“The Weaned Child, A Quieted Soul”, Charles H. Spurgeon, Psalm 131:2 (Contentment, Humility, Divine Will, Child-like Spirit)

The Weaned Child by Charles H. Spurgeon

“My soul is even as a weaned child.” — Psalm 131:2

I WAS once conversing with a very excellent aged minister, and while we were talking about our frames and feelings, he made the following confession: he said, “ When I read that passage in the psalm, ‘My soul is even as a weaned child,’ I wish it were true of me, but I think I should have to make an alteration of one syllable, and then it would exactly describe me at times; * My soul is even as a weaning rather than a weaned child ,’ for,” said he, “ with the infirmities of old age, I fear I get fretful and peevish, and anxious, and when the day is over I do not feel that I have been in so calm, resigned, and trustful a frame of mind as I could desire.”

I suppose, dear brethren, that frequently we have to make the same confession. We wish we were like a weaned child, but we find ourselves neglecting to walk by faith, and getting into the way of walking by the sight of our eyes, and then we get like the weaning child which is fretting and worrying, and unrestful, and who causes trouble to those round about it, and most of all, trouble to itself.

Weaning was one of the first real troubles that we met with after we came into this world, and it was at the time a very terrible one to our little hearts. We got over it somehow or other. We do not remember now what a trial it was to us, but we may take it as a type of all troubles; for if we have faith in him who was our God from our mother’s breasts, as we got over the weaning, and do not even recollect it, so we shall get over all the troubles that are to come, and shall scarcely remember them for the joy that will follow.

If, indeed, Dr. Watts be correct in saying that when we get to heaven we shall “recount the labours of our feet,” then, I am quite sure that we shall only do it, as he says, “with transporting joy.” There, at least, we shall each one be as a weaned child.

It is a very happy condition of heart which is here indicated, and I shall speak about it with a desire to promote the increase of such a state of heart among believers, with the hope that many of us may reach it, and that all of us who have reached it may continue to say still, “My soul is even as a weaned child.”

I. First, let us think WHAT THE PSALMIST INTENDED BY THIS DESCRIPTION;

and we will begin by noticing the context, in order to understand him, and then we will consider the metaphor in order still further to see what he literally meant.

First, look at the context; and you will see that he intended that pride had been subdued in him, and driven out of him, for he commences the psalm with this, “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty.” We are all proud by nature, though there is not one among us that has anything to be proud of.

It makes no difference what our condition is: we universally dream that we have something whereof to glory. The Lord Mayor is not a bit prouder in his gold chain than the beggar in his rags. Indeed, pride is a kind of weed that will grow on very poor soil quite as freely as in the best-cultivated garden. Every man thinks more of himself than God thinks of him, for when a man is in his highest estate and at his best, he is nothing but dust, and the Lord knoweth his frame, and remembereth that he is just that, and nothing better. Some poor creatures, however, indulge their pride, and let it run away with them as a wild horse with its rider.

They cannot be trusted with a little money but straightway they hold their heads so high that one might think the stars in danger. They cannot be trusted with a little talent but straightway their genius is omnipotent in their own opinion, and they themselves are to be treated like demi-gods. And if they are God’s servants, they cannot have a little success in the ministry or in the Sunday-school without becoming quite unpleasant to those round about them, through their boastful ways and eagerness to talk of self.

Scarcely can they have enjoyment, even of the presence of God, but what they begin to make an idol of their attainments and graces, and begin to say, “My mountain, my mountain, standeth firm. I, I shall never be moved.” Great I grows without any watering, for the soil of nature is muddy, and the rush of pride takes to it mightily. You need never be troubled about a man’s keeping up his opinion of himself, he will be pretty sure to do that, the force of nature usually runs in the direction of self-conceit.

This pride very often leads to haughtiness, domineering ways towards others, and contempt of them, as if they were not as good as we are; and if we see any errors and mistakes in them we conclude that they are very foolish, and that we should act much better if we were in their position.

If they act nobly and well, this same pride of ours leads us to pick holes in them, and to detract from their excellence; and if we cannot get up as high as they are, we try to pull them down to our own level. This is a base thing to do, but the proud man is always mean, loftiness of looks and meanness of heart run in a leash like a couple of hounds.

The humble man is the truly great man, and because God’s gentleness has made him great he is sure to be kept lowly before the Lord by the Holy Spirit. The proud man is really little; nay more, he is really nothing even in the things wherein he boasts himself.

David could say, “My heart is not haughty.” His brother, Eliab, said that he was proud when he went down to carry his father’s present to his soldier brothers, but it was not so.

His heart was content to be with the sheep: he was quite willing to follow the “ewes great with young.” When he was in Saul’s court they thought him ambitious, but he was not so, he was quite satisfied to be a servant there, to fight the battles of Israel.

