Obeying God without having a nervous breakdown

To my nervous, insecure, tender-conscience Christian friend, always wondering if you are doing something wrong, or disappointing God, doubting if you are hitting the mark, feeling like a failure as you try your best to please him . . .  Richard Baxter can help you:

Another temptation to confound you in you religion, is, by filling your heads with practical scrupulosity; so that you cannot go on for doubting every step whether you go right; and when you should cheerfully serve your Master, you will do nothing but disquiet your minds with scruples, whether this be right or wrong.

Your remedy here, is not by casting away all care of pleasing God, or fear of sinning, or by debauching conscience; but by a cheerful and quiet obedience to God, so far as you know his will, and an upright willingness and endeavour to understand it better; and a thankful receiving of gospel pardon for your failings and infirmities.

Be faithful in your obedience; but live still upon Christ, and think not of reaching any such obedience, as shall set you above the need of his merits, and a daily pardon of your sins.

Do the best you can to know the will of God and do it: but when you know the essentials of religion, and obey sincerely, let no remaining wants deprive you of the comfort of that so great a mercy, as proves your right to eternal life.

In your seeking further for more knowledge and obedience, let your care be such as tendeth to your profiting, and furthering you to your end, and as doth not hinder your joy and thanks for what you have received: but that which destroyeth your joy and thankfulness, and doth but perplex you, and not further you in your way, is but hurtful scrupulosity, and to be laid by.

When you are right in the main, thank God for that, and be further solicitous so far as to help you on, but not to hinder you. If you send your servant on your message, you had rather he went on his way as well as he can, than stand scrupling every step whether he should set the right or left foot forward; and whether he should step so far, or so far at a time, &c.

Hindering scruples please not God.

Richard Baxter, Christian Directory, 53.


About Eric Smith

Sinner saved by the grace of Jesus, husband of Candace, father of Coleman and Crockett, West Tennessean, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
This entry was posted in Christian Life, Puritans, Richard Baxter and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Obeying God without having a nervous breakdown

  1. Pastor, this Mr. Baxter is quite verbose, a user of big words for most folks. When did he write this…in 17th or 18th century? How did the people in those centuries even understand what this preacher was endeavoring to get across to the layman? Most of the common lay folk in those centuries did not have much education; right? It is amazing to me! When did the words “spiritual warfare” began to be understood and used?

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