It has been recommended that reading include old books of yesteryear. I was reading one of Charles Spurgeon's sermons today and became stricken in my heart not only for my own edification but felt compelled to share it with you as well.
He is expounding on Ezekiel 15:1,and 2. "What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?" Spurgeon goes on to say, " In looking upon all the various trees, we observe that the vine is distinguished among them; so tht, in the old parable of Jothan, the trees waiting upon the vine-tree, and said uto it, "Come thou and reign over us."
Looking at the vine by itself, apart from its fruitfulness, there is nothing to see that would be that appealing. It has no obvious kingship over the other trees. The size of it, form, comeliness, or usefulness does not give it even a slight advantage. Not even the wood is of any good. It is only its fruit that makes it worthy, useful, and appealing.
We are called "God's vine," who love the Lord, yet apart from God we neither are nothing. Apart from the grace of God and if in this life, this is all there is, we are among men most miserable, Paul exclaimed.
Another paragraph by the author states, "Great Christian, thou shouldst have been a great sinner if God had not made thee to differ. O! thou who are valiant for truth, thou wouldst have been as valiant for the devil if grace had not laid hold of thee. A seat in heaven shall one day be thine; but a chain in hell would have been thine if grace had not changed thee. Thou canst now sing his love; but a licentious song might have been on thy lips, if grace had not washed thee in the blood of Jesus. Thou are now sanctified, thou art quickened, thou art justified; but what wouldst thou have been today if it had not been for the interposition of the divine hand? There is not a crime thou mightest not have committed; there is not a folly into which thou mightest not have run. Even murder itself thou mightest have committed if grtace had not kept thee. Thou shalt be like the angels; but thou wouldst have een like the devil if thou hadst not been changed by grace.
Therefore, never be proud; all thy garments thou has from above; rags were thine only heritage. Be not proud, though thou hast a large estate, a wide domain of grace; thou hadst once not a single thing to call thine own, except thy sin and misery. Thou art now wrapped up in the golden righteousness of the Saviour, and accepted in the garments of the beloved; but thou wouldst have been buried under the black mountain of sin, and clothed with the filthy rags of unrighteousness, if he had not changed thee. And art thou proud? Dost thou exalt thyself?
O! strange mystery, that thou, who hast borrowed everything, should exalt thyself; that thou, who hast nothing of thine own, but hast still to draw upon grace, shouldst be proud; a poor dependent pensioner upon the bounty of thy Saviour, and yet proud; one who hath a life which can only live by fresh streams of life from Jesus, and yet proud!
Go, hand thy pride upon the gallows, as high as Haman; hang it there to rot, and stand thou beneath, and execrate it to all eternity; for sure of all things most to be cursed and despised is the pride of a Christian. He, of all men, has ten thousand times more reason than any other to be humble, and walk lowly with his God, and kindly and humbly toward his fellow creatures. Let this, then, humble thee, Christian, that the vine-tree is nothing more than any other tree, save only for the fruitfulness which God has given it."
Purge us, Lord, of pride in any form. We are nothing without You, but the sky is the limit with You, Father. We come broken, cracked, and bleeding to your Throne room, boldly asking you to reign in us today, so that Your fragrance will fill the air and waft over those around us. Every breath we breathe comes from you. Every good thing comes from Your hand. Deliver us from the mentality of entitlement. You owe us nothing. We owe You everything. May Your mind be our mind. We humbly bow before you in worship.