Subject your carnal reasoning to faith
John Flavel- Triumphing Over Sinful Fear
In order to obtain a composed and quiet heart in evil times, you must subject your carnal reasoning to faith. You must keep your thoughts under the government of faith. Whoever sets aside the rules of faith and measures things by the rule of his shallow reason is his own problem. If we permit reason to judge all things and derive its conclusions from the appearance of second causes, our hearts will have no rest day or night. Instead, it will keep us in continual alarms.
About carnal reasoning- Martin Luther says, “How wise and strong do its arguments and conclusions seem to us!” This carnal reason is the thing that puts us into such confusion of mind.
It quarrels with the promises of God and shakes our confidence in them.
“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? Why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.” Exodus 5:22,23
It limits God’s power and assigns boundaries to it.
“Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? Can he provide flesh for his people? Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” Psalm 78:20,41
It draws desperate conclusions from providential appearances.
“And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.” 1 Samuel 27:1
It sets us upon sinful courses in an attempt to save ourselves from danger.
“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.” Isaiah 30:15,16
It divides our thoughts and flows into our hearts.
“Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Psalm 94:16
All of these mischiefs arise from our carnal reasoning. This ought not to be the case. Why?
Although there is nothing in the matter of faith or providence that is contrary to right reason, there are many things above the reach of reason.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8,9
Experience frequently confutes the confident dictates of reason. It is made a liar every day. Its fears are proved to be vain and groundless.
“And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?” Isaiah 51:13
Nothing is better for us than to resign our reason to faith, to see all things through the promises, and to trust God over all events.