The place of captain over a wandering band was forced upon him, he would sooner have dwelt at home. And when he was king he did not exalt himself. Absalom when he was aspiring to the kingdom was a far greater man to look at than his father David, for David walked in lowliness of spirit before the Lord. Whatever faults he had, he certainly had not the fault of vanity, or of being intoxicated in spirit with what God had done for him.

Now, it is a great blessing when the Spirit of God keeps us from being haughty and our looks from being lofty. We shall never be as a weaned child till it gets to that, for a weaned child thinks nothing of itself. It is but a little babe; whatever consciousness it has at all about the matter, it is not conscious of any strength or any wisdom, it is dependent entirely upon its mother’s care; and blessed is that man who is brought to lie very low in his own spirit before the Lord, resting on the bosom of infinite love.

After all, brethren, we are nobodies, and we have come of a line of nobodies. The proudest peer of the realm may trace his pedigree as far as ever he likes, but he ought to remember that if his blood is blue, it must be very unhealthy to have such blood in one’s veins. The common ruddy blood of the peasant is, after all, far healthier. Big as men may account themselves to be on account of their ancestors, we all trace our line up to a gardener, who lost his place through stealing his Master’s fruit, and that is the farthest we can possibly go.

Adam covers us all with disgrace, and under that disgrace we should all sit humbly down. Look into your own heart, and if you dare to be proud, you have never seen your heart at all. It is a mass of pollution: it is a den of filthiness.

Apart from divine grace, your heart is a seething mass of putrefaction, and if God’s eternal Spirit were not to hold it in check, but to let your nature have its way, envyings, tastings, murders, and every foul thing would come flying forth in your daily life. A sinner and yet proud! It is monstrous.

As for children of God, how can they be proud? I fear we are all too much so; but what have we to be proud of? What have we that we have not received? How then can we boast? Are we dressed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness? We did not put a thread into it; it was all given us by the charity of Jesus. Are our garments white? We have washed them in the blood of the Lamb. Are we new creatures? We have been created anew by omnipotent power, or we should still be as we were. Are we holding on our way?

It is God that enables us to persevere, or we should long ago have gone back. Have we been kept from the great transgression? Who has kept us? We certainly have not kept ourselves. There is nothing that we have of which we can say, “I did this and it is all my own,” except our faults and our sins, and over these we ought to blush. Yet, brethren, when the Lord favours us, especially in early life — though I do not know but what it is almost as much so with us who have got a little farther on — if you get a full sail and a favouring breeze, and the vessel scuds along before the wind, there is need of a great deal of ballast, or else there will soon be a tale to tell of a vessel that was upset and a sailor who was too venturesome, and was never heard of more. We have need continually to be kept lowly before God, for pride is the besetting sin of mankind.

Oh, that God would give us to be as David was — not haughty, neither our eyes lofty.

This is the first help towards being as a weaned child.

And next he tells us ‘ that he was not ambitious, — “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters.”

He was a shepherd; he did not want to go and fight Goliath, and when he did do it, it was because his nation needed him. He said, “Is there not a cause?” Else he had kept in the background still. When he went into the hold in the cave of Adullam, he never lifted a hand to become king. He might have smitten his enemy several times, and with one stroke have ended the warfare and seized the throne, but he would not lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed, for, like a weaned child, he was not ambitious. He was willing to go where God would put him, but he was not seeking after great things.

Now, dear brethren, we shall never be as a weaned child if we have got high notions of what we ought to be, and large desires for self. If we are great men in our own esteem, of course we ought to have great things for ourselves; but if we know ourselves, and are brought into a true condition of mind, we shall avoid those “vaulting ambitions which o’erleap themselves.”

For instance, we shall not be hankering after great possessions. “Having food and raiment” we shall be “therewith content.” If God adds to our store of the comforts of life, we shall be grateful. We shall be diligent in business, but we shall not be greedy and miserly. “While others stretch their arms, like seas, to grasp in all the shore,” we shall be content with far less things, for we know that greed after earthly riches brings with it slackness of desire as to true riches.

The more hungry a man is after this world, the less he pines after the treasures of the world to come. We shall not be covetous, if we are like a weaned child neither shall we sigh for position and influence; whoever heard of a weaned child doing that? Let it lie in its parent’s bosom and it is content, and so shall we be in the bosom of our God. Yet some Christian men seem as if they could not pull unless they are the fore horses of the team.

They cannot work with others, but must have the chief place, contrary to the word of the apostle who says, “My brethren, be ye not many masters, lest ye receive the greater condemnation.”

Blessed is that servant who is quite content with that position which his master appoints him — glad to unloose the latchet of his Lord’s shoes — glad to wash the saints’ feet— glad to engage in sweeping a crossing for the king’s servants. Let us do anything for Jesus, counting it the highest honour even to be a door-mat inside the church of God, if we might be such a thing as that, for the saints even to remove the filthiness from themselves upon us, so long as we may but be of some use to them, and bring some glory to God.

