Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
In affliction we learn the lesson of the necessity of living by faith and not feeling or perception. God teaches this by the uncertainty of life’s changes: hope today, and tomorrow at the point of death; good news today, and bad tomorrow; comfort here, and soul-wounding terror there. O the ebbs and flows of earthly hopes! What a woeful, heart-dividing life is a life of sense! It is a life worse than death itself. It is bandied up and down between hopes and fears, to be baffled to and fro between maybes. It is life the mariners upon the tempestuous sea. They mount up to heaven, then down again to the depths. Their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wits’ end. Thus God teaches the necessity of a life of faith through our disappointments. O the bitter disappointment without faith to provide support! Faith is never disappointed; God is always better than our expectation (2 Tim. 4:17). He only lives an unchangeable life who by faith can trust in an unchangeable God. We have lived too long trusting in a life of feelings and reason. And to patch up a life between faith and feelings is not a life of faith at all. If we do not live all by faith, we do not live at all by faith. God allows us to be tried and vexed with secondary causes, and then, when we have spent all upon physicians of not value, we will resolve for Christ. By this mutability and disappointment of the earthly God teaches his people the excellence of a life of faith. Alas, the best of men are but a little breathing clay! Only trust in God is able to make men happy. Can anything be too hard for a creating God? And as he can, so he will. Men may prove unfaithful, but God will never prove unfaithful.
In this classic devotional, John Calvin urges readers to apply the Christian life in a balanced way to mind, heart, and hand. Rather than focusing on contemplative otherworldliness, the book stresses the importance of a devotedly active Christian life. In style and spirit, this book is much like Augustine’s Confessions, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ. However, its intense practicality sets it apart, making it easily accessible for any reader seeking to carry out Christian values in everyday life. Chapter themes include obedience, self-denial, the significance of the cross, and how we should live our lives today.