation Belongs to the Lord: An Introduction to Systematic Theology by John M. Frame, copyright 2006 P & R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ. (pg. 199)

Dr. John M. Frame serves as J.D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.

Holiness: A Call for Christians to Battle Sin and Pursue God — J.C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

J.C. Ryle,

That great divine, John Owen, the Dean of Christ Church, used to say, more than two hundred years ago, that there were people whose whole religion seemed to consist in going about complaining of their own corruptions and telling everyone that they could do nothing of themselves. I am afraid that after two centuries the same thing might be said with truth of some of Christ’s professing people in this day. I know there are texts in Scripture which warrant such complaints. I do not object to them when they come from men who walk in the steps of the apostle Paul and fight a good fight, as he did, against sin, the devil and the world. But I never like such complaints when I see ground for suspecting, as I often do, that they are only a cloak to cover spiritual laziness and an excuse for spiritual sloth. If we say with Paul, “O wretched man that I am,” let us also be able to say with him, “I press toward the mark.” Let us not quote his example in one thing, while we do not follow him in another (Rom. 7:24; Phil. 3:14).

I do not set up myself to be better than other people; and if anyone asks, “What are you, that you write in this way?” I answer, “I am a very poor creature indeed.” But I say that I cannot read the Bible without desiring to see many believers more spiritual, more holy, more single–eyed, more heavenly–minded, more whole–hearted than they are in the nineteenth century. I want to see among believers more of a pilgrim spirit, a more decided separation from the world, a conversation more evidently in heaven, a closer walk with God; and therefore I have written as I have.

Is it not true that we need a higher standard of personal holiness in this day? Where is our patience? Where is our zeal? Where is our love? Where are our works? Where is the power of religion to be seen, as it was in times gone by? Where is that unmistakable tone which used to distinguish the saints of old and shake the world? Truly our silver has become dross, our wine mixed with water, and our salt has very little savor. We are all more than half asleep. The night is far spent, and the day is at hand. Let us awake and sleep no more. Let us open our eyes more widely than we have done up to this time. “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us.” “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God” (Heb. 12:1; 2 Cor. 7:1). “Did Christ die,” says Owen, “and shall sin live? Was He crucified in the world, and shall our affections to the world be quick and lively? Oh, where is the spirit of him, who by the cross of Christ was crucified to the world, and the world to him?” (excerpted from: Chapter 3: Holiness in Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, J.C. Ryle)

See also:

♦ The First Step Towards Heaven Is to See Clearly That We Deserve Hell — J.C. Ryle
♦ Faith Alone Justifies, But Faith Alone Does Not Sanctify — J.C. Ryle
♦ God Glorified in the Nobodies by John MacArthur
♦ God Justifies The Ungodly — Charles Spurgeon
♦ Solus Christus: Only One Way of Salvation — J.C. Ryle
♦ A Weak Faith Receives A Strong Christ — Thomas Watson (c.1620-1686)

A Call To Humility: How Pride Keeps You From Christ — J.C. Ryle

“At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight…” — Matthew 11:25-26

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)


J.C. Ryle,

It is not for us to attempt to explain why some receive and believe the Gospel, while others do not. The sovereignty of God in this matter is a deep mystery–we cannot fathom it. But one thing, at all events, stands out in Scripture, as a great practical truth to be had in everlasting remembrance. Those from whom the Gospel is hidden are generally “the wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight.” Those to whom the Gospel is revealed are generally humble, simpleminded, and willing to learn. The words of the Virgin Mary are continually being fulfilled, “He has filled the hungry with good things. He has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53.)

Let us watch against PRIDE in every shape–pride of intellect, pride of wealth, pride in our own goodness, pride in our own deserts. Nothing is so likely to keep a man out of heaven, and prevent him seeing Christ, as pride. So long as we think we are something, we shall never be saved. Let us pray for and cultivate humility. Let us seek to know ourselves aright, and to find out our place in the sight of a holy God. The beginning of the way to heaven, is to feel that we are in the way to hell, and to be willing to be taught of the Spirit. One of the first steps in saving Christianity is to be able to say with Saul, “Lord, what will you have me to do?” (Acts 9:6.) There is hardly a sentence of our Lord’s so frequently repeated as this, “He who humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:14.) (excerpted from commentary on Matthew 11:25-30, Expository Thoughts on Matthew, J.C. Ryle, 1856)

John MacArthur: On Why God Delights In Choosing Societies’ Castaways

“God Glorified in the Nobodies”

John MacArthur

Stained-Glass Saints?

