by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. —Matthew 6:13
Because our obedience to God is not without continual warfare, and severe and arduous conflicts, we here pray for arms and assistance to enable us to gain the victory. Now the forms of temptations are many and various. For the corrupt conceptions of the mind, provoking us to transgressions of the law, whether suggested by our own lust or excited by the devil, are temptations; and things not evil in themselves, nevertheless become temptations through the subtlety of the devil, when they are obtruded on our eyes in such a manner that their intervention occasions our seduction or declension from God.
And these temptations are either from prosperous or from adverse events. From prosperous ones, as riches, power, honors; which generally dazzle men's eyes by their glitter and external appearance of goodness, and ensnare them with their blandishments that, caught with such delusions and intoxicated with such delights, they forget their God.
From unpropitious ones, as poverty, reproaches, contempt, afflictions, and other things of this kind; overcome with the bitterness and difficulty of which, they fall into despondency, cast away faith and hope, and at length become altogether alienated from God.
To both these kinds of temptations which assail us, whether kindled within us by our lust or presented to us by the craft of Satan, we pray our heavenly Father not to permit us to yield, but rather to sustain and raise us up with his hand, that, strong in his might, we may be able to stand firm against all the assaults of our malignant enemy, whatever imaginations he may inject into our minds; and also, that whatever is presented to us on either quarter, we may convert it to our benefit; that is, by not being elated with prosperity or dejected with adversity. —Institutes, III, xx, xlvi
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.