To keep me from getting puffed up
(J. C. Philpot, "The
Promises Inherited" 1845)
"But to keep me from getting puffed up, I
given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan
to torment me and keep me from getting proud.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take
it away. Each time He said to me, 'My grace is
sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect
in your weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the
more gladly about my weaknesses, so that
Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Cor. 12:7-9
Depend upon it, the Lord's family have to go through
much tribulation on their way to heaven. So says the
unerring word of truth, and so speaks the experience
of every God-taught soul. Now . . .
in these seasons of trouble,
in these painful exercises,
in these perplexing trials,
the Lord's people need strength; yet the Lord
sends these trials in order to drain and exhaust
them of 'creature strength'.
Such is the 'self-righteousness' of our heart; such
the 'legality' intertwined with every fiber of our
natural disposition--that we cleave to our own
righteousness as long as there is a thread to
cleave to; we stand in our own strength as long
as there is a point to stand upon; we lean upon
our own wisdom as long as a particle remains!
In order, then, to exhaust us, drain us, strip us, and
purge us of this pharisaic leaven, the Lord sends . . .
What is their effect?
To teach us our weakness, and bring us to that
one and only spot where God and the sinner
meet--the spot of creature helplessness.
In order, therefore, to bring us to this spot, to know
experimentally the strength of Christ, and feel it to
be more than a doctrine, a notion, or a speculation--
to know it as an internal reality, tasted by the inward
palate of our soul--to have this experience wrought
into our hearts with divine power, we must be brought
to this spot--to feel our own utter weakness.