Elevated emotions can only come out of an elevated habit of personal character. If you’ve developed the kind of character that allows you to live up to the highest standards you know, God will grant you insights that draw you even higher. He will continually say to you, “Come up here, and I will show you.”

Each time you go higher, you will face new and different kinds of temptation. The golden rule of temptation is “go higher.” Both God and Satan use the promise of elevation to draw us upward, but they use it to very different effects. Satan whispers to us of an unattainable holiness, a holiness beyond what flesh and blood can bear. He draws us into a spiritual acrobatic performance that ends up freezing us: we are poised on a tightrope and cannot move. But when God, by his grace, elevates us to the heavenly places, we find a vast plateau, where we can move around with liberty and ease.

Compare this week in your spiritual history with the same week last year, and see how God has called you higher. This is how you know you have grown in grace—not because you no longer backslide into sin but because God has granted you new spiritual insight. If God has revealed to you a new truth, you know it is because of growth in your character. Keep trusting and obeying him. Whenever he gives you a truth, apply it instantly to your life. Always work it out in your personal practices; always keep yourself in its light.

“Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” (Genesis 18:17). Why didn’t God immediately tell Abraham about his plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Because Abraham wasn’t yet ready to receive that truth. God has to hide from us what he does, until by personal character we get to the place where he can reveal it.

Wisdom from Oswald

Sincerity means that the appearance and the reality are exactly the same. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1449 L