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When Earthly Things Consume Too Much of Our Hearts

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade …

The Blameworthiness of People’s Inordinate Pursuit of Earthly Things

How May We Know When Pursuit of Earthly Things Is Inordinate?

When Earthly Things Consume Too Much of Our Hearts}


ANSWER 2: People may know that they are inordinately pursuing their earthly business and concerns when they lay out their hearts for the world. “Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them” (Psalm 62:10 NASB). The danger of a disease lies in its seizure on the heart.345 Earthly things under the hand are a duty, but in the heart, a disease. The heart is Christ’s royal fort to which the devil, the world, and the flesh lay siege, and if that be taken, all is lost. Earthly things are briars and thorns, and therefore dangerous near the heart. The least prick at the heart is mortal. The heart is Christ’s nuptial bed into which Christ retires. The world is the saint’s servant. Now, to admit a servant into the Lord’s bed is adulterous. The heart is God’s seat, pavilion, and throne, into which none must enter but Himself. It is like the gate of the sanctuary into which none must enter but God Himself. “And the Lord said to me, ‘This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it. Therefore it shall remain shut’” (Ezekiel 44:2 ESV). The heart of believers is to be kept for God only; to take worldly things into God’s room is intolerable effrontery. To set your heart on the world, trade, business concerns, or created things is to invert the order of nature and grace. In creation, God puts humankind uppermost and puts all things under his feet. “You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6 NASB). Now to place those things over your heart—things that God has set under your feet—is to turn the world upside down and to overturn the whole course of nature. This is the great sin of this day: people set their hearts on the things of this world. If people were serious and willing to have their hearts searched and to know their spiritual state, many that think well of themselves might find that they are in a woeful and dangerous state, notwithstanding all their show and seeming hopes. Their hearts are not right with God, but are set on other things, earthly things, more than God.


Six things uncover this, that the heart is set too much on this world.


Sign of a Worldly Heart: Our Desires Are Greedily for Worldly Things

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

The Blameworthiness of People’s Inordinate Pursuit of Earthly Things

How May We Know When Pursuit of Earthly Things Is Inordinate?

When Earthly Things Consume Too Much of Our Hearts

Sign: Our Desires Are Greedily for Worldly Things}


The heart is set too much on the world when a person’s desires are inordinately set upon the world. This is one symptom the prophet gives of an unsound, covetous heart: such a person has greedy and unsatisfied desires for the world. “Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations And heaps up for himself all peoples” (Habakkuk 2:5 NKJV).346 In the former verse, he tells us that a carnal, unbelieving heart is a rotten, unsound heart. “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4 NASB). A carnal heart is all for himself and his own carnal interests and not for God. He lives by sight and not by faith. And, this is the evidence of it: all his desires were for carnal things. Desires are the exhalations and products of the heart. As the heart is, so are they. Where the desires are earthly, the heart is earthly. Such a one is never satisfied with any portion of earthly things. Similar to a person with a fever who is always thirsty, so an earthly heart is always coveting more and more. “Woe to those who join house to house; They add field to field, Till there is no place Where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land!” (Isaiah 5:8 NKJV). As long as there is any place left, they covet it. A field, a house, or a living347 is just a morsel that stays a hungry stomach for the present. As soon as that is digested, they long for more. This is a certain sign that the heart is set too much on the world; the heart never has enough of the world. And alas, where is the person who will say with Jacob, “I have enough” (Genesis 45:28)?348 When the heart is set on God and things above, a little of the world will content that soul: food and clothing, with godliness, is enough. But it is never satisfied with its measure of grace and enjoyment of God. The more it enjoys of God, the more it longs for further fellowship with Him. One duty only makes the stomach hungry for another; the more he has, the more he desires God and spiritual things. A heart that is altogether earthly is similar: that heart’s earthly desires are also never satisfied, but it longs for more.


Sign of a Worldly Heart: Our Thoughts Are Earthly

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

The Blameworthiness of People’s Inordinate Pursuit of Earthly Things

How May We Know When Pursuit of Earthly Things Is Inordinate?