You remember the word of Jeremiah to Baruch. Baruch had been writing the roll for the prophet, and straightway Baruch thought he was somebody. He had been writing the word of the Lord, had he not? But he prophet said to him, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.” And so saith the mind of the Spirit to us all. Do not desire to occupy positions of eminence and prominence, but let your soul be as a weaned child — not exercising itself in great matters.

Very often we seek after great approbation. We want to do great deeds that people will talk about, and especially some famous work which everybody will admire. This is human nature, for the love of approbation is rooted in us. As the old rhyme puts it —

“The proud to gain it, toils on toils endure;
The modest shun it but to make it sure.”

But that man has arrived at the right position who has become “careless, himself a dying man, of dying man’s esteem,” who judges what is right before God, and does it caring neither for public nor private opinion in the matter, to whom it is no more concern what people may say of an action which his conscience commends than what tune the north wind whistles as it blows over the Alps.

He who is the slave of man’s opinions is a slave indeed. I would sooner go to some barbarous clime where yet the slave-whip would fall upon my shoulders, and the cruel fetter would chain me to the floor, than live in dread of such a thing as I myself, and tremble with fear of offending this man and the other by doing what I believe to be right. He who fears God needs fear no one else; but he who reaches that point has undergone a painful weaning, and had it not been for that he would not be able to say, “My soul is even as a weaned child.”

 Frequently, too, we exercise ourselves in great matters by having a high ambition to do something very wonderful in the church. This is why so very little is done. The great destroyer of good works is the ambition to do great works.

A little thing can be done by a Christian brother well; but if it strikes him, “I will have a society to do it, and a committee, and a secretary, and a president, and a vice-president,” (it being well known that nothing can be done till you get a committee, and a president, and all that kind of thing), the brother soon hampers himself, and his work ends in resolutions and reports, and nothing more.

But the brother who says “Here is a district which nobody visits; I will do what I can in it” — he is probably the man who will get another to help him, and another, and the work will be done The young man who is quite content to begin with preaching in a little room in a village to a dozen is the man who will win souls. The other brother, who does not mean preaching till he can preach to five thousand, never will do anything, he never can.

I read of a king who always wanted to take the second step first, but he was not a Solomon; there are many such about, not kings but common people, who do not’ want to do the first thing, the thing they can do, the thing which God calls them to do, the thing they ought to do, but they must do something great.

Oh, dear brother, if your soul ever gets to be as it ought, you will feel, “The least thing that I can do, I shall be glad to do. The very poorest and meanest form of Christian service, as men think it, is better than I deserve.” It is a great honour to be allowed to unloose the latchets of my Lord’s shoes. A young man who had a small charge once, and only about two hundred hearers, complained to an old minister that he wished he could move somewhere else; but the old one said, “Do not be in a hurry, brother. The responsibility of two hundred souls is quite heavy a load enough for most of us to carry.”

And so it is. We need not be so eager to load ourselves with more. He is the best draughtsman, not who draws the largest but the most perfect circle; if the circle is perfect nobody finds fault with it because it is not large. Fill your sphere, brother, and be content with it. If God shall move you to another, be glad to be moved; if he move you to a smaller, be as willing to go to a less prominent place as to one that is more so. Have no will about it. Be a weaned child that has given up fretting, and crying, and worrying, and leaves its mother to do just what seemeth good in her sight. When we are thoroughly weaned it is well with us — pride is gone, and ambition is gone too. We shall want much nursing by one who is wiser and gentler than the best mother before we shall be quite weaned of these two dearly beloved sins.

Next, David tells us he was not intrusive, — “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” I have seen many men always vexed and troubled because they would exercise themselves in things too high for them. These things too high for them have been many; I will mention only a few. They have expected to comprehend everything, and have never been satisfied because many truths are far above and out of their reach: especially they have expected to know all the deep things of God — the doctrine of election, and how predestination coincides with the free agency of man, and how God orders everything, and yet man is responsible — just as responsible as if there had been no foreknowledge and no foreordination.

It is folly to hope to know these “things too high for us.” Here is a little child that has just come off its mother’s knee and it expects to understand a book on trigonometry, and cries because it cannot; and here is another little child that has been down to the sea, and it is fretting and kicking in its nurse’s arms because it cannot get the Atlantic into the hollow of its hand. Well, it will have to kick, that will be the end of it; but it is fretting itself for nothing, without any real use or need for its crying, because a little child’s palm cannot hold an ocean. Yet a child might sooner hold the Atlantic and Pacific in its two hands, without spilling a drop, than you and I will ever be able to hold all revealed truth within the compass of our narrow minds.

We cannot know everything, and we cannot understand even half what we know. I have given up wanting to understand. As far as I can, I am content with believing all that I see in God’s word. People say, “But he contradicts himself.” I dare say I do, but I never contradict God to my knowledge, nor yet the Bible. If I do, may my Lord forgive me. Do not believe me for a minute if I speak contrary to God’s word, in order to appear consistent. The sin of being inconsistent with my poor fallible self does not trouble me a tithe as much as the dread of being inconsistent with what I find in God’s word. Some want to shape the Scriptures to their creed, and they get a very nice square creed too, and trim the Bible most dexterously: it is wonderful how they do it, but I would rather have a crooked creed and a straight Bible than I would try to twist the Bible round to suit what I believe.