If you’ve ever visited the great cathedrals in Europe, you’d think the apostles were larger-than-life stained-glass saints with shining halos who represented an exalted degree of spirituality. But actually, they were very, very common men.

It’s a shame they have so often been put on pedestals as magnificent marble figures, or portrayed in paintings like some kind of Roman gods. That dehumanizes them. They were just twelve completely ordinary men–human in every way–and we shouldn’t lose touch with who they really were.

So what qualified those men to be apostles? The truth is, it wasn’t any intrinsic ability or outstanding talent of their own. They were Galileans. They were not the elite. Galileans were considered low-class, rural, uneducated, people. They were commoners, nobodies. But those nobodies would become the preeminent leaders of the fledgling church–its very foundation!

Now when it comes to church leadership, there are some rather clear moral and spiritual qualifications that men must meet. The Bible sets the standard extremely high (see 1 Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-9; Hebrews 13:7).

But you know something? The standard isn’t any lower for the rest of the church. Leaders are to be examples for all others who strive to meet the same standard. There is no such thing as an acceptable “lower” standard for rank-and-file church members. In fact, in Matthew 5:48, Jesus said to all believers, “Be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

That’s a tall order! Frankly, no one meets such a standard. Humanly speaking, no one “qualifies” when the standard is utter perfection. What joy there is in knowing that it is God Himself who must save sinners, sanctify them, and then transform the unqualified into instruments He can use.

The twelve were like the rest of us; they were selected from the unworthy and the unqualified. They were, like Elijah, men “with a nature like ours” (James 5:17). They did not rise to the highest usefulness because they were somehow different from us. Rather, their transformation into vessels of honor was a divine work and their incredible influence is a result of the divine message they preached.

Why God Chooses Us

Do you ever become discouraged and disheartened when your spiritual life and witness suffer because of personal sin or failure? We tend to think we’re worthless nobodies–and left to ourselves, that would be true! But be encouraged–worthless nobodies are just the kind of people God uses. If you think about it, that’s all He has to work with!

But have you ever stopped to consider why that’s true? Listen to this: God chooses the humble, the lowly, the meek, and the weak so that there’s never any question about the source of power when their lives change the world. It’s not the man; it’s the truth of God and the power of God in the man. Next time you’re reading through the gospels or the book of Acts, take a few minutes to consider the work of God in the apostles. They were slow to believe, slow to understand, and had horrendous memories! Sound familiar?

Don’t worry–that is perfectly consistent with the way the Lord always works. 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 says, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” That is the very reason there were no philosophers, no brilliant writers, no famous debaters, no distinguished teachers, and no men who had ever distinguished themselves as great orators among the twelve Christ chose. They became great spiritual leaders and great preachers under the power of the Holy Spirit, but it was not because of any innate oratorical skill, leadership abilities, or academic qualifications they had. Their influence is owing to one thing and one thing only: the power of the message they preached.

On a human level, the gospel was considered a foolish message and the apostles were deemed unsophisticated preachers. Their teaching was beneath the elite. They were mere fishermen and working-class nobodies. Peons. Rabble. That was the assessment of their contemporaries and that has been the majority opinion of the genuine church of Christ throughout history and to this very day! “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (v. 26).

But think about this: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (vv. 27-29). God’s favorite instruments are nobodies, so that no man can boast before God. In other words, God chooses whom He chooses so He might receive the glory. He chooses weak instruments so no one will attribute the power to the instruments but rather to the God who wields the instruments. Those who pursue their own glory will sadly find God’s strategy unacceptable–and they’ll miss out on true glory and true joy.

With the notable exception of Judas, the apostles were not like that. They certainly struggled with pride and arrogance like every fallen human being. But the driving passion of their lives became the glory of Christ. And it was that passion, subjected to the influence of the Holy Spirit–not any innate skill or human talent–that explains why they left such an indelible impact on the world.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. – © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Resource Code: A166www.gty.org

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John MacArthur – Be Encouraged! God Delights In Using The Unworthy And Unqualfied – Quote Of The Day

The following quote from John MacArthur’s book, Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He Wants to Do with You, I found very encouraging and strengthening. Some of you may, as well.

