“The Life of Faith”
A.W. Pink, pages 50-51
The Christian is not always in the enjoyment of a childlike confidence. And why? Because he is often guilty of “grieving” the Spirit, and then he withholds much of his comfort. Hereby we may ascertain our communion with God and when it is interrupted, when he be pleased or displeased with us—by the motions or withdrawing of the Spirit’s consolation. Note the order in Acts 9:31, “Walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit”; and again in Acts 11:24, “he was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit”. Hence, when our confidence toward “the Father” is clouded, we should search our ways and find out what is the matter.
Empty professors are fatally deluded by a false confidence, a complacent taking for granted that they are real Christians when they have never been born again. But many true possessors are plagued by a false diffidence, a doubting whether they be Christians at all. None are so inextricably caught in the toils of a false confidence as they who suspect not their delusion and are unconscious of their imminent danger. On the other hand, none are so far away from that false confidence as those who tremble lest they be cherishing it. True diffidence is a distrust of myself True confidence is a leaning wholly upon Christ, and that is ever accompanied by utter renunciation of myself. Self-renunciation is the heartfelt acknowledgment that my resolutions, best efforts, faith and holiness, are nothing before God, and that Christ must be my All.
In all genuine Christians there is a co-mingling of real confidence and false diffidence, because as long as they remain on this earth there is in them the root of faith and the root of doubt. Hence their prayer is, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (Mark 9:24). In some Christians faith prevails more than it does in others; in some unbelief is more active than in others. Therefore some have a stronger and steadier assurance than others. The presence of the indwelling Spirit is largely evidenced by our frequent recourse to the Father in prayer—often with sighs, sobs, and groans. The consciousness of the Spirit of adoption within us is largely regulated by the extent to which we yield ourselves to his government.