Thursday, March 01, 2012
The Vision (3/1/12): Flavel: Sanctified afflictions are cleansers
Would you indulge me with one more quotation from John Flavel’s The Mystery of Providence? Here are some of Flavel’s comments on how “afflicting providences” work toward our sanctification:
It is a sure sign that afflicting providences are sanctified when they purge the heart from sin, and leave both heart and life more pure, heavenly, mortified, and humble than they found them. Sanctified afflictions are cleansers; they pull down the pride, refine earthliness, and purge out the vanity of the spirit…. How many Christians can bear witness to this truth! After some sharp affliction has been upon them, how is the earthliness of their hearts purged! They see no beauty, taste no more relish in the world than in the white of an egg. O how serious, humble and heavenly are they, till the impressions made upon them by afflictions are worn off, and their deceitful lusts have again entangled them! And this is the reason why we are so often under the discipline of the rod. Let a Christian, says a later writer, be but two or three years without an affliction, and he is almost good for nothing. He cannot pray, nor meditate, nor discourse at that rate he was wont to do; but when a new affliction comes, now he can find his tongue, and come to his knees again, and live at another rate (pp. 201-202).
Has God given you an “afflicting providence”? How has it made you grow stronger in your faith?
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle