Digging Deeper in Proverbs 13(b)


Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

RAF: This is as true in spiritual matters as it is in natural life. We cannot be “richly supplied” by that which we have not indulged in. And Christ is MEANT to be indulged in by His people. Those who do not labor diligently to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord will not make progress. They will get nothing. Those who pursue Him gain Him. Those who sit around waiting for spiritual maturity – never grow. Each day the Spirit inclines us to seek Him – but how the tyranny of the immediate drowns out His sweet voice. “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling” wrote the hymnist – but the world is loud and boisterous and drowns out His patient, sweet wooing of our souls to step aside and refresh ourselves in the wonder of His love and grace.

We have spoken often of the “noetic” effects of sin; how the Fall has impacted our ability to retain the vital reality of spiritual things. Bishop Ussher, that grand divine of an earlier age in his famed “Body of Divinity” catechized on this issue when opening up the effects of the first sin by our parents, Adam and Eve. He wrote that when sin entered we suffered “The loss of the perfection of the Image of God, and the corruption of nature, in Man called original sin.”

He went on to show that this corruption shows itself in us in 6 primary things.

Q. What is the first?

A. The blindness of the Understanding; which is not able to conceive the things of God.

Q. What is the second?

A. The forgetfulness of the memory; unfit to remember good things.

Q. What is the third?

A. The rebellion of the Will; which is wholly bent to sin, and altogether disobedient unto the will of God.

Q. What is the fourth?

A. Disorder of the Affections, of Joy, heaviness, love, anger, fear, and such like.

Q. What is the fifth?

A. Fear and confusion in the Conscience; condemning where it should not, and excusing where it should condemn.

Q. What is the sixth?

A. Every member of the body is become a ready instrument to put sin in execution.[1]

Note the second in his list: “The forgetfulness of the memory; unfit to remember good things.”

This is why we simply cannot sustain a healthy spiritual life on diet of one worship service on a Sunday morning. Because we do not retain it. Nature itself is designed to reinforce this reality in requiring us to take in physical nourishment several times a day – not just once a week. And if our bodies need that nourishment over and over just to maintain life, how much more our souls when the world around us is toxic to spiritual life and seeks to rob us of it at every turn.

Believer, we do not stress the need for prayer and Bible study privately, and teaching of the word more than once a week because we are trying to meet some hidden quota imagined to make sure we are “doing enough”. We press it because in our fallen condition, we need to be drinking at the fountain and feasting at that table over and over, or we cannot grow or sustain any kind of true spiritual health and vitality.

The glory, the wonder of it all is that our Christ and Savior is beckoning us to Himself all the time. Never too busy. Never distracted. Never unwilling to meet us and break bread with us afresh. If we are not refreshed in Him, if He seems distant and spiritual comforts escape us – we must ask if we have even made the effort to meet with Him in prayer or the Word? And if not, then hear the Master call again today “Come and dine!” He will receive you and meet with you as though you had never been away.

[1] James Usher, A Body of Divinity: Or, the Sum and Substance of Christian Religion (Eighth Edition.; London: R. J.; Jonathan Robinson; A. and J. Churchill; J. Taylor; J. Wyatt, 1702), 477.

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