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There is Poverty and Spiritual Wasting Away of Souls

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade …

Cause for Lamentation, Repentance, and Labor

The Sad and Dangerous Effects of the Decay of Heavenly Trade

There is Poverty and Spiritual Wasting Away of Souls}

Neglect of heavenly trading usually results in soul poverty and wasting away of their spiritual portion. When businesses spend what they have and have no income, they necessarily decline toward bankruptcy. So it is when trading for Heaven is neglected. Those who neglect it do not regain their wasted graces or supplies for their impoverished souls when the source is shut off and all communication of grace is withheld. There is no commerce between God and them. He will not receive their goods, nor impart His treasures to them. Rather, all the conduits of relief are blocked; they necessarily then waste away spiritually and become poorer every day.

The way to be rich is to have a store of Christ’s refined gold. “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see” (Revelation 3:18 ESV). Laodicea was poor because they lacked Christ’s tried gold, that is, the real graces of His Spirit. And this they lost by letting their spiritual trade go down. They did not buy from Christ or go to Christ and deal with Him in His way and on His terms, and that made them poor. And so it is with all souls that neglect this heavenly trade. They quickly come to know what soul wants are. Once a life of godliness goes down, a person will quickly become poor in graces, poor in proven character, poor in comforts, and poor in hope. He will lack strength and peace, will fare hard, lodge badly, and be cast out from among people. He will spiritually resemble Job’s description of poor and low people: “Who pluck mallow by the bushes, And whose food is the root of the broom shrub. They are driven from the community; They shout against them as against a thief, So that they dwell in dreadful valleys, In holes of the earth and of the rocks” (Job 30:4–6 NASB). This describes very undesirable food that is unpleasant and not very nourishing, bitter and saltwater herbs. Some think this means nettles—poor food, yet the usual food of the poor in those parts of the world. Neither was their lodging better: they lived in dreadful valleys, holes of the earth and rocks. Their reputation was no better: they were driven from among people as if thieves. Such is the condition of poor people: they are narrowly constrained and held in low esteem. And so it is with those who decay in their heavenly trade. They have lost their sweet morsels and bits of marrow and the pleasant fare and refreshments of soul that they once had. They feed on dry bones and sapless ordinances. They are not supported at the level of comfort and experiences they once had. They have hard lodging also; they have lost the sweet rest and peace they once found in Christ and in their sincere walking after Him. Their reputation has suffered also; neither God nor good people think so well of them as they once did. This is the case of those who fall back in Christianity. They soon fall into this kind of poverty, and spiritual neediness comes upon them as armed men. “So shall your poverty come like a prowler, And your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 24:34 NKJV). “In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress; Every hand of misery will come against him” (Job 20:22 NKJV). And this is a cause of mourning; neediness and poverty fill people with troubles, perplexity, and grief. Oh, the distractions and distressing thoughts that confining difficulties commonly beget! And there are no confining difficulties like difficulties in the soul. Christian, you yourself be the judge.

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