The Importance of Habitual Faithfulness in Judging the Flesh
“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat … when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).
Habitual faithfulness in judging the flesh in little things is the secret of not falling. It is disagreeable but very useful work to get to know ourselves. Peter is sifted and has to learn that the confidence he has in himself is the very occasion of his failure. In the end, the Lord not only restores his soul but makes him a channel of blessing. When you know your utter nothingness, you can go and help others. The Lord tells Peter, Go, feed My sheep.
Humility before man is often the best proof of restoration before God. Suppose my soul is out of communion, the natural heart says, I must correct the cause of this before I can come to Christ. But He is gracious; and knowing this, the way is to return to Him at once just as we are, and then humble ourselves deeply before Him. It is only in Him and from Him that we shall find that which shall restore our souls.
To be truly restored the Christian must recognize the point of departure where his soul gave up communion with God and sought its own will. Communion with God is not thoroughly reestablished, self and its will are not thoroughly broken, as long as the Christian has not found the point where his heart began to lose its spiritual sensibility, for the presence of God makes us feel that. The psalmist does not say, I must get my soul restored, and then go to God, but “He restores my soul” (Ps. 23:3). The slippery path of sin is often trodden with accelerated steps, because the first sin tends to weaken in the soul the authority and power of that which alone can prevent our committing still greater sins—that is, the Word of God, as well as the consciousness of His presence, which imparts to the Word all its practical power over us.
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