Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To be bruised and yearning

Sibbs described being bruised as:

"The bruised reed is a man that for the most part is in some misery, as those were that came to Christ for help, and by misery he is brought to see sin as the cause of it...This is such an one as our Saviour Christ terms `poor in spirit' (Matt. 5:3), who sees his wants, and also sees himself indebted to divine justice." (page 3 and 4)

To be bruised is to be in some form of misery, seeing your sin and knowing that only Christ can quench any thirst. Sibbs goes on to say "He has no means of supply from himself or the creature, and thereupon mourns, and, upon some hope of mercy from the promise and examples of those that have obtained mercy, is stirred up to hunger and thirst after it."

To hunger and thirst for Christ is good because in the darkness and in misery, Christ is the only one you can cling to. There are indeed great hope when being and feeling like a bruised child of God. And do you not find that the Gospel can appear very soothing when we grasp it and remind ourselves of it in times of heartache?

So Sibbs then shows us how being bruised can bring about good effects such as these:

1. The Gospel becomes sweet to us! Sibbs says: "Again, this bruising makes us set a high price upon Christ. Then the gospel becomes the gospel indeed; then the fig leaves of morality will do us no good."

2. It makes us more thankful to God - "and, from thankfulness, more fruitful in our lives; for what makes many so cold and barren, but that bruising for sin never endeared God's grace to them?"

3. Aligns us with Gods ways - "Likewise this dealing of God establishes us the more in his ways, having had knocks and bruisings in our own ways."

4. To humble us - "After conversion we need bruising so that reeds may know themselves to be reeds, and not oaks. Even reeds need bruising, by reason of the remainder of pride in our nature, and to let us see that we live by mercy. 

5. To encourage us - "Such bruising may help weaker Christians not to be too much discouraged, when they see stronger ones shaken and bruised."

How encouraging is that! God never wastes the season we are in, he enriches us and shapes us for our good! And so I want to end this post with one more encouraging thing Sibbs says when we encounter people that may judge us as we struggle like a bruised reed -

"Ungodly spirits, ignorant of God's ways in bringing his children to heaven, censure broken hearted Christians as miserable persons, whereas God is doing a gracious, good work with them. It is no easy matter to bring a man from nature to grace, and from grace to glory, so unyielding and intractable are our hearts."

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