19 March, 2006

Lord's Day Feature: a'Brakel on the Spiritual Life

The Godly Exhorted not to Be Fretful
Do you not perceive that this is idolatry? There is a secret departure from God, a neglect of depending upon Him, and a secret denial of God's providence. There is a secret accusation of cruelty and unwillingness on His part to care for you, of mutability, and of not being faithful to His promises. Under pretense of being concerned about necessities, there is a desire to rely upon temporal things and a living by bread alone--and even if one does not solely put his trust in temporal things, is nevertheless partially true. God and the things of this world together must grant us satisfaction. Or else, do you serve God in order that He would give you temporal things? What an evil disposition this is. How far removed this is from Asaph's disposition: "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever" (Psa. 73:25-26)! Upon coming before God, be therefore ashamed about your sinful disposition (III: 387).

All your concerns are in vain and you will not gain one penny by them. God has already decreed from eternity how much you will have. There is a "convenient" portion (Prov. 30:8) which God has appointed for everyone and which He gives at His time. No one will take away this portion from you nor will it be diminished. With all your concerns and anxiety you will neither add one nickel nor break or change the determinate counsel of God (III: 388).

As far as you yourself are concerned--you bring yourself into continual unrest, apprehension, fear, and anxiety. You rob yourself of delighting and rejoicing in God. You impede your growth, since your disposition displeases God, and renders you unfit to appropriately use the means for spiritual growth. Your concerns will cause the Word and your good inner motions to be choked, thus rendering them unfruitful (Mat. 13:22). Unbelief has opportunity to surface and will toss the anxious soul to and fro. The desire for religious exercise decreases and free access to God is hindered. The thoughts that these adversities come upon you in God's wrath cause the soul to tremble. Thus, to a great extent quietness, dependence upon God, a childlike confidence in God, and walking with God disappear. Would you lose all this for a greater or lesser quantity of bread, for getting your way, for your own honor, and for the future, of which you do not know how it will be? Oh, these matters are too insignificant to permit the well-being of your soul to dissipate (III: 389).


Mark said...

Good except... ties in nicely with Rev. Lanning's sermon this morning, too. Obviously we need to be responsible with our possesions, but perspective needs to be kept as well.

Aaron Bishop said...

My chuch is doing a study on Ephesians and something in particular struck me about how Paul had such an obsession for his God and for the redemption of the Gentiles (and Jews). He struggled, too: we all know about his thorn. But his obsession and persistence to draw near to God is unlike many people today. Trials and illness and all the other harships that come with this life package all seem so trivial when one recognizes that God has a specific purpose for them (even if we are never to understand the reason...there is solace in knowing that He does). Good post, Nate.

tam said...

great post nate. we're such retards all the time, we learn this, or hear it at least, and then forget it. its so great that God is merciful. thanks for the reminder.