“Neither do I exercise myself,” says the psalmist, “with things too high for me,” and I think we do well to keep very much in that line. “Oh, but really one ought to be acquainted with all the phases of modern doubt.” Yes, and how many hours in a day ought a man to give to that kind of thing? Twenty-five out of the twenty-four would hardly be sufficient, for the phases of modern thought are innumerable, and every fool who sets up for a philosopher sets up a new scheme; and I am to spend my time in going about to knock his card-houses over. Not I! I have something else to do; and so has every Christian minister. He has real doubts to deal with, which vex true hearts; he has anxieties to relieve in converted souls, and in minds that are pining after the truth and the right; he has these to meet, without everlastingly tilting at windmills, and running all over the country to put down every scarecrow which learned simpletons may set up.

We shall soon defile ourselves if we work day after day in the common sewers of scepticism. Brethren, there is a certain highway of truth in which you and I, like wayfaring men, feel ourselves safe, let us travel thereon. There are some things that we do know, because we have experienced them, — some doctrines which nobody can beat out of us, because we have tasted them and handled them.

Well, if we can go further, well and good; but to my mind, we are foolish to go further and fare worse. If a man has reached the Land’s End, and some great genius should tell him to walk on farther than Old England reaches and ridicule him because he will not go a step in advance into the fog which conceals an awful plunge, I think, upon the whole, he may be content to put up with the ridicule. Put your foot down, brother, and see whether there is anything under it— whether there is a good text or two underneath— whether there is a little personal experience underneath, and, if you do not find it, let the advanced thinkers go alone; you had better keep on the rock.

“Prove all things” — do not run after their novelties till you have proved them; and what you have proved hold fast. Be conservative in God’s truth, and radical too, by keeping to the root of the matter. Hold fast what you know, and live mainly upon the simplicities of the gospel, for, after all, the food of the soul does not lie in controversial points: it lies in points which we will never have controverted, for “without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.”

There is the food of the soul where there is no controversy in any devout Christian spirit. Exercise yourself, then, in the plainer matters, and do not imbibe the notion that you must read all the quarterlies, and master “The Contemporary Review,” and the like, or else you will be a nobody; be content to be just such a nobody as a weaned child is, and say, “I exercise not myself in great matters or in things too high for me.”

 The same evil comes up in another form when we want to know all the reasons of divine Providence, — why this affliction was sent, and why that, — why father died, — why those two children that we loved so well were taken from us, — why we do not prosper in our various enterprises. Why? Why? Why? Ah, when we begin asking “Why? why? why?” what an endless task we have before us. If we become like a weaned child we shall not ask “why?” but just believe that in our heavenly Father’s dispensations there is a wisdom too deep for us to fathom, a goodness veiled but certain.

We exercise ourselves in things too high for us, too, when we begin considering the results of duty and hesitate to do it. A man’s course is quite clear in the word of God, but he says, “If I do that, how am I to provide for my family? If I do that, shall I not be throwing up a sphere of usefulness? I know it would be right to do it; my conscience tells me that I ought; but other people manage somehow to make notches in their conscience, and they are evidently very useful where they are.”

Ah, my dear brother, pray God to lead you in a plain path, and remember, you have nothing to do with results, except to receive them as tests of your faithfulness. Results must always be left with God; for if the result of doing right would be that you lost your life, your Master tells you that you must hate even your own life also, or else you cannot be his disciple.

You will get helped if you can trust, but if for the sake of this or that you do wrong, — I do not mind how you put it, — you are doing evil that good may come, and you are grieving the Spirit of God. Your mind will never get to be like a weaned child. It is not the child-like spirit to try to excuse yourself for maintaining a false position. The child-like spirit is to do what our heavenly Father tells us, because he tells us, and leave the consequences with him.

Thus I have said enough, perhaps too much, about the connection.

Now, from the simile itself we gather that the condition of heart of which David spoke was this— that he was like one who was able to give up his natural food, which seemed to him absolutely necessary, and which he greatly enjoyed. The weaned babe has given up what it loved.

By nature we hang on the breasts of this world, and only sovereign grace can wean us therefrom, but when we give up self-righteousness, self-confidence, the love of the world, the desire of self-aggrandisement, when we give up trusting in man, trusting in ceremonies, trusting in anything but God, then has our soul become like a weaned child. It has given up what nature feeds upon, that it may feed upon the bread of heaven.

It means, next, that he had at last conquered his desires, his longings, his pinings. The weaning child has his desires strong upon him, and he frets, but the child weaned is content, his desires lie still. And the child of God, when sufficient grace has come, feels no desires for that which once delighted him. He submits himself so completely to his Father’s will that, if he is to do without, he does without. Paul said he had learned in whatsoever state he was therewith to be content; there was another lesson which Paul had learned, but he does not tell us so: I have no doubt he had learned in whatsoever state therewithout to be content, which is a good deal more. To be content to be without as well as to be with is a high attainment. Not to have and to be as happy in not having as if one had all he desired is well. Oh, blessed state to be in! not merely taken away from the breasts of earth, but taught no longer to wish for them.

