Spurgeon on Affliction and Prosperity

Brother, beware of the smooth places of the way; if you are treading them, or if the way be rough, thank God for it. If God should always rock us in the cradle of prosperity; if we were always dandled on the knees of fortune; if we had not some stain on the alabaster pillar; if there were not a few clouds in the sky; if we had not some bitter drops in the wine of this life, we should become intoxicated with pleasure, we should dream “we stand;” and stand we should, but it would be upon a pinnacle; like the man asleep upon the mast, each moment we should be in jeopardy.

We bless God, then, for our afflictions; we thank him for our changes; we extol his name for losses of property; for we feel that had he not chastened us thus, we might have become too secure. Continued worldly prosperity is a fiery trial.

“Afflictions, though they seem severe,
In mercy oft are sent.”

 

C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

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Spurgeon on Pride

It is an old and common saying, that “coming events cast their shadows before them;” the wise man teaches us that a haughty heart is the prophetic prelude of evil. Pride is as safely the sign of destruction as the change of mercury in the weather-glass is the sign of rain…Let David’s aching heart show that there is an eclipse of a man’s glory when he dotes upon his own greatness. 2 Sam. 24:10. See Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty builder of Babylon, creeping on the earth, devouring grass like oxen, until his nails had grown like bird’s claws, and his hair like eagle’s feathers. Dan. 4:33. Pride made the boaster a beast, as once before it made an angel a devil. God hates high looks, and never fails to bring them down…pride can get into the Christian’s heart as well as into the sinner’s; it can delude him into dreaming that he is “rich and increased in goods, and hath need of nothing.” Art thou glorying in thy graces or thy talents…If we forget to live at the foot of the cross in deepest lowliness of spirit, God will not forget to make us smart under his rod…“He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
 
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

Spurgeon on God’s Consistency

“Though we are always changing, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.” The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich to-day and poor to-morrow; he may be sickly to-day and well to-morrow; he may be in happiness to-day, to-morrow he may be distressed—but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If he loved me yesterday, he loves me to-day. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.
 
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

Spurgeon on Prosperity

“There are many who know ‘how to be abased’ who have not learned “how to abound.” When they are set upon the top of a pinnacle their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall. The Christian far oftener disgraces his profession in prosperity than in adversity. It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial to the Christian than the refining pot of prosperity…Many have asked for mercies that they might satisfy their own hearts’ lust. Fullness of bread has often…brought on wantonness of spirit. When we have much of God’s providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God’s grace, and little gratitude for the bounties we have received. We are full and we forget God: satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven. Rest assured it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry—so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God.”
 
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

Spurgeon on Suffering and Faith

“Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith. If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test. It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord’s faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father’s countenance is hidden…The Lord afflicts his servants to glorify himself, for he is greatly glorified in the graces of his people, which are his own handiwork. When “tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope,” the Lord is honoured by these growing virtues…The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which his vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights. Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven, if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Will not peace be sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil? Will not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the glorified?”

 
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

Spurgeon on Meditation and Scripture

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on his Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them…Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscle, and the nerve, and the sinew, and the bone, is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the outward food becomes assimilated with the inner life. Our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it. Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).

Spurgeon on Prayer

“The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for such proud beings as we are. If God gave us favors without constraining us to pray for them we should never know how poor we are, but a true prayer is an inventory of wants, a catalog of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty. While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness. The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty in self and constantly depending upon the Lord for supplies; to be always poor in self and rich in Jesus; weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits; and hence the use of prayer, because, while it adores God, it lays the creature where it should be, in the very dust…Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).

The Danger of a Self-Focus: Paul Tripp

The most dangerous kinds of self-focus are those that take on the form of the good things of the kingdom of God…The Good News is packaged and marketed (using, uncritically, all the techniques of modern advertising) as a religious product: offering “peace of mind”, “how to get to heaven”, “health and prosperity”, “inner healing”, “the answer to all your problems” etc. What is promoted as “faith in God” often turns out to be a means for obtaining emotional security or material blessing in this life and an insurance policy in the next…It does not raise fundamental and disturbing questions about the assumptions upon which people build their lives…It is simply a religious image of the secular consumerist culture in which modern men and women live.”

Tripp, Paul David (2007-10-31). A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You (p. 74). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition.

Living for Self: Paul Tripp

No one ever says, “I have decided to forsake the glories of the kingdom of God to pursue the self-oriented glories of my own kingdom.” Instead, because of the blindness of sin and the fact that we exist in little moments , so much of our kingdom building takes place without conscious intentionality. And because we have defined biblical morality as the keeping of a set of rules , rather than the ownership of our hearts by the Lord, much of the conflict of kingdoms goes unnoticed. As a result, our lives end up being shaped by a confusing mix of big kingdom rules (the kingdom of God) and little kingdom rules (the kingdom of self).

Tripp, Paul David (2007-10-31). A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You (p. 64). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition.

Bridges on Proverbs 3:5-6

This is the polestar (directing principle) for a child of God—faith in his Father’s providence, promises, and grace. This trust is not the mere cold assent of enlightened judgment. It is trust … with all your heart. It is a childlike, unwavering confidence in our Father’s well-proved wisdom, faithfulness, and love. He is truth itself. Therefore, he wants us to take him at his word and to prove his word to the very limit of his power.
But our trust must not only be complete—it must be exclusive. No other confidence, no confidence in the flesh, can exist alongside it (Philippians 3:3). Man with all his pride feels that he wants something to lean on. As a fallen being, he naturally leans on his own understanding and on himself. Human power is his idol. His understanding is his God. Many people would prefer to have a lack of principle rather than a lack of talent.
Charles Bridges, Proverbs, Crossway Classic Commentaries (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 26.