You sit down to-morrow and you read the life of some eminent servant of God: perhaps the life of David Brainerd, and how he gave up his life for his Master in the wilderness, or the heroic life of Henry Martin, and how he sacrificed all for Christ: and as you read you say within yourself, “I will endeavor to be like this man; I will seek to have his faith, his self denial, his love to never-dying souls” Try and get them, beloved, and you will soon find your own weakness. I have sometimes thought I would try to have more faith but I have found it very hard to keep as much as I had. I have thought, “I will love my Saviour more,” and it was right that I should strive to do so; but when I sought to love him more I found that perhaps I was going backward instead of forward. How often do we find out our weakness when God answers our prayers!
“I ask’d the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of his salvation know
And seek more earnestly his face.
I hop’d that in some favor’d hour
At once he’d answer my request,
And by his love’s constraining power,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry power of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
‘Lord why is this?’ I trembling cried
‘Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?’
‘Tis in this way,’ the Lord replied;
‘I answer prayer for grace and faith.'”
That is, the Lord helps us to grow downward when we are only thinking about growing upward. Let any of you try to grow in grace, and seek to run the heavenly race, and make a little progress, and you will soon find, in such a slippery road as that which we have to travel, that it is very hard to go one step forward, though remarkably easy to go a great many steps backward.
That was a part from Spurgeon’s sermon. “As thy days so shall strength be”. The poem was written by John Newton and I really love what it says. How true it is that when we try to grow in grace the Lord shows the inner evil of our hearts so that we will run back to him. How weak we are and how much we have to lean on God. We are as weak as water if God shall leave us alone. The older Christians get in their faith, the less they become in their own esteem, the more they feel their own weakness, and the more entirely they rely upon the strength of God.