Now, a weaned child is dependent upon its mother entirely. It knows nothing about how it is to be fed. It could not feed itself, and it must die if deprived of the care of another; but it rests quietly, free from even a trace of anxiety.

I find that the Hebrew gives the idea of a child lying in its mother’s bosom, perfectly satisfied; and David puts it something like this, O my Lord, “my soul lies in thy bosom like a child that has done crying and fretting, and is weaned altogether.” Oh, happy man who so depends upon God that he leaves all his concerns with the God of love, and sings sweetly in confidence in God.

Thus I have tried to describe the state which the psalmist intended by being “as a weaned child.”

II. And now, secondly, WHAT IS THE EXCELLENCE OF THIS CONDITION?

Why is it desirable to be even as a weaned child? It is excellent every way. You will know it best by attaining to it, for when you are weaned your desires will no longer worry you.

Curb desire, and you have struck at the root of half your sorrow. He smarts not under poverty who has learned to be content, he frets not under affliction who is submissive to the Father’s will, and lays aside his own. When your desires are held within bounds your temptations to rebel are ended. You wanted this and you wanted that, and so you quarrelled with God, and your Lord and you were seldom on good terms. He did not choose to pamper you, and you wanted that he should, and so you fretted like a weaning child. Now you leave it to his will, and you have peace.

The strife is over; your soul is quieted, and behaves itself becomingly. Now, also, your resentments against those who injured you are gone; you were angry with a certain person, but your pettishness has ended with your weaning: you see that God sent him to do this which has troubled you, and you accept his hard words and cruel actions as from God, and you are angry no more.

You do not kick and struggle now against your condition and position, and you no longer murmur and complain from day to day as if you were hardly dealt with. No, if God chooses to better your circumstances you will be glad; if he does not, you just take it as you find it, for you could not blame his providence. You give your thoughts •to something better than the things of earth, for you now resolve as David did in the One Hundred and Thirty-second Psalm, which is very remarkable as following the psalm which contains our text, because there he goes on to declare that he will build for the Lord of hosts.

When your own business is all right, and you are weaned from all fretting, worrying, and self-seeking, then you are free to undertake the Lord’s business. He has done for you what you want, and now you want to do something for him. You have sought the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other things have been added to you, so that you are as happy as the days are long in June. Look at the birds in the winter. When there is not a leaf on the boughs they sit and sing; and in the early spring, when still the winter’s cold is lingering, they pour out their very choicest songs; and yet there is not a lark or thrush among them that has an hour’s provision in store. Not one among them has house or barn, or gathers ought, and yet, according to Martin Luther’s interpretation of their song, they sing,

“Mortal, cease from toil and sorrow,
God provideth for the morrow.”

Happy is the man who comes to that condition! God bring us there.

When we are weaned we have got rid of the ground of future troubles and disappointments. We do not get weaned all at once from everything. One person here has been weaned from confidence in riches, but perhaps his heart, his affectionate heart, is clinging to some human love, some mortal joy. Well, brother, well, sister, remember that where your treasure is your heart will go, and if that treasure be taken away your heart must ache. If we trust in an arm of flesh, we make a rod for our own backs. You never lean upon a man or woman either, and steal away from simple trust in God, but what you are preparing for yourself a trial; it may be in the treachery of the one you trusted; it certainly will be, if you live long enough, in the death of that beloved one. “Dust to dust,” and “ashes to ashes,” will be the end of all earthly joy. If a building leans upon a buttress, if that buttress is taken away it must be weakened; but if it can stand alone, upon its own foundation, then it standeth firmly. The man who depends alone upon his God, and whose expectation is from him, has not half the occasions for trouble that he has who is leaning here and leaning there, and leaning in fifty places, for each earthly prop will be the cause or occasion of distress at some time or other.

III. I have very much to say on this point, but my time is gone. I will only close with the last enquiry, which is this: Is THIS STATE ATTAINABLE?

Certainly. David said, “My soul is even as a weaned child.” He did not say that he hoped it would be so. We can surely get where David got, for he was a man of like passions with ourselves. No attainment in grace is to be viewed as the monopoly of one man or one age; in fact, we have more advantages than the psalmist, for he lived under a much more poverty-stricken dispensation than we do.

Now the gates of heaven are set wide open, and the treasure-houses and the granaries of our heavenly Joseph are free to all Israel; and, if we are at all straightened, it certainly cannot be in the Lord. He does not stint us. Did David say, “My soul is even as a weaned child”? Then no believer here ought to be content till he can say, “By the grace of God I am brought into that same condition.” This sacred weanedness of heart is possible under any circumstances.

