by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, —Psalm 39:3
"My heart became hot within me." He now illustrates the greatness of his grief by the introduction of a simile, telling us that his sorrow, being internally suppressed, became so much the more inflamed, until the ardent passion of his soul continued to increase in strength.
From this we may learn the very profitable lesson that the more strenuously anyone sets himself to obey God, and employs all his endeavors to attain the exercise of patience, the more vigorously he is assailed by temptation; for Satan, while he is not so troublesome to the indifferent and careless, and seldom looks near them, displays all his forces in hostile array against that individual.
If, therefore, at any time we feel ardent emotions struggling and raising a commotion in our breasts, we should call to remembrance this conflict of David, that our courage may not fail us, or at least that our infirmity may not drive us headlong to despair.
If the godly who desire to lift up their hearts to God would resign themselves to the vain imaginations which arise in their minds, they might enjoy a sort of unrestrained liberty to indulge in every fancy; but because they endeavor to resist their influence, and seek to devote themselves to God, obstructions which arise from the opposition of the flesh begin to trouble them.
Whenever, therefore, the flesh shall put forth its efforts, and shall kindle a fire in our hearts, let us know that we are exercised with the same kind of temptation which occasioned so much pain and trouble to David. —Commentaries
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.