March 17, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 17th, 2019
Five Others (Continued)
4. Constantly Long for Deliverance
My fourth direction for the mortification of sin is:
Being thus affected with your sin, in the next place get a constant longing and breathing after deliverance from the power of it.
Suffer not your heart one moment to be contented with your present frame and condition. In things natural and civil, longing desires after anything are of no value or consideration any further than as they incite and stir up the person (in whom they are) to a diligent use of means for the bringing about the thing aimed at. In spiritual things it is otherwise. Longing, breathing, and panting after deliverance is a grace in itself, which has a mighty power to conform the soul into the likeness of the thing longed after. Hence the apostle, describing the repentance and godly sorrow of the Corinthians, reckons this as one eminent grace that was then set at work: “vehement desire” (2Co 7:11). And in this case of indwelling sin and the power of it, what frame does he express himself to be in? His heart breaks out with longings into a most passionate expression of desire for deliverance (Rom 7:24). Now, if this be the frame of saints upon the general consideration of indwelling sin, how is it to be heightened and increased when added to it is the perplexing rage and power of any particular lust and corruption! Assure yourself, unless you long for deliverance, you shall not have it.
This will make the heart watchful for all opportunities of advantage against its enemy, and ready to close with any assistance that is afforded for its destruction. Strong desires are the very life of that “praying always” which is enjoined us in all conditions (Eph 6:18), and in none is more necessary than in this. They set faith and hope at work, and are the soul’s moving after the Lord.
Get your heart, then, into a panting and breathing frame: long, sigh, cry out. You know the example of David (Ps 38, 42, etc.). I shall not need to dwell anymore upon it.
5. Consider Your Particular Temperament
The fifth direction for the mortification of your sin is:
Consider whether the distemper with which you are perplexed be not rooted in your nature, and cherished, encouraged, and heightened from your constitution.
A propensity to some sins may doubtless lie in the natural temperament and disposition of men. In this case, consider the following.
a. Not a lessening of your guilt
This is not in the least a lessening of the guilt of your sin. Some, with an open contempt for God, will ascribe gross enormities to their natural temperament and disposition; and whether others may not relieve themselves from the pressing guilt of their distempers by the same consideration, I know not. It is from the Fall, (84) when our natures originally fell into depravity, that the instigation and nourishment of any sin abides in our natural temper. David reckons his being shaped in iniquity and conception in sin (Psa 51:5) as an aggravation of his following sin, not a lessening or excusing of it. That you are peculiarly inclined to any sinful distemper is but a peculiar breaking out of original lust in your nature, which should peculiarly humble you.
b. Greater threat
In reference to your walking with God, what you have to fix upon is that so great an ad-vantage is given to sin, as also to Satan, by your temperament and disposition that without extraordinary watchfulness, care, and diligence they will assuredly prevail against your soul. Thousands have been on this account hurried headlong to hell, who otherwise, at least, might have gone at a more gentle, less provoking, less mischievous rate.