Below is an excerpt from a sermon “Growth in Grace” by Spurgeon.
There are some of you, beloved, who think you are not growing in grace because you do not feel as lively as you used to do. “Ah!” say you, “when I was young every thing was good then. What peaceful hours I then enjoyed. I would go over hedge and ditch to hear the Gospel preached; it mattered not, I had such an intense desire to hear about God and Jesus Christ, such love to the Gospel, that when I once got to hear a minister preach, it mattered not whoever he might be, it all seemed sweet. But now I am so depressed, I cannot enjoy the words I used to do.”
Do not think because your wild heat is gone you have not grown. When we light a fire, we always put the straw and such like at the bottom; and when we first light it there is a great deal of flame and a great deal of smoke that rises. But afterwards when the flame gets hold of the coals, there is not so much blaze, but there is really more heat. You may have some of your flame and smoke departed, but then it gets to be more solid fire; we would rather warm our hands by the coals than by the straw, for that must soon go. So with grace.
It begins with flame, catches the lighter substances, lays hold on the imagination and the passions; but, in after life, it will appeals to the judgment, and makes the man one solid lump of burning fire. He is not a little flame rising towards heaven that the wind might blow out with a puff; but he becomes so strong a fire that the wind shall but increase the flame, and shall make the heat the greater. So with you.
Do not suppose when you are depressed, therefore, you are not growing. Many of God’s plants grow best in the dark, and He often puts them in the dark to make them grow. When you are growing upwards, recollect there is such a thing as growing downward. You might have had yesterday a divine manifestation that took you up to the top of the delectable mountains. You must not think you are big because you are high, for pigmies perched on Alps are pigmies still; and if you were ever so little, it would not make you any bigger if you were taken to the top of St. Paul’s – you would be little still. If you are in a mine deep down, do not think you are smaller for that. I tell you you will grow faster in the dungeon often than on the top of a mountain; but it is no pleasant spot.
When our depravity is revealed to us, when our desolation of spirit, when our utter hopelessness and powerlessness are uncovered and made manifest by God’s Holy Spirit, we grow, I believe, even faster than we do when, on the wings of seraphs, we are privileged to mount on high. Do not measure you growth in grace by your feelings. Do not do so.
If we are in Christ, we are in Christ’s by faith, and not by feelings; and recollect, whether your feelings are good or bad, you are no more or less a child of God. Your faith, sinner, unites you with the Lamb – not your feelings. Trust Him in darkness, lean on Him when you cannot see Him, and when there seems nothing to walk on, still tread, for the ground is firm beneath the foot of faith.