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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Spirit of Wisdom

According to John Calvin:

“There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence.”

“True wisdom consists in two things: Knowledge of God and Knowledge of Self.”

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The Path of Pain

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2 ESV)

I think you have probably heard the proverb, “Time heals all wounds.” It appears to me that most people say this because there really are many afflictions that heal over time.

Since Christians have many supports that non-believers lack, I would anticipate that Christians handle tragedy better than non-Christians. In many cases they do. Nevertheless, many other believers do not seem to heal over time.

Many Christians do not have a clear and practical understanding of the doctrine of the chief end of man. Christians, who do know this doctrine, may not have made it a guiding principle for their lives. They may be able to recite it, but they have not learned how to apply it. What does this doctrine have to do with wounds and healing? Without a practical understanding of this doctrine, the Christian will not be prepared to face the inevitable losses he will experience in life.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states this doctrine by way of a question: “What is the chief end of man?” “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

What is meant by the “end of man”? To speak of the “end of man” is to speak of his goals and the things he wants to accomplish. In the course of daily living, we have many ends. Some ends, however, are more important than others. Look around you. Most people have very little concern for the glory of God. Very few people have the glory of God as the underlying motivation for how they should pursue their ends. This one end, the glory of God, should guide our actions.

How s it that we glorify God? God is glorious already. Our purpose should be to affirm His glory. We must acknowledge the glory that is already there. First, we recognize His glory, and then, we respond to it.

We glorify God in our hearts by bringing every thought and every attitude under the guiding light of the glory of God. We glorify God in our actions. We glorify God every time we choose to obey Him. Even when God deals with us in ways that are mysterious, if we trust in Him, we glorify Him.

Part of our chief end is to enjoy God. We enjoy God by being at peace with Him and taking pleasure in His blessings. We enjoy God as He has revealed Himself in His word. God blesses us with His wisdom. The Holy Spirit teaches us while we read our Bibles. He convicts our hearts when we sin. He leads us in the ways of righteousness. He comforts us when we hurt. The Holy Spirit gave life to our souls; it is His work that keeps us faithful; and it is His guiding work that leads us through the troubles encountered in this life and assures us of the life to come.

This is easier to understand when we consider that we were created not for ourselves but for God. We find in Colossians 1:16-17 ESV, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

We have a glorious motive to persevere through trials and circumstances, if the glory of God is the underlying motivation for all we do. As long as we have a mind to think with, we have the ability to glorify God. We glorify God when we read His word, for when we do this, we affirm that the Word of God is true and reliable. We glorify God when we pray to Him, for when we do this, we acknowledge Who He is and His right to govern us.

Is there anything you would withhold from God: your spouse, your children, your home, your income, and your possessions? All of it belongs to God, and all of it is subject to being taken away by God at any time. It is part of our fallen condition that when trials come, it is easy to look around and wonder whether God is dealing harder with you than with someone else. Well, there is good news and bad news. Some life journeys are harder than others. If you are on a harder journey, I’m sure you see it as bad news. The good news is that the path you are on is the journey God has chosen for you. As you continue down this path, God will be with you to help you through it and His glory shall be magnified through you.

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