There is a noisy zeal, without aim or purpose, which is not according to knowledge, which is blind in its operations and destructive in its results. This is not Christian zeal. Christian zeal is controlled by principle and is not spasmodic. It is earnest, deep, and strong, engaging the whole soul and arousing to exercise the moral sensibilities. The salvation of souls and the interests of the kingdom of God are matters of the highest importance. What object is there that calls for greater earnestness than the salvation of souls and the glory of God? There are considerations here which cannot be lightly regarded. They are as weighty as eternity. Eternal destinies are at stake. Men and women are deciding for weal or woe. Christian zeal will not exhaust itself in talk, but will feel and act with vigor and efficiency. Yet Christian zeal will not act for the sake of being seen. Humility will characterize every effort and be seen in every work. Christian zeal will lead to earnest prayer and humiliation, and to faithfulness in home duties. In the family circle will be seen the gentleness and love, benevolence and compassion, which are ever the fruits of Christian zeal.
I was shown that you must make an advance move. Your treasure in heaven, Sister E, is not large. You are not rich toward God. May the Lord open your eyes to see and your heart to feel, and cause you to manifest Christian zeal. Oh, how few feel the worth of souls! How few are willing to sacrifice to bring souls to the knowledge of Christ! There is much talking, much professed love for perishing souls; but talk is cheap stuff. It is earnest Christian zeal that is wanted–a zeal that will be manifested by doing something. All must now work for themselves, and when they have Jesus in their hearts they will confess Him to others. No more could a soul who possesses Christ be hindered from confessing Him than could the waters of Niagara be stopped from flowing over the falls.
I was shown that Brother F is buried in the rubbish of the world. He cannot afford time to serve God, not even to earnestly study and pray to know what the Lord would have him do. His talent is buried in the earth. The cares of this life have swallowed up his interest in eternal things. The kingdom of God and the righteousness of Christ are secondary. He loves business; but I saw that unless he changes his course, the hand of God will be against him. He may gather, but God will scatter. He could do good. But many have the idea that if their life is a working, business life, they can do nothing for the salvation of souls, nothing to advance the cause of their Redeemer. They say they cannot do things by the halves, and therefore turn from religious duties and religious exercises, and bury themselves up in the world. They make their business primary, and forget God, and He is displeased with them. If any are engaged in business where they cannot advance in the divine life and perfect holiness in the fear of God, they should change to a business in which they can have Jesus with them every hour.
Brother F, you do not honor your profession. Your zeal is a worldly zeal, your interest a worldly interest. You are dying spiritually. You understand not your perilous condition. The love of the world is swallowing up your religion. You must awake; you must seek God and repent of your backslidings. In contrition take words and return to the Lord. Your religious duties have become merely a form. You do not enjoy religion; for this enjoyment is dependent upon willing obedience. The willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land. You do not possess a bright evidence that you will dwell with God in His kingdom. You occasionally engage in the outward performance of religious duties, but your heart is not in the exercise. You occasionally drop a word of warning to sinners, or a word in favor of the truth; but it is a reluctant service, as though rendered to a taskmaster, instead of the cheerful service of filial affection. If your heart is aglow with Christian zeal, the most arduous duties will be pleasant and easy.
Why the Christian life is so difficult to many is that they have a divided heart. They are double-minded, which makes them unstable in all their ways. Were they richly imbued with Christian zeal, which is ever the result of consecration to God, instead of the mournful cry, “My leanness, my leanness,” the language of the soul would be: “Hear what the Lord has done for me.” Even if you are saved, which is very doubtful, in the course you are pursuing, how limited will be the good you have accomplished. Not a soul will be saved by your instrumentality. Will the Master say to you: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”? What have you been doing faithfully? Hard work in the business and cares of this life. Will this bring from the lips of Christ the gracious words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”?
My brother, Jesus loves you, and He invites you to face rightabout, and take your eyes from the earth, and fix them upon the mark for the prize of your high calling, which is in Christ Jesus. Cease lightness and trifling. Let a solemn weight of the time in which we live be borne by you till the war is over. Go to work; if consecrated to God, your influence will tell.
Most of the family of Brother G are in the downward road. H lives an aimless life. She is full of folly, vanity, and pride. Her influence does not tend to ennoble, does not lead to goodness and holiness. She does not like the restraint which religion imposes; therefore she will not yield her heart to its sacred sway. She loves self, loves pleasure, and is seeking for her own enjoyment. Sad, sad indeed will be the result, unless she now turns square about and seeks for genuine godliness. She might exert a softening, ennobling, and elevating influence over her brothers. God loves these children, but they are not Christians. If they would try to live humble Christian lives, they could become children of the light and workers for God; they could be missionaries in their own family and among their associates.
— E.G. White, 2 Testimonies, pp. 232-235