When a man accepts Christ, he pledges himself to live the life of a Christian. If he fails of doing this, he dishonors the name of Christian. In all matters of dealing he is to be true and honest, just and liberal, following the perfect example set by the Saviour. He is to keep vigilant watch over himself, lest in word or action he misrepresent the Redeemer.
Ungodliness is not Christianity. Do not think that you can stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel unless as faithful soldiers you obey His orders. In word and action you must say, “I am a Christian. I realize that I must love my neighbor as myself.”
Watch well your words; for Christ declares, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” The Lord is greatly dishonored when cheap, frivolous words fall from the lips of those whose names are registered on the church books.
The talent of speech was given to be used for the benefit of all. Let your praiseworthy example, your peaceable words and unselfish deeds, be a savor of life unto life. Pleasant, cheery words cost no more than unpleasant, moody words. Do you dislike to have harsh words spoken to you? Remember that when you speak such words, others feel the sharp sting.
In this life every one has difficulties with which to wrestle. Every one meets with grievances and disappointments. Shall we not bring sunshine instead of gloom into the lives of those with whom we come in contact? Shall we not speak words that will help and bless? Such words will be just as much a blessing to us as to those to whom they are spoken. Shall we not in word and deed sow seeds which will spring up to bear fruit unto eternal life?
Parents, bring practical godliness into the home. Angels are not attracted to a home where discord reigns. Educate your children to speak words that will bring sunshine and joy. Begin the work of grace in the Church in your own home, so conducting yourselves that your children shall see that you are co-operating with the heavenly angels. Be sure that you are converted every day. Train yourselves and your children for life in the kingdom of God. Angels will be your strong helpers. Satan will tempt you, but do not yield. Do not speak one word of which the enemy can take advantage.
In His word God has marked out a plan for the education of children, and this plan parents are to follow. They are to teach their children to overcome all indolence. Each child should be taught that he has a work to do in the world. Mothers, there is nothing more important than training your children for usefulness. It is in the home that a child gains fitness to wrestle with the problems of life.
The Holy One has spoken words to parents and children: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; … that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Parents are to teach their children the need of obedience, and they are to live so that their children can honor and obey them. They are never to provoke their children to wrath, but are to deal with them as the younger members of the Lord’s family. They are to require obedience, being sure at the same time that their own will is in subjection to the will of God. Parents who desire their children to be patterns of piety must be patterns of piety themselves.
It is impossible to depict the evil which results from leaving a child to its own will. Some who go astray because of neglect during childhood, will, through patient, painstaking effort, be brought to the light, and led to walk in the narrow way; but many are lost forever because in childhood they received only a one-sided culture. The precious motive-power of the life is wasted, and the sin lies at the door of the parents, who must answer to God for their neglect.
To the parents who have received the truth of God, I am instructed to say, Be sure to give your children patient instruction and tender care. When the parents in our churches do the work the Lord has laid upon them, His work will advance with mighty power.
Let no parents betray their trust. Let them do their work with the fear of God ever before them. Let the determination of each member of the family be, “I will be a Christian; for in the school here below I must form a character which will give me entrance into the higher grade in heaven. I must do to others as I desire them to do to me; for only those who thus reveal Christ can enter the heavenly courts.”
Make the home life as nearly as possible like heaven. Let the members of the family forget not, as they gather round the family altar, to pray for those in positions of responsibility in God’s work. The physicians in our sanitariums, the ministers of the gospel, the workers in our publishing houses and schools,—these need your prayers. They all have temptations. As you plead with God to bless them, your own hearts will be subdued and softened by His grace. The more we pray, the nearer will heaven be to us.
Christ reads the heart. He knows the motives that prompt to action. Let us watch ourselves. Let us weed our own gardens before we attempt to weed the gardens of others. Let not a day pass in known sin. God says, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Before the setting of the sun, settle every difficulty. Thus will you gain a victory over self.
The commonness of sin does not make it less objectionable to God’s sight, nor render its penalty less sure. You may think your transgression small, but its smallness does not make it any the less a sin. Adam’s sin was seemingly small, but it opened the floodgates of woe upon our world.
The Church militant is not the Church triumphant. Unless the people of God wage a valiant warfare against every species of sin, they will never pass through the portals of the holy city. And we shall have no second trial. Now is the accepted time, the time in which we are to obtain the education that will enable us to live in the heavenly courts. The whole heavenly universe is watching with the deepest interest to see who in this primary school is practicing the lessons of Christ.
What does the Scripture say?—“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?”
This is the great day of atonement. How much better it is for us to afflict our souls than to be engaged in strife for the highest place, causing heart-burning and discord. Never think or speak evil. When tempted to do this, go by yourself, and ask God to help you to overcome this hateful sin. Humble yourselves in the sight of God, and He will lift you up. Let us praise God that when we humble ourselves, His merciful hand lifts us up.
— E.G. White, Review and Herald, December 31, 1901