This excerpt comes from an entry in Sister White’s diary. It’s one of her longer entries and reads more like a manuscript than a diary. I am sharing almost the whole thing, leaving out only a few paragraphs, which were not on the main topic. I did not truncate it, unlike how it appears in two entries of the devotional Our High Calling. In this article, you will see the great importance of eternal realities and our need to dwell in the atmosphere of heaven. I pray that these words will inspire you to cut ties with anything or anyone in this world that is still coming between you and our holy God.
The Lord has at infinite cost to the Father and the Son brought salvation within the reach of all, that none should perish, but that all might have eternal life. It is not ministers alone who are to act a part in the work as God’s agents in communicating heaven’s light to the world. The Lord has endowed His church richly with the knowledge and belief of the truth, and if we are indeed obeying the truth, as it is our highest interest to do, we are doers of the words of Christ. Doers of the words of Christ are represented as a man who built his house upon a rock, and storm and tempest beating about it could not move it because it was built upon a rock.
The lessons of Christ were of that character to show the relative importance of heaven and earth. He presents before the mind’s eye that the claims of heaven are first in importance. God’s claims are supreme. He demands the whole heart, mind, might, and strength. Earthly things He assigns their place, to be subordinate to the eternal interests.
The temptations of Satan present earthly things and make them all-absorbing and attractive, so that the heavenly realities are eclipsed and the attachment to the world be made first; and this has become so great a power that Omnipotence alone can dislodge it. Satan’s work is to chain the senses to this world. Christ came to break the satanic enchantment, counterwork the work of Satan, and charm the mind away from the earthly to the heavenly. He alone is able to break the enchantment. He exclaims, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36, 37. A few years and the world and all its glory, which has through the bewitching power of the great deceiver become an object of worship, are to be burned, with all the embellishments of the art of man. Then what will be found to compensate for the loss of the human soul?
The Prince of life calls the attention to the eternal world. He brings it within range of the mind’s eye. He withdraws the curtain of heaven and reveals its treasures, the living glories within. Man can grasp only a notion of the infinite, eternal weight of glory, and the apostle who was taken up to the third heavens and heard things unutterable, declares, “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.” 1 Corinthians 3:9.
Should the greatness of the treasured glories of heaven be kept before the view, men would be wholly incapacitated for the affairs of the present world. The glory is curtained from our view. The world’s Redeemer came to adjust the claims and attractions of the world in relation to the future world. He presents such views of eternal realities that this world shall not become supreme and all-absorbing.
Then the case of Martha is presented. She was so anxious for all due honor to be given to Christ that in her active preparations in provision of food, she lost the most precious, golden moments of listening to instruction from His divine lips. Mary sat at His feet to catch every word. She regarded this of highest importance. This offended Martha, and she asked the Lord Jesus if He did not care that she served alone, while Mary shunned these responsibilities. Said Jesus, “Martha, Mary hath chosen the better part which shall never be taken from her.” What was that better part? To learn of Jesus, to appreciate His words. In giving attention to the words which fell from His lips, she was showing her love for her Saviour.
“Martha,” said Christ, “thou art careful and troubled about many things.” This reproof of Christ comes to many Marthas in our time. They lose much spiritual and divine knowledge that would make them wise unto salvation, through their bustling activity to do so much in temporal things, to shower favors upon those whom they love. If they would preserve simplicity in all their preparations, and improve their precious opportunities to obtain a better knowledge of God’s will and be doers of His words, they would save much irritability and would drink of the perpetual Fountain of life.
Every word from the lips of Jesus was precious. It was joy to Him to see Mary appreciate His instruction. The more frequently the words of Christ are heard the more deeply do they influence the mind, the better they are understood, and the more easily and perfectly are they obeyed.