The poor have often attained it. I saw this week a poor woman, entirely dependent upon what was given to her by others, confined to her chamber, needing to be lifted from her bed, racked with rheumatic pain, and yet as happy as an angel. She was joying and rejoicing in the Lord, and one of her greatest pleasures was to sit on the side of the bed for an hour, when her pain was not so bad but what she could sit up, and get through a chapter or two; and then her heart took to itself wings, and soared up to heaven. Her soul was as a weaned child, she had no anxieties and no fretfulness. Those who attended her said that such a thing as a murmur never escaped her.

Hear this, ye poor ones! Well, and you who are better off may get there in the midst of riches, for David was a king, and yet he did not suffer his worldly wealth to canker his spirit. He was as a weaned child, though dwelling in a palace. He could get at the breast of worldly pleasures, and yet he was weaned from it. A man may be in this condition when he is tossed to and fro, and troubled. Business men are apt to say, “It is all very well for you ministers to talk about calm and peace of mind; but if you had to sell flour and bread, or measure out drapery, or look after a lot of clerks, or go into a large factory and see after a pack of work-girls, you would find it very difficult.”

My dear friends, look at David’s life. How tossed about he was! What cares, what trials, what changes, what singular alternations of condition, and yet for all that his soul was even as a weaned child. Do you think the religion of Jesus Christ was meant to be kept under a glass case, and that it would make good people of us if we were locked up in a cloister? No, it is a practical everyday religion, meant for you that have factories, and you that have bakeries, and you that have shops; the religion which cannot stand the wear and tear of everyday life is not worth twopence, and the sooner you are rid of such rubbish the better.

We want a religion which we may take with us wherever we go, that will keep us calm and quiet and self-possessed, because we are possessed of the Spirit of God. May we reach this happy state and never leave it.

What is the way to get it? The psalm tells us, “Let Israel hope in the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.”

Faith blossoming into hope is the way of sanctification, the road to a calm and quiet spirit.

You cannot say to yourself, “I will fret no longer,” and then expect never to fret. No, brother, you must expel one affection by another: one propensity must be vanquished by another. You are too ready to trust in man: trust in God will push out carnal confidence. You are expecting great things of the world, that is foolish: expect great things of God, and you will cease from carnal hopes. You are seeking from day to day for this world’s good, you feel an ambition to rise: seek after the eternal good, and feel an ambition to get nearer to God, and the other ambition will die. You are worried by fears and anxieties: come and rest your soul upon the faithful promise, and, resting there, your anxieties will cease.

I fear that many Christian people think that faith has nothing to do with every-day life; they do not expect to find that it relieves them of anxieties as to bread and cheese for themselves, and shoes and socks for the children, and all those little troubles and worries which concern a housewife and a father. But, oh, beloved, it is not so. The heathen had their household gods, and blessed be God he is our household God, the God of all the families of Israel. The Lord hears the young ravens when they cry, will he not hear his people? The ravens only cry for meat, a dead rabbit or a pigeon is all they want, yet the Lord sees that their wants are supplied, and I find that “not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” These poor hairs? These little things! These trifling things!

You will never be as a weaned child till you leave these little things with God, for the child has no great things. A child’s matters are all little; though they are great to the babe they are little to us. Leave your little things with God: leave everything with God. Live in God; dwell in God; have no secrets between yourself and God. The troubles of life which fret us most are the little things. If a man goes on a long walk; it is not the climbing, and it is not the slipping down the steep hillside, it is that nasty little stone which has got into the shoe which troubles him. You can hardly see it, but there it is, and it blisters his foot and lames him. Ah, dear brother, take the little stone to God. Ask him to remove that little vexation from you, for as with God there is nothing great, so is there nothing little.

The greatest philosopher in the world, or the greatest king, if his little child had a thorn in his finger, would not think himself disgraced if he stooped to take it out with a needle; and the Lord who maketh all things, and calleth the stars by their names, does not dishonour himself when he binds up our broken hearts. Go, then, to your God, and let your soul leave everything with him, by faith being made as a weaned child.

“Easier said than done,” says somebody. Yes, brethren, except by faith, but to faith it is easy enough; and I boldly say here, I have sometimes found it easier to exercise faith than to talk about it. When I trust God — and I hope I do that habitually — I do not find that to give up anxiety and to trust in God is difficult now, though it used to be. Blessed be my Lord, I cannot help believing him, for he loads me down with evidences of his truth and fidelity. Once get really into the swim of faith and you do not need to struggle, the sacred current of grace will carry you along. Give yourself completely up to the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty energy of the blessed Spirit, and you will find it sweet to lie passive in his hand, and know no will but his. God bring you there!

If there is any unconverted person here who cannot understand all this, I pray the Lord to make him a child first, and then make him a weaned child. Regeneration must come first, and sanctification will follow. Believe in Jesus for pardon, and then you will have grace given to resign yourself to the divine will. May the Lord wean you from earth and wed you to heaven. Amen.

