[Morning talk at Orebro, Sweden, June 21, 1886.]
By Mrs. E. G. White
There was one who came to Jesus after he had witnessed some of his wonderful teachings, and said, “I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” But Jesus read the heart and thoughts of the one who made this proposition, and knew that he was expecting to have some special honor in the esteem of Christ in his reign upon the earth, which he thought would be a temporal reign. But Christ answered him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” And whosoever will engage to follow him whithersoever he goeth, must himself work as Christ has worked. Those who engage to be partakers with Christ, must also be partakers with him of his humiliation and his sufferings. Not only will they have to be brought sometimes into strait and trying places in temporal things in this life, but they will meet with difficulties in spiritual things.
When two disciples came to Christ, one preferring to sit on his right hand and the other on his left, Christ said, “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Now, whosoever would set their feet in the path to follow their Redeemer, must be willing to follow him in all his self-denyings, and to do others good. They must prepare their souls for trial and conflict in the same manner as Christ did,—by prayer to his Father.
After the precious Saviour had met with indifference, with opposition, with criticism from those who needed his help, to whom he could and would do good if they would receive his words, he said, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” He went away alone with his Father, and prayed that he would not give up these rebellious ones to their own perversity of spirit; and he sent up his petitions with strong crying and tears. And if the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, has found it a necessity to pray to his Father, every one must imitate his example.
The enemy will seek in every way possible to obstruct the course of those who take hold of any branch of the work of God, that they may not have success. But instead of their interpreting this as an evidence that the Lord would not have them engage in individual labor, they should take it in altogether a different light, and see in the difficulties a vigilant foe; because the enemy is watching to block the way. And especially will this be the case with young men and women who would give themselves to the work of God. Satan will use every means to divert them from it. He attacks those who are doing errands for God, that they may be defeated. But those very ones who have had this difficulty to contend with, and have carried the matter to God, and persevered under discouragements, will say that it is the most valuable part of their experience.
The new and inexperienced workers frequently have had an idea that they could do the work themselves, and thus they have failed to seek God most earnestly for that help which they so much needed, that they might see their own weakness and insufficiency, and cling to the Arm mighty in power. These things should be no discouragement to those who would take hold of the work; for God often brings into strait places those whom he would have engage in labor for him, so that they may learn lessons of dependence and trust, and know the Source of their strength. Should he make the path very easy before them, they would be liable to feel that they were sufficient and powerful, and able to do the work themselves, and not seek God or give him the glory. But every one who is engaged in the work of God should feel the importance of learning lessons in Christ's school; and Christ tells us what the character of these lessons are: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Now the conditions are that every one shall take Christ's yoke upon him, and learn of him; and thus “ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
The reason why you fail to appreciate that which comes to you in warnings and reproofs from the word of God, is chiefly owing to your own self. You are inclined to feel your self-importance, and therefore your pride is wounded frequently, because you have not the meekness and lowliness of character to lie down at the foot of the cross. If you call to mind the Author and Finisher of your faith, and realize what he has suffered—that he went without the camp, bearing reproach for you that you might be saved,—then you will think that you are suffering nothing. What you want is the Spirit of Jesus. You need to cherish it continually; and then when difficulties shall arise, you will be hid in Christ, and will manifest the Spirit of Christ on any and every occasion. You should not encourage a feeling of sympathy and pity for yourself. All self should be hid in Jesus Christ, and then you will feel such sincere sorrow and pity for the souls who do not know what is for their best good, that you will forget all about your being misused.
We must bear in mind continually this fact: that the hand of Jesus reaches over every one of his sincere followers, and every blow that is aimed at you to injure you, wounds the hand of Jesus that covers you. So you are to lose self entirely; to put it out of sight as much as possible; and when you see that your words are not received by those you greatly desire to help and save, then you must flee to Christ and pray, as he fled to his Father and prayed. Christ will hear your humble prayers, and give you access to souls.
We are not one fifth part as meek and humble as we should be. We need to study carefully what these things mean,—that we are to eat the flesh of Christ, and to drink his blood. We must bring Christ into our being. The care and trouble we have, are caused, to a great degree, by our own hearts’ not being in harmony with Jesus Christ. We must take the word of God to ourselves,—and Christ is that word,—and study all his words of advice and counsel, and make them a part of our own life and character. Whatever may have been your defects, you are not to carry those defects along with you from day to day; but you are to set your feet upon the lower round of the ladder, and climb until you reach the topmost round. “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” You must hold fast to Christ. Christ is that ladder. We are to mount by the Mediator, and all the while keep hold on the Mediator, clinging to Christ, walking with Christ, living with Christ, growing in Christ, until we gain heaven. Christ is the ladder set upon the earth, the topmost round reaching the throne of God.
There are great blessings that we can realize if we will only bring ourselves into harmony with Jesus Christ. It is not that you are to trust in what you can do, but what Christ can do with your efforts; and therefore the whole glory should redound to Jesus Christ, if you would meet with success. And these lessons which appear to you so discouraging, should be regarded by you as the most precious lessons you could have, because you are made through them to see that your whole success depends upon your hold upon God; and if you pray to him in faith, you may know that he will hear your prayers, and will be by your side to help you in every circumstance.