Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Puritan Devotional by John Owen

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  James 1:2
God ever tempts man to sin, and we are exhorted to pray against it.  He does, however, test us and prove us.  We see God testing Abraham.  God tests us to show us what is in our heart.  God would have us to see either the grace or corruption that dwells there.  Grace and corruption lie deep in the heart, and man is often deceived in the evaluations of his heart.  God comes to us with a gauge that can go right to the bottom.  His instrument of trial digs deep into the depths and innermost parts of the soul.  It allows man to see clearly what is truly in him, and what type of metal he is made of.  When God tested Abraham, he did not know what power and vigour was in his faith until God drew it out by trial and testing (Gen. 22:1-2).  God tested Hezekiah to reveal his pride (2 Chron. 32:31).  Hezekiah didn’t know he was so prone to be lifted up in pride until he was tested.  The testing revealed the filth and poured it all out before him.  God allows man also to be tested to reveal himself to us.  Until we are tested, we think that we are living on our own strength.  It is God alone however who keeps us from falling by his preventing grace.  We might say, ‘All men may do this or that, but we will not.’  When the trial comes, however, we quickly see it is God’s preservation upholding us.  We do not realize the power and strength that God puts forth on our behalf, and the sufficiency of his grace are then clearly seen in or lives.  The effectiveness of an antidote is not realized until we have been exposed to the poison.  The preciousness of a medicine is revealed by the presence of the disease.  We will not know the power of grace until we feel the power of the testing.  We must be tried, to realize the glory of being preserved.

From "Voices from the Past" Edited By Richard Rushing, page 91, published by Banner of Truth Trust 

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