The Happiness of Life

Note: This is an entry from Sister White’s diary. It has a very important message, and has a direct connection with our recent experiences. Let these words speak to your heart and open it to the knocking of our Lord.

Another night has passed. I slept only three hours. I was not in so much pain as usual, but was restless and nervous. After lying awake for some time, trying to sleep, I gave up the effort and directed my whole attention to seeking the Lord. How precious to me was the promise, “Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7. I prayed most earnestly to the Lord for comfort and peace, which the Lord Jesus alone can give. I want the blessing of the Lord, so that, while suffering pain, I shall not lose self-control. I dare not trust in self for one moment.

The instant that Peter withdrew his eyes from Christ, that instant he began to sink. When he realized his peril, and lifted his eyes and voice to Jesus, crying, “Save, Lord, or I perish,” the hand ever ready to save the perishing took hold of him, and he was saved.

I long to follow on to know the Lord, that I may know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. I desire the words of my lips to be right words, the meditations of my heart to be of God. I desire to be strengthened with genuine faith. I do not want one vestige of presumption or self-confidence to appear in my life. I want faith, simple, trustful faith. I am determined to rely wholly on the promise of God, asking Him to keep my lips from evil, and my tongue from speaking guile.

In my home I must daily seek peace and pursue it. “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12. And although the body is suffering, and the nervous system enfeebled, we must not think that we are at liberty to speak fretfully or to think that we are not receiving all the attention we should have. When we give way to impatience, we drive the Spirit of God out of the heart and give place to the attributes of Satan. When we frame excuses for selfishness, for evil thinking and evil speaking, we are educating the soul in evil, and if we continue to do this, it will become a habit to yield to temptation. We are then on Satan’s ground, overcome, weak, and without courage.

If we trust in ourselves, we shall certainly fall. Christ says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” John 15:4. What is the fruit that we are to bear? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22, 23.

As I meditated on these things, I felt more and more deeply the sin of neglecting to keep the soul in the love of God. The Lord does nothing without our co-operation. When Christ prayed, “Father, keep them in Thy name,” He did not mean that we should neglect to keep ourselves in the love and faith of God. Alive unto God, through a living union with Christ, we trust in the promises, constantly gaining greater strength by beholding Jesus. What can change the heart or shake the confidence of the one who by beholding the Saviour is changed into His likeness? Shall such a one be on the watch for slights? Shall his imagination center on self? Shall he allow little things to destroy his peace of mind?

He in whose heart Christ abides is willing to be pleased. He thinks no evil and is content with the assurance that Jesus knows and values aright every soul for whom He died. God says, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Isaiah 13:12. Let this satisfy the longing of the soul and make us careful and guarded, very ready to forgive others because God has forgiven us.

The happiness of life is made up of little things. It is in the power of every one to practice true Christlike courtesy. It is not the possession of splendid talents that will help us to overcome, but the conscientious performance of daily duties. The kind look, the lowly spirit, the contented disposition, the unaffected, sincere, interest in the welfare of others—these things are helps in the Christian life. If the love of Jesus fills the heart, this love will be manifested in the life. We shall not show a determination to have our own way, a stubborn, selfish unwillingness to be happy or pleased. The health of the body depends more upon heart-healthfulness than many suppose.

One can imagine himself slighted, imagine that he is not in as high a position as he is capable of filling, and so make of himself a supposed martyr. He is unhappy, but who is to blame? One thing is certain—kindness and amiability of temper will do more to exalt him than any supposed smartness with the curse of an ungenial disposition.

— E.G. White, Manuscript 33, 1892

E.G. White

This is a republished article or book excerpt from Sister Ellen G. White.

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