To the people of God comes the injunction, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” Temptations born of selfishness and covetousness will come to us constantly, and constantly we are to resist them, strengthened by the grace of God. Before a world that is watching professing Christians, ready to make capital of any inconsistencies, those who put on Christ will work out the pure principles of heaven.
The church of God is to be the light of the world, shining amid the moral darkness. Let nothing unlike Christ be allowed to make the least appearance among the people to whom God has given the work of revealing His character to those opposed to Him. We are to bring pure principles into all our dealing with believers and unbelievers. Christians are to treat their fellow-workers as they would wish to be treated, being careful not to take the least advantage of them. They are not selfishly to seize opportunities which will place their brother at a disadvantage. Fathers, masters, rulers, are never to take advantage of their position to bring about such a condition of things that questionable principles shall bear sway.
I speak to you in the words of the great Teacher: “Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” I lift my voice in warning. Hear the words of Jesus. In all business transactions, watch. Ministers and presidents of conferences, watch unto prayer. Work out your own prayers, and you will find that you are co-operating with Christ.
My brethren, you can not afford to make one move on the wrong side, one move that will in any way vindicate the principles which God condemns. Turn away from wicked examples, by whomsoever they may be set; for they should not be followed. God is at work, calling attention to the laws of His kingdom. Bow to no human authority, unless a plain, “Thus saith the Lord,” makes it safe for you to do this. When those who claim to have authority in business lines deviate in the slightest particular from mercy and justice, do not follow in their ways, or seek to vindicate their actions.
Those who will be most exalted in the kingdom of God are those who in this life love the Lord Jesus and their fellow-men, those who are always ready to honor Him who made so great a sacrifice for them. He laid aside His kingly crown and royal robe, and stepped from His high command to take His place at the head of a fallen race. Clothing His divinity with humanity, He came to a world all seared and marred with the curse, to become one with humanity, to endure in behalf of humanity the temptations of the wily foe. He came to show men that they may stand on vantage-ground with God, keeping all the laws of His kingdom, acting out His will in love and kindness and loyalty, doing good and not evil.
Nothing has been so difficult for the people of God to learn as loyalty to the pure, elevated, unselfish principles of heaven. And as a result, sin and suffering make up a large part of their history. The words spoken to Daniel by the angel are positive: “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand.” Be assured that Satan, as a strong man armed, is continually on the watch, seeking to penetrate to the very heart of God’s working force, striving to bring in questionable methods of dealing, and thereby mar the work of God. He works with all his power to bring his suspicious, evil theories into the business dealing of God’s people. He would be well pleased to eclipse the brightness of God’s principles by the selfishness of the principles on which he works. If he possibly can, he will tarnish the pure gold of character. If he can place the false where the true should be, his object is gained.
The originator of all evil, Satan comes with stealthy tread, presenting plausible theories to the people of God, telling them that if they do this or that, even tho it may be questionable, they will gain great advantage, and the end will justify the means. He tries to persuade them that the eating of the forbidden fruit will be to them a source of great good. When men listen to him, the spiritual eyesight is dimmed, and the power of distinguishing between good and evil is lost.
— E.G. White, Signs of the Times, 11/6/1901
Related: The Light of the World