Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»

The Gospel Herald

December 1, 1899

Spiritual Food

It is the privilege of every soul to reach the highest standard. Stop at no low standard in your experience. Beware of admitting any worldly or selfish motives whatever in the settlement of the great question between God and your soul. The Lord requires all that there is of you through constant improvement of every talent, that you may make a success in the formation of Christian character. By faith let the Holy Spirit instruct you, that you may not only receive but impart the heavenly grace.

All is to be surrendered to Christ. There must be no reservation. God expects more of us than we give him. It is an insult to Jehovah to claim to be Christians and yet speak and act as worldlings. We can not yield the smallest place to worldly policy. We need to be sanctified every hour through the belief of the truth. It is not safe for one day to neglect putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. We can make no compromise. We do not want to make extra efforts for a more tasteful development of Christianity. We want Christ formed within, the hope of glory.

Catch the divine rays of light from Christ and you need not try to shine; for you will reflect his image, which is formed within. You can not help shining. Others will see the Christ side of the character revealed. There is a great deal of rough work to do, but the grace of Christ will be revealed in spirit, in speech, in experience. The salvation of souls is the grand object to be kept before us, and mental and spiritual improvement will be seen in all our ways, habits, and practises. They will be fragrant with the atmosphere which surrounds Jesus Christ. We all have now, and ever have had, the sympathies of the divine intelligences. Heavenly beings co-operate with us in the battle as we advance against fallen angels and fallen men to press the battle into new territories, even where Satan's seat is.

Young men who have little experience in the self-denial that Christ practised, will be constantly urging the necessity of a more tasteful development of Christianity than we are wont to meet with, even among those who have long known the truth. I agree that there is need of sanctified refinement. There is need of an emptying of self, and an opening of the heart to an abiding Christ. But my heart has been much pained by the introduction among us of certain forms that ape worldly customs and fashions. In connection with the most precious sentiments of truth there is brought in an outside polish, a regard for that which is called taste, which has little of the true element which works by love and sanctifies the soul. That quality of refinement which is esteemed by the world is of little value with God. In every day life we must have an abiding Christ, who is working constantly to conform all our attributes to the image of the divine.

That surface religion talked of so glibly by the tongue that prates of the beautiful, I have learned the value of to my sorrow. Many who with flippant words are ever ready to speak of elevation and refinement do not act as if they had any practical knowledge of that which their tongues express. Their poetical religion is not the religion that will stand test and trial. I have learned to my sorrow that they have little respect for true Christ-like piety, little desire for the sanctification of the Spirit of God unto true holiness. To exalt a theory which will exalt self is their great ambition. To conform to the divine plan does not suit their frothy ideas.

O, what deceptions are upon those who are looking for the beautiful and poetic in their speculations. They hear not the voice of the One who gave his life to self-denial, to humiliation, to suffering and a cruel, ignominious death to make it possible for human beings to keep the law of God. They can do this only by heeding the invitation, “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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” These are the lessons the great Teacher has given us. We are to take his yoke of submission, restraint, and obedience, in meekness and lowliness of heart. Those who yoke up with Christ will find rest and peace.

Exhibitions of self, strife for the supremacy, putting the false in the place of the true, will be developed in a certain class. In theory they represent the God of the beautiful, the divine author of the material world. They observe the beautiful representations in his operations and plans, and they weave into poems a sentimentalism that tells for nothing in making their own character-building symmetrical. Their work is not in harmony with the plan of God for fitting men to unite with the angelic family and to become children of the heavenly King. All these soaring ideas God counts as nothingness. There is a supposed inspiration which is modified by hereditary taste and by education and temperament.

Let us hear what Christ has to say. “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” To follow in the footsteps of Christ is to practice true godliness. All who are partakers with Christ of his humiliation and self-sacrifice will be constantly learning how to lay upon the foundation-stone “gold, silver, precious stones,” not the material represented as “wood, hay, and stubble,” which will perish in the fire of the last days. We want true sanctification, true wholeness to God. We would not encourage the soaring element in the make-up of character, but we would encourage true solidity. What is the chaff to the wheat? The world is not to be saved through the divine songs and melodies of even the angelic host in heaven. These angels have their appointed work to do on earth. They find a world in gross darkness as to what constitutes sin, which is the transgression of the law of God. Darkness, vice, deception, prevarication, dishonesty, exist among those who profess godliness. And there is a call made, “Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, as a people that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinance of their God.”

