Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! - Psalm 100:2, ESV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you - 1 Peter 5:6, ESV
A man is to be humbled, and not discouraged; not discouraged and yet to be humbled! What is the difference between these two, being humbled and being discouraged?
When a man is humbled, truly humbled, the object of his grief or sorrow or trouble is sin itself, as a dishonour done unto God. The object of discouragement is man's own condition, or sin producing that condition, the ultimate object of discouragement being a man's own condition. When a man is discouraged, you will always find that his trouble is all about his own condition. Oh, says a discouraged person, I have sinned; I have thus and thus sinned, and therefore my condition is bad, and if my condition be bad now, it will never be better; Lord, what will become of my soul? His trouble is always about his own condition. But when a man is grieved and truly humbled for sin, his trouble is about sin itself, as a dishonour done unto God. To clear this by Scripture: you know Cain was discouraged , but Cain was not humbled. How may that appear? Cain was troubled about his condition. Ah, says he, my punishment is greater than I can bear. On the other side, the poor prodigal was humbled, but not discouraged. How may that appear? His trouble was about his sin, and not about his condition: "I will return unto my Father (says he), and I will say unto him, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and I am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants." (pg. 81)
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart....we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - 2 Cor 4:1, 7-9, ESV
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