“Many Christians become discouraged and disheartened when their spiritual life and witness suffer because of sin or failure. We tend to think we’re worthless nobodies – and left to ourselves, that would be true! But worthless nobodies are just the kind of people God uses, because that is all He has to work with.
Satan may even attempt to convince us that our shortcomings render us useless to God and to His church. But Christ’s choice of the apostles testifies to the fact that God can use the unworthy and the unqualified. He can use nobodies. They turned the world upside down, these twelve (Acts 17:6). It was not because they had extraordinary talents, unusual intellectual abilities, powerful political influence, or some special social status. They turned the world upside down because God worked in them to do it.
(John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He Wants to Do with You [Nashville: Word Publishing, 2002], p.11)

John MacArthur: On Humility In An “American Idol” Culture

“Restoring the Virtue of Meekness”

John MacArthur

The shift in American culture from character to image has turned vanity and pride into virtues. Where does that leave the virtue of meekness? Will the meek really inherit the earth? What is meekness, anyway?

Pride has been redefined in American culture as a virtue. The strong, the beautiful, the powerful, the intelligent, and the privileged take every opportunity to put themselves forward. Politicians manifest pride in speeches and debates; entertainers glamorize pride in their movies and lifestyles; educators teach pride by emphasizing self-esteem and making every child a winner (whether they deserve it or not); and sports icons reinforce pride as the path to greatness.

Probably the least admired character quality in America is meekness. And yet the greatest Person who ever lived was a meek and humble man—“learn from Me, for I am gentle [meek] and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus exemplified meekness during His first advent, even as He ministered in the power of God. Those who follow Him will also demonstrate meekness, or gentleness as fruit of a Spirit-filled life (Galatians 5:22).

“Meekness” is a humble attitude that expresses itself in the patient endurance of offenses. “Gentleness” is a virtual synonym. It implies leniency and long-suffering.

Meekness is not weakness; it is power under control. As the writer of Proverbs says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (16:32). In contrast, the individual who is not gentle is likened to “a city that is broken into and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). Gentleness always uses its resources appropriately, unlike the out-of-control emotions that so often are destructive and have no place in your life as a believer.

And don’t equate gentleness with cowardice, lack of conviction, or mere human niceness. It’s a virtue that draws courage, strength, conviction, and a good disposition from God, not from self-centered human resources.

Gentleness characterizes our Lord Jesus Christ. He always defended God’s glory and ultimately gave Himself in sacrifice for others (see 1 Peter 2:21-23). Jesus didn’t lash back when criticized, slandered, or treated unjustly, but He did respond fittingly and firmly when God’s honor was profaned or His truth was perverted or neglected. He twice cleansed the Temple by force (Matthew 21:12-17; John 2:14-15), and He repeatedly and fearlessly denounced the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders (Matthew 23:13-36; Mark 12:13-40; John 8:12-59; 9:39-41).

When His time of suffering came, however, Jesus submitted to the will of His Father and endured the abuse and murderous intentions of the hypocritical leaders. He demonstrated meekness to the very end. “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).

Like Christ, the gentle person does not defend himself (see 1 Peter 2:21). That’s because he has died to self and therefore does not worry about insult, material loss, or even personal injury. The believer who embraces meekness knows that in himself he does not deserve defending and that, in the long run, all his possessions are not worth fighting for. In that sense, gentleness is the opposite of violence and vengeance.

For some, meekness leads to suffering. “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36). But there is triumph for the meek, even in suffering—“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (v. 37).

Meekness is a path worth following. It may not lead you to a spot on “American Idol” or “Survivor,” you may not win a political campaign, but you’ll find the reward of God is yours in abundance. Jesus promised, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
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Adapted from The Quest for Character, by John MacArthur. © Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. – © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved.

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Humility – John MacArthur

“Understanding Who We Are”

John MacArthur

The first step to humility is understanding our own sinfulness

…..Humility begins with self-awareness. We need to look at ourselves honestly. We can mask who we really are and convince ourselves that we’re something wonderful. But we are sinners and need to confess our sins daily before God (cf. 1 John 1:9) Even Paul called himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) and realized he had not yet reached the goal of Christlikeness (Phil. 3:12-14). Whenever you’re tempted to be proud, remember you haven’t arrived yet spiritually.

