January 23, 2008

Living the Christian Life

2008 1503 page14 capHE WORD OF GOD NOT ONLY SETS forth the great principles of truth and duty which should govern our lives, but it presents also, for our encouragement, the history of many who have exemplified these principles.
Men “subject to like passions as we are” have fought with temptation and conquered in the strength of an Almighty Helper. Under difficulties greater than we are called to meet, men have been true to duty and to God.
Except the one perfect Pattern, there is not described in the sacred pages a single character more worthy of emulation than that of the prophet Daniel. Exposed in youth to all the allurements of a royal court, he became a man of unbending integrity and fervent devotion to God. He was subjected to the fierce temptations of Satan, yet his character was not vacillating, nor his course changeable. He was firm where many would be yielding; he was true where they would be false; he was strong where they would be weak. Daniel was a lofty cedar of Lebanon. The angel of the Lord addressed this faithful prophet: “O man greatly beloved, thy prayer is heard.” Would that the faith, integrity, and devotion of the prophet Daniel might live in the hearts of God’s people of today. Never were these noble qualities more needed in the world than now. Never was there greater need of men who will stand firmly and fearlessly for God and the right.
In the records of those who have done and suffered for the name of Jesus, there is no name that shines with a brighter or purer luster than the name of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. The love of Jesus, glowing in his heart, made him self-forgetful, self-denying. He had seen the risen Christ, and the Savior’s image was impressed upon his soul, and shone forth in his life. With faith, courage, and fortitude that would not be daunted by danger or stayed by obstacles, he pressed his way from land to land to spread the knowledge of the cross. When summoned to stand before the judgment seat of Nero, and forsaken by his brethren, he was at first thought almost dismayed. Then he gathered courage, as he looked upward to the Source of strength. Though human help forsook him, he declares, “The Lord stood by me, and strengthened me.” He placed his hand in the hand of Jesus, and fearlessly went forward to a martyr’s death.
Fruit of the Spirit
2008 1503 page14Such noble characters have been; such noble characters will be. None can hide them; none need misinterpret them. They are living epistles, known and read of all men. By the beauty of true goodness shining forth in the life of these chosen men, others were charmed, and were filled with a desire 
to imitate them. All who seek to reach the Bible standard will stimulate others also to press forward to higher attainments. One whom God is teaching will animate others by his ardent, active efforts for the honor of Christ, and his undying love for souls. In another, a Christlike meekness and gentleness of spirit will be most apparent. Another will influence many by his fervent charity, his brotherly kindness and Christian courtesy. Still another will manifest such humility and brokenness of heart as will lead the proud and stubborn to self-abasement.
Are the professed followers of Christ thus exemplifying the principles of their faith? Where are the deep, living, holy experiences which men of God were wont to recount? Has the standard of Christianity been lowered . . . ? No; that standard remains just where God placed it. Holy men of ages past were required to give up all for Christ, to cherish His spirit, and to imitate His example. Nothing less than this will He accept now.
The Christian will begin and end the day with God. His speech will not be frivolous or aimless. He does not indulge in idle jesting or malicious gossip. The peace of God rules in his heart. The power of divine grace strengthens every noble purpose, softens every harsh trait. In 
his life and character is seen that firm, undaunted principle with which worldliness dares not tamper. Such men are recognized by the world as followers of Christ. They have learned of Him. The Sun of Righteousness shines into the heart, and lights up the countenance. Every faculty is strengthened, developed, by the influence of divine grace. Such Christians have an experience that is of some value. . . .
We have enjoyed great light and many privileges. Shall we turn away from all these blessings, and sacrifice the peculiar, holy character which should distinguish us as children of God? . . .
Christ in You
At the present day a form of godliness is popular, even in the world. A profession of Christianity costs little. But those who follow Jesus must walk in the same path of self-denial and cross-bearing which the Master trod. They may be lightly esteemed by the world, but they are honored of God. . . .
Every one who shall at last enter the kingdom of God will be tested. It will be manifest whether we desire to know and do the will of God, or merely to please ourselves. When called to give up all for Christ, who will stand the test? . . .
The cause of God today calls for men . . . —men who are true to God and to the interests of His work. My brethren and sisters in the truth, I know the dangers which surround you. Search the Scriptures, examine your own hearts, meditate, pray, till you realize, by vivid conviction, your true state, till you see the peril which threatens you. Never rest till you know beyond all controversy that you have been transformed by the spirit of Christ; till you have clear evidence that you have been born again. Never rest till you know that Christ abideth in you.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This article is excerpted from one that first appeared in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, now the Adventist Review, November 7, 1882.