The Blessing of God’s Convicting Spirit

C. H. Spurgeon

Today’s Morning Meditation

“The priest is to examine him, and if the leprosy has covered his whole body—he shall pronounce that person clean.” Leviticus 13:13

This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord—then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy—but when sin is seen and felt—it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it.

Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth. If the Holy Spirit is at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips.

What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whoever comes unto Him, He will never cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the harlot, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal son—the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to Him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner! Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare! You can’t come too filthy—come just as you are!

Our Prayer Answering God

C. H. Spurgeon

Today’s Evening Meditation

“Seven times Elijah told him to go and look—and seven times he went.” 1 Kings 18:43

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when His people are earnest in a matter which concerns His glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should not be received in Jehovah’s courts. Six times the servant returned—but on each occasion no word was spoken but “Go again.” We must not dream of unbelief—but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel’s brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again.

So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled—but not abashed—her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement—but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer—but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord.

Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation—deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint—and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin—but continue in prayer and watching.

At last the little cloud was seen—the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us—his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire!

…and we pray.

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“For this child I prayed.” 1 Samuel 1:27

Devout souls delight to look upon those mercies which they have obtained in answer to supplication, for they can see God’s especial love in them. When we can name our blessings Samuel, that is, “asked of God,” they will be as dear to us as her child was to Hannah. Peninnah had many children—but they came as common blessings unsought in prayer—Hannah’s one heaven-given child was dearer far, because he was the fruit of earnest pleadings.

How sweet was that water to Samson which he found at “the well of him who prayed!” Quassia cups turn all waters bitter—but the cup of prayer puts a sweetness into the draughts it brings. Did we pray for the conversion of our children? How doubly sweet, when they are saved, to see in them our own petitions fulfilled! Better to rejoice over them as the fruit of our pleadings—than as the fruit of our bodies. Have we sought of the Lord some choice spiritual gift? When it comes to us it will be wrapped up in the gold cloth of God’s faithfulness and truth, and so be doubly precious. Have we petitioned for success in the Lord’s work? How joyful is the prosperity which comes flying upon the wings of prayer! It is always best to get blessings into our house in the legitimate way—by the door of prayer; then they are blessings indeed, and not temptations.

Even when prayer speeds not, the blessings grow all the richer for the delay; the child Jesus was all the more lovely in the eyes of Mary when she found Him after having sought Him sorrowing. That which we win by prayer—we should dedicate to God, as Hannah dedicated Samuel. The gift came from heaven, let it go to heaven. Prayer brought it, gratitude sang over it, let devotion consecrate it. Here will be a special occasion for saying, “Of Your own—have I given unto You.”

Reader, is prayer your element or your weariness? Which?

Our Spiritual Maturity

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:17

What perfection does the Holy Spirit speak of here? Certainly not perfection in the flesh; that is but a wild dream of free-will and Arminianism. But perfection here and elsewhere means a being well-established and grounded in the faith, as we find the Apostle speaking (Heb. 5:14), “Strong food belongs to those who are of full age” (literally, as we read in the margin, “perfect”), “even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Christian perfection does not then consist in perfection in the flesh, but in having arrived at maturity in the divine life, in being what I may call a Christian adult, or what the Apostle terms “a MAN in Christ.”

When Paul therefore says, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect,” he means “being no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,” but favored with a measure of Christian wisdom and strength. It is this Christian maturity which is called in Scripture, “perfection,” and it is only obtained by suffering. It is only in the furnace that the tin and dross of pharisaic righteousness is purged away; and the soul comes out of the furnace “a vessel unto honor, sanctified and fit for the Master’s use.”

The Lord of life and glory was made “perfect by suffering;” and there is no other way whereby his followers are made spiritually perfect. Until a man is led into suffering, he does not know the truth in its sweetness. We are full of free-will, pride, presumption, and self-righteousness. But when the soul is baptized into suffering, it is in a measure established in the truth, strengthened in the things of God, and conformed to the image of Christ.

