The Christian Life
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
We are to strive earnestly to reach the standard set before us. Not as a penance are we to do this, but as the only means of gaining true happiness. The only way to gain peace and joy is to have a living connection with Him who gave His life for us, who died that we might live, and who lives to unite His power with the efforts of those who in this life are striving to overcome.
Holiness is constant agreement with God. Shall we not be that which Christ so greatly desires us to be,—Christians in deed and in truth,—that the world may see in our lives a revelation of the saving power of truth? This world is our preparatory school, and while here we shall meet with trials and difficulties. But we are safe while we cleave to Him who gave His life as an offering for us. The whole world was gathered in the embrace of Christ. He died on the cross to give the death stroke to Satan, and to take away the sin of every believing soul. He calls upon us to offer ourselves on the altar of service, a living, consuming sacrifice. We are to make an unreserved surrender to God of all that we have and are.
In this lower school of earth we are to learn the lessons that will prepare us to enter the higher school, where our education will continue under the personal supervision of Christ. Then He will open to us the meaning of His word. We can not afford to miss the privilege of seeing His face. Shall we not put our whole souls into the work of preparing for admission into the higher school, where we shall see Christ face to face? Shall we not be determined to obey the word of God? Or shall we choose our own wisdom, and trifle away the day of gracious opportunity, wasting the years and months so rapidly passing into eternity.
Life is too short, the hours of probation too precious, for us to make a mistake in our religious life. Earnest men and women, filled with courage and devotion, are needed in the Master’s service. The call comes to us, “Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” As we obey this command, the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon mind and body, bringing us into conformity to the will of Christ, and renewing us in His likeness. The hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong will die, and Christ will be formed within, the hope of glory. It will be seen that we are indeed followers of Christ.
We are not to trust in our own wisdom, but in the wisdom of God. This will bring into the character the patience, kindness, and love of Christ. And we are to remember that in doing well the work nearest us, we shall be preparing for a wider field of usefulness. There is to be constant growth in grace. We are to make constant advancement in preparing for the future, immortal life. We shall leave behind no knowledge that in this world we have gained of God and heaven. This mental and spiritual wealth we shall take with us when we answer the call, Child, come up higher.
Let us strive to help those connected with us. To this work let us devote our tact and ingenuity. Let us reach higher and still higher for purity and devotion, our hearts filled with a desire to know the will of God. Let us consecrate our all to the service of humanity. We shall receive our reward in the future life. Reveal the living charm of the Saviour’s love. Represent Christ by revealing faith and hope and love. In short, copy the Pattern. Let your light shine forth in good works. Christians have no need or desire for the billiard table, the theater, the dancing hall, or the many other forms of worldly diversion. A Christian does nothing which he can not do to the glory of God, upon which he can not ask the Lord’s blessing.
Work as in the presence of heavenly intelligences. God calls for loyalty, for faithfulness; for we have been bought with a price. Stand firm for the right, and you will be more than conquerors through Him who loved you and gave His life for you.
It is faith and prayer that cast out evil spirits. We may ask Christ with full assurance of faith for enlarged capacity for service, for increased power to help souls. But let us remember constantly that it is through the Holy Spirit that we receive power and efficiency.
He who makes advancement in the school of Christ here below will at last pass through the pearly gates of the city of God, to enter the higher school, there to receive instruction from the divine Teacher. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
— E.G. White, Signs of the Times, June 21, 1905