On the first day of this year, I began reading through a new daily devotional that I purchased at a conference last fall. Refreshment for the Soul: A Year of Daily Readings from the ‘Heavenly Doctor’ contains brief readings drawn from the extensive writings of the Puritan Richard Sibbes. Today’s post contains the January 3rd reading. I hope you are blessed by it as much as I was a few days ago, and, if you are looking for a fresh collection of daily readings, check out Refreshment for the Soul.
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Thoughts and desires are the two primitive issues of the heart. Thoughts in the mind will strike the heart. Thoughts go from the understanding to the will and affections. What we think of, that we desire. So, thoughts and desires spring from the soul; and where they are in any strength, they will stir up action in the outward man. The desires of the soul, being the inward motion, stir up outward action, until there be an attaining of the thing desired, and then there is rest. Desire to the thing desired is as action is to rest. When action comes once to rest, it is quiet. So, desire, which is the inward motion, stirs up outward action, until the thing desired be accomplished, and then the soul rests in a loving contentment and enjoyment of the thing desired.
Holy desires issue from choice. A holy and wise desire rises from a choice of a thing that is good; for desire is nothing but the pursuing and embracing of a thing. The understanding must choose the good first, before the soul can embrace it. There is nothing that characterizes and sets a stamp upon a Christian so much as desires. All other things may be counterfeit. Words and actions may be counterfeit, but the desires and affections cannot, because they are the immediate issues and productions of the soul. A man by his desires may know who he is. God is a Spirit and looks to the spirit. It is a good character of a Christian, that his desire, for the most part, is to good; the tenor and sway and bent of his desire is to good. The Spirit of God is very effectual in stirring up these desires.
Let us examine what our desires are, what our bent is, for they show the condition of the soul more than anything in the world. As springs in low places are discovered by the steams and vapours that come out of the place, so the vapouring out of our desire for good shows that there is a spring of grace in our hearts.
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