When Earthly Things Consume Too Much of Our Hearts

Sign of a Worldly Heart: Our Thoughts Are Earthly}


A worldly heart has worldly thoughts. The mind is completely consumed by earthly things. Thoughts are to the heart as the sunbeams are to the sun and the streams to the spring; they are homogeneous—that is, of the same nature with them.349 Our Lord Jesus tells us that it is out of the heart that evil thoughts come (Mark 7:21).350 “They come directly from the heart,” says Mr. Fenner. “Nothing comes between the heart and them.” “Other sins,” says he, “come from the heart, but as second, third, or fourth-hand results. But thoughts come directly from it.” And nothing more reveals the heart than the usual, habitual, and delightful thoughts of a person. Mr. Fenner said of the misery of earthly thoughts, “They are unambiguous acts of the heart; they show what the heart is, just as shining does the light.” Where are your thoughts mostly? What are your pleasing and delightful thoughts? There is your heart. “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5 NASB). As soon as they awake, thoughts of their business (as friends) come to visit them. These drive out other thoughts of God and heavenly things, which vanish and disappear at the presence of earthly thoughts, just as clouds do at the rising sun. It is as when a master comes in to take his seat; servants rise up and go their way. No sooner do thoughts of God come in, but earthly thoughts drive them away, as the shepherds did to Jethro’s daughters, and there is no Moses to stand up and help them (Exodus 2:16–17).351 An earthly person’s thoughts are on the world from morning to night, just as the dog follows its owner all day long. In company, alone, at home, away from home, on journeys, and in duties, that person’s thoughts are usually about his trade, business concerns, house, field, work, and the like. It may be that sometimes good thoughts may come into the mind, and these [seem] to make amends for all other thoughts, feeding the deceived heart with the conceit that all is well because good thoughts come in now and then. But the main bent of their thoughts has been about earthly things, which thoughts grow out of the heart as residents. But good thoughts are only guests and strangers that do not stay long; they visit and then are gone. The heart must then give way to earthly thoughts again, which thoughts are home-born household servants and inhabitants. Your thoughts of God are only occasional, and now and then they may be unusually intense when you experience some special mercy or affliction. But your earthly thoughts are fixed, scheduled, and continual. Your good thoughts are like rainwater that falls on you or as hand-pumped water that must be forced out. But your carnal thoughts are as spring water that runs freely and springs up from within you. Your good thoughts are just your recreation [into which you do not put effort]; they are only for when your mind is tired from other things. But your earthly thoughts are your work and employment. When people have done their work, they sometimes go out for a walk. Your infrequent thoughts of God and divine things are like that. When you have expended the strength of your mind on the world and your own things, then to quiet your conscience and give your mind recreation, you give your thoughts permission to take a walk and go visit better things. Your heavenly thoughts are gentle, easy, weak, and sickly. They carry little of the strength and vigor of your heart out with them. But your thoughts of the world are strong and lively, the firstborn352 and the strength of your heart. They are consuming thoughts, working, plotting, worrying, and studying thoughts. Ah, souls, do not deceive yourselves with fantasies of a good [spiritual] state from some occasional temporary emotions and good moods you may have. Hypocrites have these also. Because all the while, the strength and bent of your hearts and the constant, lively, and prevailing thoughts of your souls are carnal, selfish, and earthly.




Sign of a Worldly Heart: We Labor Restlessly for the World

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

The Blameworthiness of People’s Inordinate Pursuit of Earthly Things

How May We Know When Pursuit of Earthly Things Is Inordinate?

When Earthly Things Consume Too Much of Our Hearts

Sign of a Worldly Heart: We Labor Restlessly for the World}


People’s restless labor after the world plainly shows that their hearts are on the world. When the heart is set on a thing, the person is restless until he or she has it, and leaves no stone unturned. That person sets wit, hands, friends, and all at work to get it. When Shechem’s heart was set on Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, he was willing to do anything in order to obtain her. “You shall dwell with us, and the land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and get property in it. Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, ‘Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give’” (Genesis 34:10–11 ESV). He did not consider any condition too hard: to let [Jacob and family] take up possession [in their land], undergo painful duties, punishment, circumcision, or part with anything, so long as he could have the desire of his heart. Consider what hardships Jacob endured for his beloved Rachel: twice seven years’ service while consumed by heat in the day and frost in the night, deprived of sleep. “There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times” (Genesis 31:40–41 ESV). And yet, he could bear all this to enjoy the object of his love.


