by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; —I Corinthians 13: 5
Here, then, we must rest, that our life will then be governed according to the will of God, and the prescriptions of his law, when it is in all respects most beneficial to our brethren. But we do not find in the whole law one syllable that lays down any rule for a man respecting those things which he should practise or omit for his carnal convenience.
And surely, since men are born in such a state that they are entirely governed by an immoderate self-love—a passion which, however great their departure from the truth, they always retain—there was no need of a law which would inflame that love, already of itself too violent. Whence it plainly appears that the observance of the commandments consists not in the love of ourselves, but in the love of God and of our neighbor; that his is the best and most holy life who lives as little as possible to himself; and that no man leads a worse or more iniquitous life than he who lives exclusively to himself, and makes his own interest the sole object of his thoughts and pursuits.
Moreover the Lord, in order to give us the best expression of the strength of that love which we ought to exercise towards our neighbors, has regulated it by the standard of our self-love, because there was no stronger or more vehement affection. —Institutes, II, viii, liv
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.