“These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.
Will You restrain Yourself at these things, O LORD? Will You keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?
Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?
When He keeps quiet, who then can condemn? And when He hides His face, who then can behold Him, That is, in regard to both nation and man?–
Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).
A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.” Genesis 49:4
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Peter 3:14-18
Who are these unstable ones? When they were boys they could never complete a game; they must always be having something fresh; and now they are just as childish as when they were children. Look at them in doctrine: you never know where to find them. You meet them one day, and they are very full of some super doctrine; they have been to some strong Calvinist place, and nothing will suit them except the very highest doctrine, and that must be spiced with a little of the gall of bitterness, or they cannot think it is the genuine thing. Very likely next week they will be Arminians; they will give up all idea of a fixed fate, and talk of free-will, and man’s responsibility like the most earnest Primitive Methodist. Then they steer another way. “Nothing is right but the Church of England. Is it not established by law? Ought not every Christian to go to his parish church?” Let them alone; they will be at the most schismatical shop in the metropolis before long. Or if they do not change their denomination they are always changing their minister. A new minister starts up; there is no one, since the apostles, like him; they take a seat and join the church; he is everything to them. In three months they have done with him; another minister rises up some distance off, and these people are not particular how far they walk; so they go to hear him. He is the great man of the age; he will see every man’s candle out, and his will burn on. But a little trouble comes on the church, and they leave him. They have no attachment to anything; they are merely feathers in the wind, or corks on the wave.
For meditation: Do you recognise yourself here? If not, guard your own stability carefully. But if you do, realise that we are not supposed to remain babes in Christ, but are to grow up (Ephesians 4:14,15). Perhaps you are not sure whether Spurgeon is describing you; one question may help you decide—who has the rule over you? (Hebrews 13:7,17).
Author: Laura Bagby
I have to admit, I love finding out more about the personality types, but I honestly think I need to quit cold turkey.
When finding yourself in some self-analyzing test becomes an obsession, well it’s time to re-prioritize. In my voracious search for self I bought every personality book I could find and I have taken every possible test. I have found out what kind of leader I am, what animal I most resemble, what color best fits my personality, and on the spiritual end, even what Bible character I am most like.
But what’s next? What shape I am? What vegetable? It could conceivably continue infinitely.
What’s ironic is that the search for better self-understanding only led me into confusion and depression. The results didn’t match up. One survey said I was an introvert; another confirmed I was an extrovert. One swore that I was a bold leader; the other seemed to think I would rather hang back in the crowd. And on and on. I would put the book down and still wonder who I really was.
You know what I think? I think human nature is just too complex to get down on paper, and the more we try to find ourselves in some arbitrary categories, the more miserable we shall become. I can attest because eventually we always want to become what we are not.
The answer to the continual search for an identity is always Jesus Christ. What does God say about you and me? Well, He might not tell you whether you are a sanguine or an intuitive thinker or an influential leader, but what He will tell you means more than all the secular books on self-understanding.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for such analysis. Just don’t place your whole value there. God tells us that we are His children. We are co-heirs with Christ. We are in fact new creations. This is our true identity.
I like God’s personality test best. All I have to do is give myself to the Lord, and He makes me more like Jesus Christ every day. My personality quirks and foibles are now His business. He takes care of the rest.
“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3 (NIV)