Charles H. Spurgeon

“Hope And Perspective When We’re Dealing With Doubt”, by Randy Alcorn (Faith, God’s Sovereignty, God with us)

Hope and Perspective When We Are Dealing With Doubt, by Randy Alcorn

By Randy Alcorn on Oct 9, 2017

Eternal Perspective Ministries

In times of doubt, difficulty, and trials, our fundamental beliefs about God and our faith are revealed. So how can Christians find faith in the midst of doubt? How can they trust God’s plan when their lives seem out of His control, and prayers seem to go unanswered or, sometimes it feels, even unheard?

If you or someone you love has been there, these questions may be far more personal than theoretical. You might wonder: Is God good? Is He sovereign? Does He care?

When we’re assailed by trials, we need perspective for our minds and relief for our hearts. It’s essential we realign our worldview by God’s inspired Word: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The sovereignty of God is a solid foundation for our faith.

God’s sovereignty is the biblical teaching that all things remain under God’s rule and nothing happens without either His direction or permission. God works in all things for the good of His children (see Romans 8:28), including evil and suffering. He doesn’t commit moral evil, but He can use any evil for good purposes.

Paul wrote, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).

“Everything” is comprehensive—no exceptions. God works even in those things done against His moral will, to bring them into conformity with His purpose and plan. We can follow Scripture’s lead and embrace the belief that a sovereign God is accomplishing eternal purposes in the midst of painful and even tragic events.

Genuine faith will be tested.

Suffering and life’s difficulties either push us away from God or pull us toward Him. Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl wrote in The Unconscious God, “Just as the small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it, likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicaments and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them.”

Only when you jettison ungrounded and untrue faith can you replace it with valid faith in the true sovereign God—faith that can pass, and even find strength in, life’s formidable tests.

The devastation of tragedy is certainly real for people whose faith endures suf­fering. But because they do not place their hope for health, abundance, and secure relationships in this life, but in an eternal life to come, their hope remains firm regardless of what happens.

Faith means believing that God is good and that even if we can’t see it today, one day we will look back and see clearly His sovereignty, goodness, and kindness.

In our times of doubt, God promises never to leave us.

Paul Tournier said, “Where there is no longer any opportunity for doubt, there is no longer any opportunity for faith.”

Trusting God is a matter of faith. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). We must immerse ourselves in God’s Word. As a solar panel stores sunlight’s energy, faith is established only by regular exposure to the truth and application of that truth to the events we confront in our lives. This is why it’s essential that we attend a church that teaches God’s Word and that we study it daily ourselves. When our beliefs are established on the truth, we are more likely to stand during times when doubts assail us.

We should ask God to deliver us from Satan’s attacks of unbelief and discouragement. We should learn to resist them, in the power of Christ (see James 4:7). Trusting God for the grace to endure adversity is as much an act of faith as trusting Him for deliverance from it.

God promises in Hebrews 13:5 (NIV), “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” This unusual Greek sentence contains five negatives. Kenneth Wuest translates it, “I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you. I will not, I will not, I will not let you down.” When we languish in the deepest pit and wonder if God even exists, God reminds us that He remains there with us.

We can trust God is refining us through our trials—and one day will bring us into his glorious presence.

The Lord says to us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…When you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2).

God’s presence remains with His children whether we recognize it or not. In periods of darkness, God calls us to trust Him until the light returns. “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).

In this world of suffering, I have a profound and abiding hope, and faith for the future. Not because I’ve followed a set of religious rules, but because for forty some years I’ve known a real person, and continue to know him better. Through inconceivable self-sacrifice He has touched me deeply, given me a new heart, and utterly transformed my life. To Jesus be the glory, now and forever.

Scriptures: 2 Timothy2 Timothy 3:16Ephesians 1:11Hebrews 13:5Isaiah 43:2James 4:7Job 23:10Romans 10:17Romans 8:28

Randy Alcorn (website: Eternal Perspective Ministries)View all articles by Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching biblical truth and drawing attention to the needy and how to help them. Before starting EPM in 1990, Alcorn for 13 years co-pastored Good Shepherd Community Church outside Gresham, Oregon. He has ministered in many countries, including China, and is a popular teacher and conference speaker. Randy is a best-selling author of over 30 books including HeavenThe Treasure Principle, and the 2002 Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home.

“What is Christian Unity” from John Piper (Across Boundaries, Loving One Another, The Holy SPirit, In Christ)

What Is Christian Unity?

by John Piper

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Unity among two or more people gets its virtue entirely from something else. Unity itself is neutral until it is given goodness or badness by something else. So if Herod and Pilate are unified by their common scorn for Jesus (Luke 23:12), this is not a good unity. But if Paul and Silas sing together in prison for Christ’s sake (Acts 16:25), this is a good unity.

Therefore, it is never enough to call Christians to have unity. That may be good or bad. The unified vote fifty years ago in my home church in South Carolina to forbid blacks from attending services was not a good unity. The unified vote of a mainline Protestant denomination to bless forbidden sexual acts is not a good unity.