Courage!

C. H. Spurgeon

Today’s Morning Meditation

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings.” Psalm 112:7

Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil tidings; because if you are distressed by them—how are you different than men of the world? Other men have not your God to fly to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear. But you profess to be of another spirit; you have been begotten again unto a lively hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things; now, if you are seen to be as anxious as other men—what is the value of that grace which you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature which you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm, as others are, you would, doubtless, be led into the sins so common to others under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and think that God deals harshly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do? Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure.

Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses did at the Red Sea, “Stand still and see the salvation of God!” For if you give way to fear when you hear of evil tidings, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure which nerves for duty, and sustains under adversity. How can you glorify God—if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires—but will your doubting and desponding, as if you had none to help you, magnify the Most High? Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Our Being Received By Jesus

C. H. Spurgeon

Today’s Evening Meditation

“This man receives sinners!” Luke 15:2

Observe the condescension of this fact. This Man, who towers above all other men—holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners—this Man receives sinners. This Man, who is no other than the eternal God, before whom angels veil their faces—this Man receives sinners. It needs an angel’s tongue to describe such a mighty stoop of love. That any of us should be willing to seek after the lost is nothing amazing—they are of our own race. But that He, the offended God, against whom the transgression has been committed, should take upon Himself the form of a servant, and bear the sin of many, and should then be willing to receive the vilest of the vile—this is marvelous indeed!

“This Man receives sinners”; not, however, that they may remain sinners—but He receives them that He may pardon their sins, justify their persons, cleanse their hearts by His purifying Word, preserve their souls by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and enable them to serve Him, to show forth His praise, and to have communion with Him. Into His heart’s love, He receives sinners. He takes them from the dunghill—and wears them as jewels in His crown! He plucks them as brands from the burning—and preserves them as costly monuments of His mercy. None are so precious in Jesus’ sight—as the sinners for whom He died!

When Jesus receives sinners, He has not some out-of-doors reception place, no casual ward where He charitably entertains them as men do passing beggars—but He opens the golden gates of His royal heart, and receives the sinner right into Himself—yes, He admits the humble penitent into personal union, and makes Him a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. There was never such a reception as this! This fact is still most sure this evening, He is still receiving sinners—would to God sinners would receive Him!

Our Walk in this World

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies.” Psalms 5:8

Very bitter is the enmity of the world against the people of Christ. Men will forgive a thousand faults in others—but they will magnify the most trivial offence in the followers of Jesus. Instead of vainly regretting this, let us turn it to account, and since so many are watching for our halting, let this be a special motive for walking very carefully before God. If we live carelessly, the lynx-eyed world will soon see it, and with its hundred tongues—it will spread the story, exaggerated and emblazoned by the zeal of slander. They will shout triumphantly. “Aha! So would we have it! See how these Christians act! They are all hypocrites!” Thus will much damage be done to the cause of Christ, and much insult offered to His name.

The cross of Christ is in itself an offence to the world; let us take heed that we add no offence of our own. It is “to the Jews a stumbling block”—let us mind that we put no stumbling blocks where there are enough already. “To the Greeks it is foolishness”—let us not add our folly to give point to the scorn with which the worldly-wise deride the gospel. How jealous should we be of ourselves! How rigid with our consciences! In the presence of adversaries who will misrepresent our best deeds, and impugn our motives where they cannot censure our actions, how circumspect should we be!

Pilgrims travel as suspected people through Vanity Fair. Not only are we under surveillance—but there are more spies than we reckon of. The espionage is everywhere, at home and abroad. If we fall into the enemies’ hands—we may sooner expect generosity from a wolf, or mercy from a fiend, than anything like patience with our infirmities from men who spice their infidelity towards God, with scandals against His people. O Lord, lead us ever, lest our enemies trip us up!

