7 Quotes On The Spiritual Life From “The Book Of Man”

I really enjoyed reading The Book Of Man by William J. Bennett (you can read my book review here). The topics were very broad, so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite quotes on the different sections in this book over the next few days.

Here are seven quotes on man’s spiritual life…

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;

I was made weak, that I might learn to humbly obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things;

I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing I asked for but everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among men, most richly blessed. —Anonymous

“The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America. … Our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal.” —Ronald Reagan

“What can be more excellent than prayer; what is more profitable to our life; what sweeter to our souls; what more sublime, in the course of our whole life, than the practice of prayer!” —Augustine

“Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.” —Augustine

“O gracious and Holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive Thee, intelligence to understand Thee, diligence to seek Thee, patience to wait for Thee, eyes to behold Thee, a heart to meditate upon Thee, and a life to proclaim Thee; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.” —Saint Benedict of Nursia

“No human creature can believe, how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but only those that have learned it by experience.” —Martin Luther

“There are some men, who know a thousand other people, but who do not know their own selves; the greatest stranger to them, in the whole world, is their own heart. They have never looked into it, never talked with it, never examined it, never questioned it. They follow its evil devices, but they scarcely know that they have a heart, they so seldom look into it.” —Charles Spurgeon

Getting Back Up When Life Has Knocked You Down

The Bible never presents life as some sort of pie-in-the-sky, walk-in-the-park, everyday-is-always-rosy picture. If it did, we would reject the Bible because our experiences would immediately tell us otherwise. Instead, the Bible realistically portrays the challenges, and the pain, and the heartache, and the disappointments of life. But as it does so it also shows us that God’s way is the only way out of our sorrow and into His joy!

In our P119 Spiritual Workout series, we saw the bookends of the section daleth (Psalm 119:25-32) are:

I am laid low in the dust (v. 25) → You have set my heart free (v. 32).

How do we get this freedom when we are knocked down and laid low in the dust?

The Jews saw the Hebrew letter daleth as a door. Specifically, a door through which humble people stepped into a greater realization that He is God, and I’m not … that He has the answers, and I don’t … that He is in control, and I’m not. So part of going from down in the dust to a free heart is humbly acknowledging that you need God’s help!

In verses 26 and 27, the psalmist recalls his past history, and in so doing he is reminded that God has always been there. God has never left him nor forsaken him, so here’s what the psalmist resolves to do:

  • Teach me = I learned something before, so let me learn again.
  • Let me understand = help me to discern, distinguish; tell things apart. This word is used for things that are divinely disclosed; in other words, they’re things you and I cannot figure out on our own.
  • Meditate = talk with my soul about these new things the Holy Spirit has disclosed to me.

In verse 28, the psalmist says that his soul is weary with sorrow (or as the King James Version states it: my soul melteth for heaviness). The only way to overcome this is to ask for God’s help to energize us to go forward.

In the final four verses of this section you can sense the psalmist’s strength returning as he makes these bold statements:

  • keep me from deceitful ways (v. 29a) = keep me from lying to myself (NLT).
  • be gracious to me (v. 29b) = give me the privilege of knowing Your instructions (NLT).
  • I have chosen (v. 30a) = I have determined (NLT).
  • I have set (v. 30b) = I am long-sighted (on God), not short-sighted (on my problems).
  • I hold fast (v. 31) = the KJV says I have stuck to it!
  • I run (v. 32) = I will [not merely walk, but] run the way of Your commandments (AMP).

So when you are sad/disappointed/injured, run TO God. Don’t cling to your own (old) ways of thinking. Let Him take you from I am laid lowYou have set my heart free.

If you have missed any of the messages in our P119 series, you can access them all by clicking here.

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