And don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourselves to others. Paul said, “We are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12). If we’re to be honest with ourselves and with God, we need to evaluate ourselves by an outside standard — God’s standard. Humility starts when we take off the rose-colored glasses of self-love so we can see ourselves as unworthy sinners. We must recognize our faults and confess our sins daily. (excerpted from the 11 March devotion, Understanding Who We Are in John MacArthur’s, Strength For Today)

(John MacArthur, Strength for Today [Wheaton Ill.: Crossway, 1997], March 11 devotion)

John MacArthur: On Being Macho…..Cowardly………OR…? – Morning Devotion

“Controlling Yourself”

John MacArthur

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth”(Matt. 5:5).

The Greek word translated “gentle” in Matthew 5:5 speaks of humility, meekness, and non-retaliation–traits that in our proud society are often equated with weakness or cowardice. But in reality they are virtues that identify kingdom citizens.

The same word was used by the Greeks to describe a gentle breeze, a soothing medicine, or a domesticated colt. Those are examples of power under control: a gentle breeze brings pleasure, but a hurricane brings destruction; a soothing medicine brings healing, but an overdose can kill; a domesticated colt is useful, but a wild horse is dangerous.

Christ Himself is the epitome of gentleness. Even when officially announcing His messiahship to Jerusalem, He humbly entered the city astride a donkey (Matt. 21:5). His behavior amid persecution was exemplary: “Christ . . . suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats” (1 Pet. 2:21-23).

Despite His humility and restraint, Jesus wasn’t weak or cowardly. He never defended Himself, but when His Father’s house was being desecrated, He made a whip and beat those who were defiling it (John 2:13-16; Matt. 21:12-13). He never shirked from pronouncing judgment on unrepentant sinners, and never compromised His integrity or disobeyed His Father’s will.

The hypocritical Jewish religious leaders expected that when Israel’s Messiah came He would commended them for their wonderful spirituality. Instead, Jesus condemned them and called them children of the devil (John 8:44). In retaliation they had Him murdered. His power was always under control; theirs wasn’t.

Our society has little use for gentleness. The macho, do-your-own-thing mentality characterizes most of our heroes. But you are called to a higher standard. When you pattern your life after Jesus, you will have a significant impact on society and will know true happiness.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the virtue of gentleness, which He is producing in you by the power of His Spirit. Follow Christ’s example today so that gentleness will mark your character.

For Further Study:

Read the following passages, noting the responsibilities and blessings that accompany self-restraint: Proverbs 16:32, Ephesians 4:1-2, Colossians 3:12, and Titus 3:1-2.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace T You © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. www.gty.org
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R.C. Sproul: On Prideful Humility…..And True Humility

“Relying on God’s Grace”

R.C. Sproul

The irony of the theology of meritorious suffering is that it tends to produce the very opposite effect from its original intention. What began as a call to humble willingness to suffer became an insidious tool for self-righteousness. Perhaps the most difficult task for us to perform is to rely on God’s grace and God’s grace alone for our salvation. It is difficult for our pride to rest on grace. Grace is for other people—for beggars. We don’t want to live by a heavenly welfare system. We want to earn our own way and atone for our own sins. We like to think that we will go to heaven because we deserve to be there.

All the suffering I could possibly endure could not earn me a place in heaven. Nor can I merit the merit of Christ through suffering. I am altogether an unprofitable servant who must rely on someone else’s merit to be saved.

With Paul we can rejoice in our sufferings if they enhance the glory of Christ. We can rejoice in our persecutions and look forward to the promised blessing of Christ. But the blessing Christ promised, the blessing of great reward, is a reward of grace. The blessing is promised even though it is not earned.

Augustine said it this way: “Our rewards in heaven are a result of God’s crowning His own gifts. Sola gratia.”

Coram Deo: Give thanks to God for your heavenly rewards, which are the result of God’s crowning His own gifts.

