Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Ripening Self

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.—1 Peter 5:10

Charles Simeon, the 19th century English preacher, in his early years of ministry, was a harsh and self-assertive man. One day he was visiting a friend, Henry Venn, who was pastor in a nearby village. When he left to go home, Venn's daughters complained to their father about his manner.

Venn took the girls to the backyard and said, “Pick me one of those peaches, he said. It was early summer, and the peaches were green. The girls asked why he wanted green, unripe fruit. Venn replied, "Well, my dears, it is green now, and we must wait; but a little more sun, and a few more showers, and the peach will be ripe and sweet. So it is with Mr. Simeon.”

Simeon, in due time, came to know himself and his arrogance. The warmth of God’s love and the “showers” of opposition, misunderstanding, misrepresentation, disappointment, and frustration that he experienced became the means by which he “grew downward in humility and upward in adoration” as he put it. He became a gentle, humble man.

So the God of all grace works his enchantment on all his children, humbling the proud and exalting the humble, to make them ripe and sweet. Our task is to take hold of God’s grace to endure our afflictions with patience and tranquility, meeting our troubles without growing weary or running away.

In time he will “perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.” us. “Take courage, and wait for the Lord” (Ps. 26:14).

David Roper

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