Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

September 9, 1884

Pride and Worldliness to Be Avoided

By Mrs. E. G. White

The people of God should not imitate the fashions of the world. Some have done this, and are fast losing the peculiar, holy character which should distinguish them as God's people. They give the lie to their profession. They think they are not like the world, but they are so near like them in dress, in conversation, and in actions, that there is no distinction between them.

Why is it so hard to lead a self-denying, humble life? Is it not because professed Christians are not dead to the world? If they were, it would be easy living for Christ? But many have a disposition to dress and act as much like the world as possible, and yet go to heaven. Such are seeking to climb up some other way. They do not enter through the strait gate and narrow way. And when they are thrown on a bed of death, the great inquiry is, “Am I prepared to die, prepared to appear before God in judgment, and pass the grand review?” Ah! then, if they could take back and live over the past, they would correct their lives; they would shun the follies of the world, its vanity and pride. They would live to the glory of God, and set an example to all around them.

Few manifest an interest in their eternal welfare; few are preparing for their final change; earth attracts them, its treasures seem of worth to them. They find enough to engross the mind. Satan is ever seeking to plunge them deeper and deeper into the cares of this life. As soon as one perplexity is off the mind, he stands ready to involve them in another by exciting an unholy desire for more of the things of earth. And thus time passes, and when it is too late they see that they have gained nothing substantial. They have grasped at shadows, and lost eternal life.

Many dress like the world to have an influence. They spend hours that are worse than thrown away, in studying this or that fashion to decorate the poor, mortal body. But here they make a sad and fatal mistake. If they would have a saving influence, if they would have their lives tell in favor of the truth, let them imitate the humble Pattern; let them show their faith by righteous works, and make the distinction broad between themselves and the world. The words, the dress, and the actions should tell for God. Then a holy influence will be shed upon all, and all will take knowledge of them, that they have been with Jesus. Unbelievers will see that faith in Christ's coming affects the character.

God hates pride; “and all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up.” The third angel's message must yet work like leaven upon the hearts of many that profess to believe it; pride, selfishness, covetousness, and love of the world must be subdued. Jesus is soon coming; and he will acknowledge as his none but those who have been purified and made white, and who have kept themselves separate, unspotted from the world.

Those who profess to believe the third angel's message, often wound the cause of God by lightness, joking, and trifling. This evil is all through our ranks. There should be a humbling before the Lord; the Israel of God should rend the heart, and not the garment. Child-like simplicity is rarely seen; the approbation of man is more thought of than the displeasure of God. Set your hearts in order, dear brethren and sisters, lest the brittle thread of life be cut, and you lie down in the grave unsheltered, unprepared for the Judgment. Unless you make your peace with God, and tear yourselves from the world, your hearts will grow harder, and you will lean upon a false prop, a supposed preparation, and find out your mistake too late to secure a well-grounded hope.

The ax must be laid at the root of the tree. Pride and worldliness should not be suffered in the church. It is these things that separate God from his people. They have been asleep to the pride and conformity to the world which exist in the very midst of the church. Pride, covetousness, selfishness, and love of the world, are constantly increasing. The external appearance is an index to the heart. When hearts are affected by the truth, there will be a death to the world; and those who are dead to the world will not be moved by the laugh, the jeer, and the scorn of unbelievers. They will feel an anxious desire to be like their Master, separate from the world. They will not imitate its fashions or customs. The noble object will be ever before them, to glorify God, and gain the immortal inheritance, and in comparison with this everything of an earthly nature will sink into insignificance.

Too many neglect the Bible. They do not make that book their study and their rule of life as they should. Especially are the young guilty of this neglect. Most of them find plenty of time to read almost any other book; but the precious book that points to eternal life, the important book that is to judge them in the last day, is scarcely studied at all. Idle stories are attentively read, while the Bible is passed by neglected. A day is coming, a day of clouds and thick darkness, when all will wish to be thoroughly furnished by the plain, simple truths of the word of God, that they may meekly, yet decidedly, give a reason of their hope. All must understand the reason of their hope, to strengthen their own souls in the fierce conflict before the people of God. Without this, they will be wanting, and cannot have firmness and decision.

God will have a people separate and distinct from the world. When any cherish a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, he ceases to acknowledge them as his children, and they become the children of the world and of darkness. Those that had professed Christ, virtually put him off, and show that they are strangers to grace and to the meek and lowly Jesus. Had they acquainted themselves with him, they would walk worthy of him.

Young and old, God is now testing you. You are deciding your own eternal destiny. Your pride, your vain and empty conversation, your selfishness, are all put in the scale, and in many cases the weight of evil is fearfully against you. While evil is increasing and taking deep root, it is choking the good seed which has been sown in the heart. Many are flattering themselves that they are good Christians who have not a single ray of light from Jesus. They know not what it is to have the heart renewed by grace. They have no living experience for themselves in the things of God.

God proves his people in this world. This is the fitting up place to appear in his presence. Here persons show what power affects their hearts and controls their actions. If it is the power of divine truth, it will lead to good works. It will elevate the receiver and make him noble-hearted and generous, like his divine Lord. But if evil angels control the heart, it will be seen in various ways. The fruit will be covetousness, selfishness, pride, and evil passions. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Many professors of religion are not willing to examine themselves closely to see whether they are in the faith, and some are leaning on a false hope. They seem to think a profession of the truth will save them. When they subdue those sins which God hates, Jesus will come in and sup with them and they with him. They will then draw divine strength from Jesus, and will grow up in him, and be able to say with holy triumph. “Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It is the privilege of every Christian to enjoy the deep movings of the Spirit of God. A sweet, heavenly peace may pervade the mind, and you may meditate with pleasure upon God and heaven. You may feast upon the glorious promises of his word. But know first that you have begun the Christian course. Know that the first steps are taken in the road to everlasting life. Be not deceived here; for eternal interests are at stake.

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