After a little break - the Bruised Reed blogging is back!
We have seen what it is to be bruised and how Christ is our greatest comfort. But Sibbes also talks about what it is to be a smoking flax. He describes the smoking flax as:
"In a smoking flax there is but a little light, and that weak, as being unable to flame, and that little mixed with smoke. The observations from this are that, in God's children, especially in their first conversion, there is but a little measure of grace, and that little mixed with much corruption, which, as smoke, is offensive; but that Christ will not quench this smoking flax."
I think what Sibbes is getting at, is the times of doubt and times when we feel discouraged at our growth as Christians and the frustrations of sin in our lives that blemish us. Which can bring us to being bruised as well, its like a circle of feeling bruised because we are a smoking flax and the other way around. I think this because he gives examples:
"Moses at the Red Sea, being in a great perplexity, and knowing not what to say, or which way to turn, groaned to God. No doubt this was a great conflict in him. In great distresses we know not what to pray, but the Spirit makes request with sighs that cannot be expressed (Rom. 8:26). Broken hearts can yield but broken prayers.
Help thou mine unbelief.' There is smoke (Mark 9:24). Jonah cries, `I am cast out of thy sight.' There is smoke. `Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.' There is light (Jon. 2:4)
`O wretched man that I am!', says Paul, with a sense of his corruption. Yet he breaks out into thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 7:24)."
But there is always great hope in times of doubt and our confrontation with sin. I think I find these times really hard because I see how unworthy I am and how much I need Christ and how much I am so far from living for Him in my heart. My heart is certainly corrupt!!
But again Sibbes encourages us to not look within ourselves nor dwell to much on our sin but to look to Christ, who values us so highly because of the work He does in us! -
"Let us not therefore be discouraged at the small beginnings of grace, but look on ourselves as elected to be `holy and without blame' (Eph. 1:4). Let us look on our imperfect beginning only to enforce further striving to perfection, and to keep us in a low opinion of ourselves. Otherwise, in case of discouragement, we must consider ourselves as Christ does, who looks on us as those he intends to fit for himself. Christ values us by what we shall be, and by what we are elected unto. We call a little plant a tree, because it is growing up to be so. `Who has despised the day of small things?' (Zech. 4:10). Christ would not have us despise little things. "
This is amazing, just digest this again....
"Otherwise, in case of discouragement, we must consider ourselves as Christ does, who looks on us as those he intends to fit for himself. Christ values us by what we shall be, and by what we are elected unto."