In All These Things

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Romans 8:37

Those who know nothing of their own heart, of their own infirmities, of their own frailties, of their own inward or outward slips and backslidings, know nothing of the secret of super-abounding grace, nothing of the secret of atoning blood, nothing of the secret of the Spirit’s inward testimony. They cannot. Only in proportion as we are emptied of self in all its various forms, are we filled out of the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Now you, perhaps, (I address myself personally to some poor, tempted child of God, that in touching one, I may touch others,) are a poor, tempted creature; and your daily sorrow, your continual trouble is, that you are so soon overcome; that your temper, your lusts, your pride, your worldliness, your carnal, corrupt heart are perpetually getting the mastery. And from this you sometimes draw bitter conclusions. You say, in the depth of your heart, “Can I be a child of God, and be thus? What mark and testimony have I of being in favor with God when I am so easily, so continually overcome?”

Now I want you to look to the end. What is the issue of these defeats? Remember, it is a solemn truth, and one that we learn very slowly–that we must be overcome in order to overcome. There is no setting out with a stock of strength, daily adding to it, weekly increasing it, and then gaining the victory by our own resolutions, our own innate strength. Such sham holiness may come under a gospel garb, may wear a fair appearance; but it only more hides the rottenness of the flesh. Then, remember this–that in order to gain the victory, we must know our weakness; and we can only know our weakness by its being experimentally opened up in our consciences. We cannot learn it from others; we must learn it in our own souls; and that often in a very painful manner. But these painful sensations in a tender conscience lead a man more humbly, more feelingly, more believingly to the Lord of life and glory, to receive out of his fullness. Thus every defeat only leads to and ensures victory at the last. Says the Apostle, “In all these things we are more than conquerors.” How? Through our resolutions, through our wisdom? No; “through Him that loved us.” There is no other way, then, to overcome, but by the “strength of Jesus made perfect in our weakness.”

Sorrow Upon the Sea

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“There is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.” Jeremiah 49:23

We know little what sorrow may be upon the sea at this moment. We are safe in our quiet chamber—but far away on the salt sea—the hurricane may be cruelly seeking for the lives of men. Hear how the death fiends howl among the storm; how every timber shakes as the waves beat like battering rams upon the vessel! God help you, poor drenched and wearied ones! My prayer goes up to the great Lord of sea and land, that He will make the storm a calm, and bring you to your desired haven!

Nor ought I to offer prayer alone, I should try to benefit those hardy men who risk their lives so constantly. Have I ever done anything for them? What can I do? How often does the boisterous sea swallow up the mariner! Thousands of corpses lie where pearls lie deep. There is death-sorrow on the sea, which is echoed in the long wail of widows and orphans. The salt of the sea is in many eyes of mothers and wives. Remorseless billows, you have devoured the love of women, and the stay of households!

What a resurrection shall there be from the caverns of the deep—when the sea gives up her dead! Until then, there will be sorrow on the sea. As if in sympathy with the woes of earth, the sea is forever fretting along a thousand shores, wailing with a sorrowful cry like her own birds, booming with a hollow crash of unrest, raving with uproarious discontent, chafing with hoarse wrath, or jangling with the voices of ten thousand murmuring pebbles.

The roar of the sea may be joyous to a rejoicing spirit—but to the son of sorrow—the wide, wide ocean is even more forlorn than the wide, wide world. This is not our rest, and the restless billows tell us so. There is a land where there is no more sea—our faces are steadfastly set towards it; we are going to the place of which the Lord has spoken. Until then, we cast our sorrows on the Lord who trod the sea of old, and who makes a way for His people through the depths thereof.

Light’s Effects

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“That you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like lights in the universe.” Philippians 2:15

We use lights to make manifest. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week, without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions.

Lights are intended for guidance. We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the Savior, and the weary to a divine resting-place. Men sometimes read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be ready, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of God’s Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness.

Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals a light-house is sure to be erected. Christian men should know that there are many false lights shown everywhere in the world, and therefore the right light is needed. The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to—that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world.

Lights also have a very cheering influence, and so have Christians. A Christian ought to be a comforter, with kind words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him.