Gentleness through suffering

I love the old spiritual writers. Most of what I read in matters of faith come from people who lived and died many many years ago. There’s a certain fervency, a passion and hunger for the deeper things of holiness that are deep calling to deep for me. In that light, a devotional message I read this morning struck me as worth sharing with my readers, so instead of writing something original today, I’m going to let the original author share in his own words.

“And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient…” – 2 Tim 2:24

When God conquers us and takes all the flint out of our nature, and we get deep visions into the Spirit of Jesus, we then see as never before the great rarity of gentleness of spirit in this dark and unheavenly world.

The graces of the Spirit do not settle themselves down upon us by chance, and if we do not discern certain states of grace, and choose them, and in our thoughts nourish them, they never become fastened in our nature or behavior.

Every advance step in grace must be preceded by first apprehending it, and then a prayerful resolve to have it.

So few are willing to undergo the suffering out of which thorough gentleness comes. We must die before we are turned into gentleness, and crucifixion involves suffering; it is a real breaking and crushing of self, which wrings the heart and conquers the mind.

There is a good deal of mere mental and logical sanctification nowadays, which is only a religious fiction. It consists of mentally putting one’s self on the altar, and then mentally saying the altar sanctifies the gift, and then logically concluding therefore one is sanctified; and such an one goes forth with a gay, flippant, theological prattle about the deep things of God.

But the natural heartstrings have not been snapped, and the Adamic flint has not been ground to powder, and the bosom has not throbbed with the lonely, surging sighs of Gethsemane; and not having the real death marks of Calvary, there cannot be that soft, sweet, gentle, floating, victorious, overflowing, triumphant life that flows like a spring morning from an empty tomb.
— G. D. W.

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One thought on “Gentleness through suffering

  1. Dana Klibert says:

    Reading this reminded of something i read by Fenelon in his Spiritual Letters about dying to self over 23 years ago that stuck deep down in my heart so i wanted to share it with you:
    “We cannot die without suffering, neither can we be said to be dead, while there is still any part in us which is alive. That death with which God blesses the soul, pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow. He who sees in us what we cannot see, knows full well where the blow should fall; He takes away that which we are most reluctant to give up. Pain is only felt where there is life, and where there is life, is just the place where death is needed.”

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