The exercises of the worship of God are contrary to nature; therefore, there must be a provoking of ourselves to them. The movement of the soul toward sin is natural, but its movement toward heaven is violent. Let us then examine whether we put forth this holy violence for heaven. Do we set time apart to call ourselves to account and to try our evidences for heaven? “My spirit made diligent search” (Ps. 77:6). Are we afraid of artificial grace, as we are of artificial happiness? Do we use violence in prayer? Is there fire in our sacrifice? Is the wind of the Spirit filling our sails, causing unutterable groans (Rom. 8:26)? Do we pray in the morning as if we were to die at night? Do we thirst for the living God? Are our souls enlarged with holy desires? “There is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee” (Ps. 73:25). Do we desire holiness as well as heaven? Do we desire as much to look like Christ as to live with Christ? Is our desire constant? Is this spiritual pulse ever beating?
Are we skilled in self-denial? Can we deny our ease, our aims, our interests? Can we cross our own will to fulfill God’s? Can we behead our beloved sin? To pluck out the right eye requires violence. (Matt. 18:9). Are we lovers of God? It is not how much we do, but how much we love. Does love command the castle of our hearts? Does Christ’s beauty and sweetness constrain us? (2 Cor. 5:14). Do we love God more than we fear hell? Do we keep our spiritual watch? When we, have prayed against sin, do we watch against temptation? Do we press after further degrees of sanctity? “Reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Phil. 3:13). A good Christian is a wonder; he is the most contented yet the least satisfied. He is contented with a little of the world, but not satisfied with a little grace. Reference: Heaven Taken By Storm by Thomas Watson (1620-1686)