What Makes Unity Christian?

Christian unity in the New Testament gets its goodness from a combination of its source, its views, its affections, and its aims.

Source

Paul tells us to “be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). I take that to mean that the Holy Spirit is the great giver of unity. “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Views

Paul says that pastors and teachers are to equip the saints “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Ephesians 4:13). In other words, the unity we pursue is unity in the truth. Of course, Christian unity is more than shared truth, but not less. Paul piles up the words for common-mindedness in Philippians 2:2, “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (see also Philippians 4:2). Everything is to “accord with Christ.” “May God . . . grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5).

Affections

To be sure, unifying love in the body of Christ includes a rugged commitment to do good for the family of God whether you feel like it or not (Galatians 6:10). But, as difficult as it is for diverse people, the experience of Christian unity is more than that. It includes affectionate love, not just sacrifice for those you don’t like. It is a feeling of endearment. We are to have affection for those who are our family in Christ. “Love one another with brotherly affection” (Romans 12:10). “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22). “All of you, have . . . sympathybrotherly lovea tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8).

Aims

Spirit-rooted, Christ-manifesting, truth-cherishing, humbly-loving unity is designed by God to have at least two aims: a witness to the world, and an acclamation of the glory of God. The apostle John makes the first of these most clear. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35).

“Christian unity includes affectionate love, not just sacrifice for those you don’t like.”

Jesus’s famous statements in John 17 are rooted in the profound spiritual unity between the Father and the Son, and with those whom God has chosen out of the world (John 17:6). “I ask that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21). Note the witness to the world is that the disciples are in the Father and the Son so that the world might believe. This is vastly more — deeply more — than being related through a common organization.

The oneness that shines with self-authenticating glory for the world to see is union with the Father and the Son so that the glory of the Father and the Son is part of our lives. “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:22). That glory is owing to this: “I in them and you [Father] in me” (John 17:23). From this union with God, and the glory it gives, shines something the world may see, if God gives them eyes to see. God’s aim for this vertically-rooted, horizontal, glory-displaying unity is that he might “gather into one the children of God scattered abroad” (John 11:52).

The ultimate aim of such Christian unity is the glory of God. Hence Paul prays, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:5–7).

What Implications Follow for Us?

1. Seek the fullness of the unity-creating Holy Spirit.

“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Seek to be led by the Spirit and to bear the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:1822–23) for these are the cogs in the wheels of love. If you are a stranger to the Holy Spirit, you will care little for the unity he builds.

2. Strive to know and spread true views of Christ and his ways.

Seek to “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Ephesians 4:13). “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Share, by every means you can, what you see of Christ. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16).

3. Love Christians across boundaries.

Cultivate affection across differences for those who are truly your brothers and sisters in Christ. Hate serious blunders, not sincere brothers. Humans have never been good at this. And the philosophical and emotional climate today makes it even harder — since truth claims are only seen as a cloak for power-grabbing. But consider what Spurgeon says and seek to become like him. Notice the intensity of hate and love.

Where the Spirit of God is there must be love, and if I have once known and recognized any man to be my brother in Christ Jesus, the love of Christ constraineth me no more to think of him as a stranger or foreigner, but a fellow citizen with the saints. Now I hate High Churchism as my soul hates Satan; but I love George Herbert, although George Herbert is a desperately High Churchman. I hate his High Churchism, but I love George Herbert from my very soul, and I have a warm corner in my heart for every man who is like him. Let me find a man who loves my Lord Jesus Christ as George Herbert did and I do not ask myself whether I shall love him or not; there is no room for question, for I cannot help myself; unless I can leave off loving Jesus Christ, I cannot cease loving those who love him. (The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. XII, 6)

4. Serve Christians across boundaries.

For the sake of a witness to the world, seek out ways to show love for brothers and sisters across boundaries — both the kind of boundaries that should be removed, and the kind of boundaries which commitment to the truth (and unity in the truth) forbids you to remove. Do this for the glory of God. Let Francis Schaeffer be your guide.

Spurgeon: “Unless I can leave off loving Jesus Christ, I cannot cease loving those who love him.”

It is in the midst of a difference that we have our golden opportunity. When everything is going well and we are all standing around in a nice little circle, there is not much to be seen by the world. But when we come to the place where there is a real difference, and we exhibit uncompromised principles but at the same time observable love, then there is something that the world can see, something they can use to judge that these really are Christians, and that Jesus has indeed been sent by the Father.

When all is said and done, ambiguities remain. What kinds of boundaries should define local churches, schools, denominations, conferences, para-church ministries, city-wide prayer gathering, evangelistic efforts?

Nevertheless we are not without anchors. We are not without rudder and sails. We have the stars above and our trusty sextant. In reliance on the word and the Spirit, in humility we will arrive home — together.

John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist Expository Exultation: Christian Preaching as Worship and most recently Why I Love the Apostle Paul: 30 Reasons.