Category Archives: Devotions

Heaviness of Soul

I was flipping through a collection of readings by John Wesley early this morning, and came across a message that fits in perfectly with the post I made yesterday.  His sermon is based on I Peter 1, in which Peter discusses various trials and temptations that befall us.

I Peter 1:3-9 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Here is the message from Wesley on that passage:

There is a near relationship between the darkness of mind in the wilderness state and heaviness of soul, which is more common among believers.  The resemblance is so great that they are frequently confounded together.  But they are not equivalent terms; far, far, from it.  The difference is so wide and essential, as all the children of God need to understand, to prevent them sliding out of heaviness into darkness.

The manner of persons to whom the apostle Peter wrote the above words were believers at that time.  He expressly says (I Peter 1:5) you are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.  Again (I Peter 1:7), he mentions the trial of their faith; and yet again (I Peter 1:9), he speaks of their receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls.  So, though they were in heaviness, they were possessed of living faith.  The apostle prays (I Peter 1:2) not that grace and peace may be given them, but that it may be multiplied. 

They were also full of a living hope.  For he speaks (I Peter 1:3) of their living hope of their inheritance that fadeth not away. In spite of their heaviness, they still retained a hope full of immortality.  And they still rejoiced (I Peter 1:8) with joy unspeakable and full of glory.  Their heaviness, then, was also consistent both with living hope and inexpressible joy!

Our God is good.  It’s through this message by Peter that God tells us we are kept by His power through our faith unto salvation.  No matter the burden, trials, temptations, or sins, Christ died for us once, for all. I Peter 3:18 Satan wants the burden of our sin to cast doubt with our faith to lead us into darkness, but we are given the living hope through Jesus and as such we should be rejoiceful, not disheartened.

Worldly Wisdom

I Corinthians 2:14-16 “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”

Consider the following excerpt from John Wesley.  It fits in so well with today’s world.

The men and women of learning are so well versed in controversies and reasoning that it is a small thing with them to prove that their way is right because it is broad.  They will show you that one who follows a multitude cannot do evil – only the one who will not follow them; that your way must be wrong because it is narrow and because so few people find it.  They will further demonstrate that evil is good and good is evil – that the way of holiness is the way of destruction, and the way of the world is the only way to heaven.

Yet we must contend not only with these wise ones in the broad way.  There are also many important, noble, and powerful men and women in the way that leads to destruction.  These do not apply to your understanding but to your fears.  This method seldom fails even where argument profits nothing.  For everyone has the capacity to fear whether they can reason or not.

So that everyone who has not a firm trust in God, a sure reliance both on His power and love, does naturally fear to give offense to those who have the power of the world in their hands.  It is no wonder then, if the example of these powerful people is a law to all who do not know God.

Surely even in John Wesley’s era there were those who would seek to lead Christians and non-Christians astray, but we can always rely on the Word of God as our measuring stick of truth.  Think about the verse from the Apostle Paul above, “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things.”  Test everything against the Truth using spiritual discernment.

Wide is the gate

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Those are words of Truth.  But how often do we think about that?  Can we really comprehend what that means?  Look at the many different paths that are opening up virtually over night; destructive doctrines, apostasy inside and outside the Church, international persecution of Christians, the list is ever-growing.  Consider the following excerpt from John Wesley:

Just as the gate of sin is very wide, so the way of wickedness is very broad.  It is not something which the imagination might paint, but that which may be a matter of daily melancholy experience.  Nor do you need to go around the earth to find them.

Survey any kingdom, any single country, city, or town.  How plenteous is the harvest of wickedness.  And it need not be a place that is still overspread with pagan darkness.  Look at this one, a country that professes to see the light of the glorious gospel.  This has been called a Christian land.  But alas! Who will carry the reformation of opinions into our hearts and lives?  How innumerable are our sins!  Do not the grossest abominations of every kind abound among us from day to day?  Do not sins of every sort cover the land as the waters cover the sea?  Who can count them?  Rather go and count the drops of rain or the sands on the seashore.  So wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction!  And so many who enter through it!

And how well are we warned to avoid these.  For we may otherwise be swept along by the force of so numerous examples conspiring with our own hearts to carry us away.  But by the grace of God, we accomplish the difficult and move against the press to enter the narrow way.

How easy it is to follow the crowd along the broad road.  The road signs all point to destruction, but we keep going past the exit ramps.  Thinking we can go on a little longer before we leave the road.  But what we never think about is what happens if we wreck while traveling on that road.  What happens if there are no more exit ramps?  Now is the time, today is the day, exit the road to destruction and set your path firmly on the narrow road that leads to life.

If you’re ready to take that path, click on the Knowing the Truth page at the top, or click here.

John 14:6  “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”