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How hot is your fire?

~ Thoughts from The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
Marks of the smoking flax
7. Help for the weak

Are you still on fire for the Lord?
Richard Sibbes says don’t measure that by your feelings, “for in temptations we shall see nothing but smoke of distrustful thoughts.”smoking flax

And you can’t trust comparisons either. If your fire isn’t as bright as your neighbor’s, that doesn’t mean you’re not on fire at all. Don’t bear false witness against yourself in that way.

Instead, trust grace. But don’t try to measure that either. If you have grace, you have grace, just as a spark of fire is still fire. There is as much grace in the spark as in the flame.

A weak hand may still receive a rich jewel.

You are under the covenant of grace, which will not quench any smoking flax, not the covenant of works, which breaks all bruised reeds.

What is the origin of your fire?
Your fire comes from the Father of heavenly lights. He who kindles it is also he who feeds it. He puts a light in every converted man to see with spiritual eyes—able to distinguish between flesh and spirit, between good and bad, between gold and dross.

But what if you truly are weak?
Then detest your temptations and run to Christ
. Complain to him about them. Fly under his wings and let him fight on your behalf against yours and his common enemy.

But don’t be too troubled by seeing your sin. The more you see it, the more you’ll hate it, “and therefore it is less.”

Remember, the nearer you come to God, the worse your sin looks to you. You are most aware of your sin when your soul is most alive. Otherwise, your sins wouldn’t even bother you if you were only trying to please self.

Let such know that if the smoke be once offensive to them, it is a sign that there is light.

It is better to enjoy the benefit of light, though with smoke, than to be altogether in the dark.

Should weakness deter you from doing good?
No. Don’t wait until you can do something with perfection before you attempt it at all. Christ can see the good your heart intends, even amongst the bad, and he will blow on your little work until it flames brightly.

He can make sense out of a confused prayer, and he can and does give grace enough to cover your inabilities and imperfections.

Don’t be cruel to yourself when Christ is being gracious.

‘Lord, I believe’ (Mark 9:24), with a weak faith, yet with faith; love thee with a faint love, yet with love; endeavor in a feeble manner, yet endeavor.

A little fire is fire, though it smokes.

* * *

8. Duties and discouragements
9. Believe Christ, not Satan

This is Week 4 of Tim Challie’s “Reading Classics Together.”
Download The Bruised Reed free online from, or grab a hardcopy, and read along with us.

Comments from reading group
Previous chapters


Lynn Severance said...

Lisa - these excerpts and your comments are so much what I needed to hear today. I was struggling just moments ago with a question before the Lord.

Your posting has in many ways answered it.

Thanks, dear sister!


Lisa notes... said...

I'm glad that God used a preacher from centuries ago to meet a need you had today in 2010! He is awesome in His timing, huh?

Be blessed!
Love you,

Deek Dubberly said...

I believe every Christian feels like a 'little fire' from time to time. Sibbes' words then are for us all. I know that I've felt like this. I know that I've spoken and counseled with many who've felt like their fire was going out. How quick we are, as Sibbes points out, to enlist in the cause of the accuser and constantly point out all the ways in which we fail our Lord. Each week the encouragement I have gained from reading this book builds more and more. It's proven very helpful personally and I pray that it will for others also. Thanks again, Lisa, for sharing your thoughts.

Becky@ Daily On My Way To Heaven said...

Thank you Lisa, for saharing your insights. I just love to visit you in your place and hear you "teach" so clearly.

This book has been a great encouragement to me, and it has been a joy to read it along with you.

Stephani Cochran said...

I love that part that says, "Don't be cruel to yourself when Christ is being gracious." I have often said that the more I become like Jesus the more I realize how unlike him I really am. I did a post a long time ago on how when we get closer to the light we can see more of who we are, just like in the physical world. You won't see any blemishes if your looking in a mirror with the light off! Thanks for this so important reminder today Lisa. I sure needed it!

Audrey said...

It's easy to forget the source of our fire and think too highly of ourselves. Glad for the reminder that our fire comes from the Father of heavenly lights.

Also thankful that what He started in us He will bring to completion.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Young Wife said...

Thank you for your encouragement.


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