Romans 8:18: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
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From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343
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“If Christ Be Lord Of Lords. Let Me Be Nothing” – Charles Spurgeon – Quote Of The Day

“If Christ be glorious, it is all the heaven I ask for. If he shall be King of kings, and Lord of lords, let me be nothing, if he shall but reign, and every tongue shall call him blessed, it shall be bliss to me to know it; and if I may be but as one of the withered roses which lie in the path of his triumph, it shall be my paradise.” ~Charles Spurgeon

John MacArthur: Love Speaks The Truth….But Speaks It In Love….But…

“For the Love of the Truth”

John MacArthur

To acknowledge that the church often needs to fight for truth is not to suggest that the gospel–our one message to a lost world–is somehow a declaration of war. It most certainly is not; it is a manifesto of peace and a plea for reconciliation with God (2 Corinthains 5:18-20). Conversely, those who are not reconciled to God are at war with Him all the time, and the gospel is a message about the only way to end that war. So ironically, the war to uphold the truth is the only hope of peace for the enemies of God.

I do agree that usually it is far better to be gentle than to be harsh. Peacefulness is a blessed quality (Matthew 5:9); pugnaciousness is a disqualifying character flaw (Titus 1:7). Patience is indeed a sweet virture, even in the face of unbelief and persecution (Luke 21:19). We always ought to listen sufficiently before we react (Proverbs 18:13). A kind word can usually do far more good than a curt reaction, because “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1)–and any person who delights to stir up strife is a fool (v. 8).

Furthermore, the fruit of the Spirit is a catalog of antitheses to a bellicose, aggressive, warlike attitude: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). So our first inclination when we encounter someone in error ought to be the very same kind of tender meekness prescribed for anyone in any kind of sin in Galatians 6:1: “If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” It is the duty of every Christian “to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we oursleves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:2-3). And that attitude is a particular duty for those in spiritual leadership. Brawlers aren’t qualified to serve as elders in the church (1 Timothy 3:3). Because ” a servant of the Lord must not quarrell but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

All those principles should indeed dominate our dealings with others and our handling of disagreements. And if those were the only verses in Scripture that told us how to deal with error, we might be justified in thinking those principles are absolute, inviolable, and applicable to every kind of opposition or unbelief we encounter.

But that’s not the case. We are instructed to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3). Immediately after the apostle urged Timothy to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11), he exhorted him to “fight the good fight of faith” (v. 12), and to guard what had been committed to his trust (v. 20).

The love promoted by the New Testament is not a free-styled, all-embracing, blind acceptance of every wind of doctrine for the sake of conversation. It is, in fact, just the opposite. Biblical love always goes hand in hand with truth. That’s why false doctrines and those who teach them are condemned in no uncertain terms.

Jesus said: Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Paul said: If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

Peter said: It has happened to them [false teachers] according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

John said: If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

Jude said: But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.
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Adapted from John’s new book, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. www.gty.org
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On Glorying Only In The Cross Of Our Lord Jesus Christ – By John Calvin

I found this great message by John Calvin at Monergism. These are very sober words by Calvin. It begins,

“We saw earlier that Paul condemned those whose only desire was to sit on the fence in order to please the world, and escape persecution. For this had caused them to twist the gospel, and we see numerous examples of this today. Having seen that pure doctrine and the truth of God are unacceptable to the world, but that wicked men are incensed against it, these people, I say, seek to find some way to avoid creating bad feeling and incurring hatred. This being so, if we today were to interview people with at least some good sense, we would scarcely find one in a hundred of them who would admit that there were errors in the Papacy. Most would say that we ought not to force them to abandon everything and that it would be enough if they were to get rid of some of their more unreasonable and absurd superstitions, even if they continued to nurture many other corruptions. Why? Because, as we have said, they desire to be esteemed”….continue reading (link here)

As Braveheart said: “Just Be Yourselves.”

In this article, “An Unmessianic Sense of Non-Destiny”, Carl Trueman (Academic Dean, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.) gives needed encouragement tinged with a bit of admonition, as well. This resonates in my heart. It will resonate with many, I believe. (link to article here)

The Nature and Basis of Assurance ~ A.W. Pink

Monergism has posted a great excerpt (here) from A.W. Pinks Studies On Saving Faith. When we see the remnants of indwelling sin and hate that it exists. It is at those moments we are drawing closer to Christ, when it feels that the opposite is true. The closer one is to Him the more one sees his or her own sinfulness in the light of His holiness.