This spirit that is ever ready to make great outward display for our friends is a device of the enemy. It is the society we prize, the interchange of thought. The instruction of Christ was always just what was needed, rich and comforting, like threads of gold. He would have the infinite grandeur of the future hold the attraction of human minds and the present world take its subordinate place in the affections. He sets in order things that Satan has transposed. Having taken the world from the throne where it has become a ruling power and worshiped as a god, He assigns it its proper place and its duties as a servant. He requires His followers—the purchase of His blood—to leave all the follies and vanities and tainting corruptions of the world out of their lives.
Every man and woman has had the ransom money paid by Jesus Christ. “Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price”—even the precious blood of the Son of God. Your time is not your own to employ as you choose; it is God’s time, and you are required to do His will. You must see that every moment of life is invested with importance and should be used and not abused and wasted. There are to be no idlers in the Lord’s vineyard. To everyone He says, “Why stand ye here all the day idle? Go labor today in My vineyard. Work while it is day, for the night cometh in which no man can work.”
He has made the church the depositary of sacred truth. They are to dispense the knowledge of the truth to others. There is something to do for the Master every day. The church members must be active and zealous workers to bring the souls for whom Christ has died to a saving knowledge of the truth. In working for the Master they will be a healthy church—in proportion to their activity. The light of every individual member of the church is to be a bright and shining light to guide sinners who have lost their way back to the paradise of God. Then bring all the paradise you can in your Christian life. The lights of the church must not grow dim, must not cease to burn and reflect light all along the pathway that leads to the celestial city, for terrible will be the consequences if the light does not shine. The right views of heaven will make it easy for the worker together with God to do his work intelligently and in that manner that Heaven can approve. Said Christ, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”
With eternal realities in view we will habitually cultivate thoughts of the presence of God. This will be a shield against the incoming of the enemy; it will give strength and assurance, and lift the soul above fear. Breathing in the atmosphere of heaven, we will not be breathing the malaria of the world. We will not remain in the darkened cellar, but come up into the upper chambers where every window that looks toward heaven is open and catches the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
In God we live, and move, and have our being. Let the impression, “Lo, God is here,” solemnize every mind and make glad every soul. Then there will be sunshiny Christians, the representatives of Jesus Christ. Then the language of the soul will be, I know that my Redeemer liveth. He ever liveth to make intercession for me.”
The Lord would not have any one of us be presumptuous, care not for health, and make no provision whatever for a sustenance; but when He sees the world taking all the thoughts and absorbing all the affections, He sees that eternal realities are lost sight of. He would correct this evil, which is the work of Satan. The mind, which should be trained to high, elevated contemplation of eternal realities, becomes common, bearing the image of the earthly. Jesus comes to present the advantages and beautiful imagery of the heavenly, that the attractions of heaven shall become familiar to the thoughts, and memory’s hall be hung with pictures of celestial and eternal loveliness. He sees the chambers of the mind filled with those things which defile. He places God before them as the center. In the place of the minds being chained to the earth, He sets before them eternal attractions. He passes through the market places, where everything is full of activity and bustle, and the voice of the traders is heard. The lessons He gives in the dense crowd that gathers to listen to His words are a warning from heaven like the trump of God to break the spell of infatuation. “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall he give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:34, 35.
The Great Teacher gives man a view of the future world. He brings it, with its attractive possessions, within the range of their vision. In most wonderful words of power He presents the actual claims of God and heaven. If He can fasten the mind upon the future life and its blessedness, in comparison with the temporal concerns of this world, the striking contrast is deeply impressed upon the mind, absorbing the heart and soul and the whole being. He thus removes the things of time and sense from the affections where they have had the supremacy, and gives them their place as subordinate to the higher and eternal realities. He invests life with the highest responsibilities. He shows man that he must live to a purpose, separating from all life’s vanities. He requires us to cultivate every power given us of God and to increase these entrusted capabilities by exercising them, that like a healthful branch abiding in the vine we may bear fruit to the glory of God. Everything which will tend to our own happiness and usefulness in this life He wishes us to retain. He loves to see us happy.
— E.G. White, Manuscript 42, 1890