So it is with earthly-minded people; all of their capabilities are engaged about earthly things. Their main strength is expended for their trades, callings, and business in the world, and they seldom give heed to concerns of the soul or Christian duties. They might now and then, if they are interested, hear sermons, read [the Bible or Christian literature], or pray, but in a cold, cursory, formal, and sleepy manner. But they are all life when engaging with the world. They are ready to complain that prayer is too long, preaching tedious, and too much time is spent in Christian duties. What is the need of this waste (Matthew 26:7–8)?353 To flesh and blood, everything spent on Christ and His service is lost. But that spent for the world seems all too little.354 People weary themselves for every vanity; they refuse nothing that will help them obtain their desired interests, undergo hardships, and turn their back on any Christian duties. Rather than lose an advantage in the world, they will gamble health, reputation, the displeasure of God, all their spiritual mercies, and yes, the eternal welfare of their souls as well. This is the spirit of too many today. There are people who seem to be well on the way to salvation. But like the young man in the Gospel (Luke 18:22–23),355 they well like the terms of the Gospel and are willing to meet them, except for this one thing: they cannot part with the world for Christ. Like Naaman, they have a Rimmon to bow to (2 Kings 5:18).356 In everything else, they will consent to follow Christ, but in this they must be spared: when their farms, their merchandise, and profit call them, then the concerns of Christ and their souls must stand aside. Like a flood, their emotional attachment to worldly things runs over all that is in the way. They take no notice of what Scripture or conscience says. They are deaf to all arguments that thwart their worldly concerns. This is the case of a worldly heart. That person’s primary strength is spent on earthly things. These must be followed and sought after, no matter what becomes of the soul and spiritual things. “What is that great hope,” said Seneca, “what is that great necessity that stoops man (who was made upright to contemplate Heaven) and buries and drowns him in the deeps of the earth to get out gold, which is not got with less danger than [that with which] it is kept?” A little strength for duty will serve well enough, but a great deal of time, care, and labor must be given to the world. Surely the world rules that heart that comes and goes at its bidding, and can leave all to follow it at the command of worldly concerns.357 You will recognize that a person is another person’s servant, who, whatever he is doing, will leave it all when his master tells him to follow him. Let people think what they wish, God has no part for the present time in that soul that can do more to enjoy the world than for God, and who deems anything more necessary than to converse with, obey, and serve Him.


Sign of a Worldly Heart: We Overly Delight in Worldly Things

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

The Blameworthiness of People’s Inordinate Pursuit of Earthly Things

How May We Know When Pursuit of Earthly Things Is Inordinate?

When Earthly Things Consume Too Much of Our Hearts

Sign of a Worldly Heart: We Overly Delight in Worldly Things}


The delight and pleasure that people take in earthly things declare that their hearts are set upon them. On whatever the heart is set, it is that in which the heart delights. Love is the very life of the soul. When Jonathan’s heart was knit with the heart of David (1 Samuel 18:1),358 there was evidence of it: “And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. And Jonathan told David, ‘Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself’” (1 Samuel 19:1–2 ESV). Delight is the fulfillment of desire, the obtaining of the good that the heart is set upon and the satisfaction in it. One calls it the sabbath [rest] of our thoughts and that sweet tranquility of mind that we receive from the presence and fruition of that good into which our desires have carried us. If then, people’s delight [satisfaction] in the world exceeds their pleasure [satisfaction] in God, it is a sign that the world is their chief good.359 Wicked people delight in their abominations, and that proves their ways to be by choice. “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations” (Isaiah 66:3 ESV). Try your heart by your pleasures: what is sweetest to your taste, God or the world? What is most delightful to you: to wait on God, though with the loss of the world, or to pursue the world with the loss of God? People cheat their own souls when they say that the enjoyment of God is better than the world, and yet, for every trifle and smallest advantage, can choose to reject enjoying God in His provided means of grace.360 They cannot risk the least loss or harm to their concerns, even for the nearest fellowship with God. It is certain that whatever is the soul’s greatest pleasure, it is that which the soul will pursue when left to its liberty. Can you leave the snow of Lebanon for the waters of Assyria?361 Can you pass up a walk in Christ’s gallery to sit down and comfort yourself with the dunghill comforts of this life? If so, then your main delights are not in God. “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4 ESV). If beholding God in ordinances is your delight, it will be the one object of your desires and endeavors to obtain; all other things are nothing to that. If your chief pleasure is in God, then nothing but a conviction of a call to duty can make you choose to decline an opportunity to wait on God. Even then, when obedience to God puts your hand to work in the world, delight in God will engage your longing after Him. This longing will make your greatest comforts that you are then pursuing a weight and burden to your soul because they stand between your heart and communion with God. Your affections will be like the cows that pulled the ark to Beth-shemesh, that mooed after their calves as they went (1 Samuel 6:12).362 When you are constrained to draw the cart of your duties and employments, even then will your desire be mooing after the comfort of your relationship to God. How is it, soul?363 Speak. Is not a good marketplace and bargain sweeter to you and more pleasant than a sermon or a Christian duty? Are you not used to following the world with your back to fellowship with God and the saints, and that without the least regret in your spirit or cloud on your comforts? If so, your heart is not yet supremely set on God.


