Friday, February 18, 2011

fred smith letter

I have always profited from reading the letters of those who were good mentors.  I think of John Newton and Martyn Lloyd-Jones as examples.  

Fred Smith, former Dallas businessman now deceased, apparently was a good letter-writer.  He wrote the following to a friend after a long conversation about a life crisis.  There's some very good counsel here from a man who was mentor to many.  I've highlighted some portions that spoke to me.  

Dear Friend:

You spoke of your struggle taking the advice of many as you make decisions and the guilt you feel when you fail.  You say over and over you want to do the will of God.  Let me think out loud with you on this.

I firmly believe God has instituted processes that work and they don’t depend on doing what we cannot do.  He came to give us life “and that more abundantly” which I don’t think you are enjoying nor displaying.  It isn’t your unbelief but their unrealistic advice.

I fully believe in the “witness of the Spirit” and what Chambers says about seeking God’s will:  “commit it to Him and go about your normal business expecting Him to check you if you wander out of His will.”  This certainly makes sense to me.  God loves us.  He came seeking us, not us seeking Him.  This is the uniqueness of the Christian faith.

Any time we want to be related to Him and are willing to confess and turn, He is there.  It isn’t a warm fuzzy feeling; it is a fact.  Act on that fact as you go about doing the list of responsible things on your list.  Try it before you dismiss the idea.  Ask Him for permission to try it.  Try dealing directly with God for a change and not going from person to person asking counsel, then becoming muddled and confused.

I believe God works intelligently,and if we have a heart after God, He gives us clarity of thought.  You are letting bad counsel cloud your thinking.  Then, you accept this cloudiness as testing.  It is easy to put every bad event under the direction of God as if it were the judgment of God.  Most of the time I feel it is not.

I firmly believe God wants you to be an example of how a Christian goes through triumphantly the various vicissitudes that befall our fallen race.  Don’t dismiss everything as a test from God.  Be very slow to believe this and then only after convincing proof.  It can get to be a sort of reverse “spoiled brat syndrome.”  It is as if you demand personal and exceptional attention of God.  Be careful to avoid wanting to be “teacher’s pet” by claiming your troubles to be personally designed as tests.

Most of what you are experiencing is “common to man.”  Ask your friends to pray, not advise right now.  And don’t expect answers to come in mystical clothing.  Display as much maturity as you possibly can.  I fully believe you are coming through.  You belong to God.
To read more writings of Fred Smith go to

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