The Example of David

Read Psalm 119 and examine yourself by that pattern. Can you truly speak the same words as David, if not with the same degree of zeal, yet with the same sincerity of grace? You will say, ‘But that was David. We cannot be like him!’ But as far as I know, we must be like him if we mean to come to that place where he is now. It will ruin our souls if, when we read in Scriptures how the saints of God express their experience of faith, love and delight in God and their constant thoughts of God, we excuse ourselves by saying that we were never meant to be like them. But these were our ‘examples’ and were written for ‘our admonition, on whom the ends of the age have come (I Cor. 10:11). If we do not have the same delight in God as they had, the same spiritual-mindedness as they, then we can have no evidence that we please God as they did or shall go to that place where they have gone. The holy men of God, who obtained this testimony, that they pleased God, did not walk before God in a corrupt, earthly manner. Their obedience was not half-hearted. They meditated continually on the law; they thought of God at every moment and their minds were free from other things; they delighted in God and ‘followed hard after him’.

How can we be like these saints? How can we be like David? We must take hold of God’s promise, ‘he that is feeble shall be like David’ (Zech. 12:8). We cannot make ourselves like the saints. But the Holy Spirit dwelling in us can, if we put ourselves under his power and influence.

– John Owen, Spiritual-Mindedness, pp. 35-36.

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