What have God's people to learn? “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” There is work, solid work, to be done for every soul that shall stand in the great day of the Lord. “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, and, behold, all things are become new.”

The one in whose heart the grace of Christ abides is daily undergoing a transformation of character. He is preparing for the higher school, where all characters blend in a perfect whole. The divine harmonies of the heavenly intelligences would be out of place in the world. They would not be understood. For the world knoweth not God nor Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. Sin and violence are in the land. In transgression of the law of God, fallen men with their sinful tempers, appetites, tastes, and attributes have arrayed themselves in hostility to God. They resemble the inhabitants of the Noatic world. He who would be an effective co-worker with God in his broad vineyard must do most diligent, earnest, hard work; he must meet the people where they are. If they will not come to the gospel feast to which the call of Christ invites them, then God's messengers must accommodate themselves to the circumstances, and bear the message to them in house to house labor, thus extending their ministry to the highways and by ways, giving the last message to the world.

It is of no use for men to purchase large volumes of history, supposing that by studying these they can gain great advantage in learning how to reach the people at this stage of the earth's history. As I see the shelves piled up with ancient histories and other books that are never looked into, I think, Why spend your money for that which is not bread? We do not need ancient lore to tell us the things that we must know now, just now.

The sixth chapter of John tells us more than you can find in these books. There is a history in this chapter. Christ says, “I am the bread of life.” “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This (myself) is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread is my flesh that I will give for the life of the world.” Read on to the sixty-third verse, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

The motive of those who study these many books is not so much to obtain light or spiritual food. It is an unsanctified ambition to become acquainted with philosophers and theologians, a desire to present Christianity to the multitude in learned terms and propositions.

God calls for those who would be laborers together with him to yoke up with Christ. “Learn of me,” said the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. “Take my yoke upon you,” and come down to learn my meekness and my lowliness. Your intellectual pride will not aid you in the work of communicating with souls perishing for the bread of life. Your devotion to the study of these books is taking the place in mind and heart of the practical lessons you should be learning from the great Teacher. The multitude are not fed. The Holy Spirit is not dependent on the work of human agents. They want to work themselves. Very little of the money invested in piling up volumes for study and research, which is wearying to the brain, furnishes anything that will make one a successful laborer for souls.

The men who have devoted their lifetime to common work need words as simple as Christ gave in his lessons, words which are easily understood. Christ said, “I came to preach the gospel to the poor.” Our brethren who are teaching the truth for this time need a deeper insight into the lessons Christ has given. We can not do better than to heed the words Christ has spoken: “He that will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” At every step we advance in any service for Christ, self-denial and the cross lie directly in the path.

The words of the living God are the science of all education. The studied phrases designed to please the taste of the supposed-to-be refined, fall short of the mark. Our ministering brethren need to eat the bread of life. This manna will give them spiritual sinew and muscle; then they will not be as weak as babies when any crisis comes. Baptized with the Holy Spirit, they will be prepared to meet all classes of men. The candlestick will be placed where it will give light to all that are in the house.

The piety, the spiritual energy, of the church is sustained by feeding on the bread which came down from heaven. The rich and the poor alike meet together, and take sweet counsel of God. At the feet of Jesus we are to learn the simplicity of true godliness.

We need now to strip ourselves for the race, to harness ourselves for the battle. The time of trouble is upon us. Let the ponderous volumes of history and the variety of other books be exchanged for the simple lessons of Christ. He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” Why do not all who believe in Christ do all that He told them to do? Why do they worry and perplex their souls with reading that will not do one twentieth part for them that Christ's words will do. Much reading is spoiling some of our ministers, so that they know not how to feed the flock of God with Spiritual food. God help us to understand what it means to learn of Christ.

Mrs. E. G. White

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»