Sign of a Worldly Heart: We Will Not Part with Earthly Things for God and His Service

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

The Blameworthiness of People’s Inordinate Pursuit of Earthly Things

How May We Know When Pursuit of Earthly Things Is Inordinate?

When Earthly Things Consume Too Much of Our Hearts

Sign: We Will Not Part with Earthly Things for God}


Adverseness or unwillingness to part with your earthly comforts and concerns [when obedience to God makes it necessary,] tells you that your heart is too set on them. Jacob’s unwillingness to part with Benjamin was a sign his heart was too much set on him. Judah told the governor of Egypt [Joseph] that Jacob’s life was bound up in the lad’s life (Genesis 44:30).364 The spouse’s affection for her beloved was seen by the fact that when she found him, she held him and would not let him go. “Scarcely had I passed by them, When I found the one I love. I held him and would not let him go, Until I had brought him to the house of my mother, And into the chamber of her who conceived me” (Song of Solomon 3:4 NKJV). Such is the testimony that if people’s hearts are on the things of this life, they hold them fast and will not let them go. Most people hold their earthly concerns too tenaciously to be dead to them. Tightly holding hands365 are evidence of hearts that cling to the world. Alas, with what reluctance do people who have an abundance of this world’s goods spend them for God! How hard it is to persuade those who have this world’s goods to give a proportionate amount of charity. There are so many arguments and reasons that people plead to justify their parting with only a little of their worldly wealth. How much beneath their measure do most people spend their earthly things for the calls of God upon them. This shows plainly that their heart is bound up in the satisfactions these things give. “Covetous men will sooner part with their flesh than their gold,” said Augustine. [When David requested sustenance from him, covetous Nabal replied,] “Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?” (1 Samuel 25:11 ESV). Covetous people cannot endure to part with what they have.366 Augustine said, “The covetous man, while he holds his riches, is held fast by them. By preying on others, he himself becomes a prey.” Covetous people are like a net that captures all the fish that enter it, but lets none out except some small ones that are of little worth. Earthly minds are made most obvious by their tenacity and close keeping of what they have. Like dying people, whatever they take hold of, they will not let it go.367 This is the temperament of many: they cannot scatter for God nor honor Him with their substance. “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty” (Proverbs 11:24 NKJV). That latter person has the character of one whose heart is on the world. “He is not only covetous who takes away other men’s goods,” said Augustine, “but he who covetously withholds his own.” He will not let them go when God has use for them. Certainly if believers themselves are not their own (1 Corinthians 6:19),368 then they will one day know that their estates and business concerns are not their own, but the Lord’s and are to be in His control. How will the owner of that colt for which Christ sent rise up in judgment against many! No sooner did the disciple say, “The Lord has need of it,” than the owner released it to him. “And He said to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. And if anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” say, “The Lord has need of it,” and immediately he will send it here.’ So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. But some of those who stood there said to them, ‘What are you doing, loosing the colt?’ And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go” (Mark 11:2–6 NKJV). Shall one who (so far as we know) was not a disciple of Christ readily part with so much at the first request—and those that profess much love for Christ refuse to spend lesser things for Him? This clearly shows that the world is much dearer to such people than Jesus Christ.



Sign of a Worldly Heart: Our Trust and Dependence Is on Worldly Things

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

The Blameworthiness of People’s Inordinate Pursuit of Earthly Things

How May We Know When Pursuit of Earthly Things Is Inordinate?

When Earthly Things Consume Too Much of Our Hearts

Sign: Our Trust and Dependence Is on Worldly Things}


People’s hearts are on the world when their trust and dependence are on earthly things.369 We are apt to put our confidence in friends, and therefore the Lord cautions Israel about such dependencies because they are false and deceiving things. “Do not trust in a neighbor; Do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom Guard your lips” (Micah 7:5 NASB). The spouse came leaning on her beloved in the wilderness (Song of Solomon 8:5).370 As soon as the rich man had a store of goods, he put his confidence in them. “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’” (Luke 12:19–20 NASB). It is natural for people who choose the world for their treasure to also choose to put their trust in it. Those who dare to venture their supreme affection on things also dare to be dependent on them. “He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter” (Isaiah 40:20 NASB). If riches are your [primary] choice, you think them worthy of your trust; if you think they are not worthy of your trust, you act irrationally [by making them your primary choice]. For people who have wealth, “their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, Their dwelling places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names” (Psalm 49:11 NKJV). It is hard to have the good things of this life and not to expect too much from them. They invite us to depend on them [apart from God]. Earthly things are fair in promise, but false in performance. They are like mires covered with grass; people think they are firm ground, but when they walk on them, they soon become their graves. The evangelist calls all that glorious pomp with which Agrippa so amused spectators a mere show (Acts 25:23).371 When Agrippa and Bernice entered with great pomp, it was with much fantasy and external show. All the glory of this world is only a pompous show that cheats viewers and allures them to a false expectation. Those who have much visible comfort in created things live little by faith. How rare is it for people who have estates and riches for their posterity to commit them to divine care by resting only on the promise and to believe a naked Word for all their supplies and needed comforts. “And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’” (Isaiah 20:6 ESV).372 An earthly heart is known by carnal trust and dependence [apart from God] on earthly things. Ah, fools! Put your hearts on this scale and see whether they do not press down to this present world.373


345The editor has chosen to not alter illustrations based upon old and mistaken medical notions lest the effect of the illustration be lost.

346This description is not of some dictator, but a description of any proud person’s heart, however little or much their actual desires, whatever those may be, are fulfilled.

347living: in this context, Ashwood may be referring to the Roman Catholic or another hierarchically governed denomination’s practice of assigning parishes or dioceses to clergymen. Abuses occurred, such as clergy getting the income from more than one living, and worse, not caring for their people.

348Then Israel [Jacob] said, ‘It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die’” (Genesis 45:28 NKJV).

349Ashwood’s nuclear physics is a little bit quaint here, but his point is that what comes from the sun is according to its nature and the water that comes from a spring reflects the nature of the underground water source.

350For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery” (Mark 7:21 ESV).

351Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock” (Exodus 2:16–17 ESV).

352firstborn: in this context, the most important and most privileged.

353A woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, ‘Why this waste?’” (Matthew 26:7–8 ESV).

354It seems too little, because they have not yet attained all they think they want.

355When Jesus heard this, He said to him, ‘One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich” (Luke 18:22–23 NASB).

356Yet in this thing may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord please pardon your servant in this thing” (2 Kings 5:18 NKJV).

357In contrast to the apostle Matthew/Levi and Christ: “After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him” (Luke 5:27–28 NASB).

358As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18:1 ESV).

359The editor included satisfaction in brackets because pleasure here must not be taken to mean merely giddy happiness or euphoria, but also and more importantly, the kind of deep and lasting satisfaction that comes from a job well done, repentance from sin, labors (however painful) of love for God and others, and so on.

360All orthodox Christian theologians count prayer, the preached Word, worship, the sacraments, and Bible reading and study as means of grace. These are things that the Holy Spirit uses as instruments by which to convey divine grace to us against sin and for holiness. Some theologians also add Christian fellowship or church discipline to the list.

361Jeremiah 2:18 has a reference to Assyria and river water, water that is generally not good and clean. Also, Assyria carried off ten tribes of Israel in 722 BC. Jeremiah 18:14 makes a reference to “snow water of Lebanon” and describes this water as cold and flowing, that is, good water.

362And the cows took the straight way in the direction of Beth-shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. And the lords of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh” (1 Samuel 6:12 NASB).

363Ashwood speaks in general terms here. There are some Christians who can delight in prayer and Bible study twelve hours a day, seven days a week. But there is danger for most of becoming weary of too much of a good thing and thus losing love for it. Each person must find his or her own level of devotional time versus time for other service in Christ’s kingdom. This footnote is not meant to detract from Ashwood’s valid warning; the one who spends only a few minutes with God each day is almost certainly spiritually starving.

364Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life” (Genesis 44:30 NKJV).

365This refers to holding against God, not the good stewardship that cares for what is entrusted to us.

366While many covetous people spend and overspend on possessions, covetousness that is focused on money alone makes misers. They may harm those around them and often themselves by withholding money even for basic necessities.

367This is not universal, but nurses have observed this behavior in some patients.

368Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB).

369The editor wishes to take the liberty to butt in here. First, we could hardly live in the world if we did not have a routine expectation that things that ought to work will work. And, if it is important that something work, or if something is unreliable, prudence dictates backup plans. But we wrongly trust in worldly things if we disobey God in the process of using or having them, especially if we think they will do a better or more certain job than God; if we truly trust God, we will obey Him. We also wrongly trust in worldly things when we forget that it is actually God who made and sustains all things; even things we make, we make by God’s pleasure and providence. We must firmly keep in mind that it is God who personally causes all things to happen. Consider the automobile engine. At 2,000 rpm, each cylinder in a four-cylinder engine will do the same thing 2,000 times a minute, or 120,000 times an hour. The circuitry in a computer may well do the same thing several billion times a second. These things are not due to “natural law.” Rather, God is expressing His perfect faithfulness 120,000 times an hour and several billion times a second. Also, as Provider, He is kindly giving us a generally predictable universe. A wrong view of God and “nature” will teach us some wrong lessons. We learn quickly at a young age that water is good; it cures the discomfort of thirst. Food cures the discomfort of hunger. A washing machine relieves the toil of using a washboard. It is therefore easy to learn the wrong lesson that material things are what make us happy. But there is a huge difference between alleviating discomfort or toil that causes unhappiness and positive happiness. For one example, once our nutritional needs are met, more food will only make us fat. It is also easy to learn the wrong lesson that there is some impersonal force that provides for human needs and to not be thankful to God for personally providing for even our most trivial and mundane needs. If we work hard, save, and spend wisely, that is still the work of God in us, “for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children’” (Acts 17:28 NASB). Is it not insanity then to seek the gifts and not the Giver; to not thank, worship, glorify, obey, and live for Him? Is it not even more insane to insult the God who gives us our heartbeats and breaths one at a time, and reject the Lord Jesus Christ in Whom alone is salvation from the eternal fire of Hell—all for the trinkets of this life—while passing up the eternal glory of Heaven in the presence of Christ?

370Who is this coming up from the wilderness Leaning on her beloved? Beneath the apple tree I awakened you; There your mother was in labor with you, There she was in labor and gave you birth” (Song of Solomon 8:5 NASB). This is an image of the Church leaning on Christ, a positive example in the midst of some negative examples.

371So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in” (Acts 25:23 ESV). Ashwood’s mention of mere show and fantasy comes from the Greek φαντασιας [fan-tas-ee´-ah: vain show, fantasy, pomp], which is translated pomp in most English versions of Acts 25:23.

372There were people who fled from the cruel Assyrians to various countries. But then the Assyrians conquered those countries to which they fled, leaving them no refuge. Their predicament illustrates the vanity of trusting in anything earthly instead of in God.

373One fairly common and obvious indication that we trust in earthly things rather than God is when we disobey God in order to get earthly benefits.

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