Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

December 3, 1889

The Need of a Deeper Knowledge of God

By Mrs. E. G. White

Enoch walked with God. He was of one mind with God. The prophet asks, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” If we are of one mind with God, our will will be swallowed up in God's will, and we shall follow wherever God leads the way. As a loving child places his hand in that of his father, and walks with him in perfect trust whether it is dark or bright, so the sons and daughters of God are to walk with Jesus through joy or sorrow, through sunshine or shadow, in the pathway of life.

The Lord has committed to us the sacred, solemn work of presenting testing truth to the world. He has greatly honored us in giving us a part to act in his cause, in permitting us to be co-laborers with him. If we are indeed the delegated servants of the Lord, we should walk in the light, that we may be light-bearers to those who sit in darkness. The followers of Christ are to manifest to the world the characteristics of their Lord. They must not become careless or inattentive to their duty, or indifferent as to their influence; for they were to be representatives of Jesus in the earth.

The word of God has served as a mighty cleaver to separate the children of God from the world. As they are taken out of the quarry of the world, they are as rough stones, unfit for a place in the glorious temple of God. But they are brought into the Lord's workshop, to be hewed and squared and polished, that they may become precious, accepted stones. This work of preparation for the heavenly temple is going on continually during probationary time. We are naturally inclined to desire our own way and will, but when the transforming grace of Christ takes hold upon our hearts, the inquiry of our souls is, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” When the Spirit of God works within us, we are led to will and to do of the Lord's good pleasure, and there is obedience in heart and action. There are many professing to be followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, who find difficulty in serving God, because they set up their own proud will against the will of God. They are selfish and world-serving, and want everything to bend to their own desires and opinions. But the language of every soul professing the name of Christ should be, “All that the Lord requires of me, I will do.”

Those who do not walk in all faith and purity, find the thought of coming into the presence of God a thought of terror. They do not love to think or speak of God. They say in heart and by their actions, “Depart from us, O God; we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” But through faith in Christ, the true Christian knows the mind and will of God. He understands by a living experience something of the length and depth and breadth and height of the love of God that passeth knowledge. The soul that loves God, loves to draw strength from him by constant communion with him. When it becomes the habit of the soul to converse with God, the power of the evil one is broken; for Satan cannot abide near the soul that draws nigh unto God. If Christ is your companion, you will not cherish vain and impure thoughts; you will not indulge in trifling words that will grieve Him who has come to be the sanctifier of your soul. Let every ambassador of Christ cherish pure thoughts, speak refined words, and manifest a courteous behavior toward all with whom he comes in contact. The truth of God never degrades the receiver. The influence of the truth upon him who accepts it, will tend constantly to his elevation. It will not make him coarse and rough in thought, in word, in dress or deportment. Those who are sanctified through the truth, are living recommendation of its power, and representatives of their risen Lord. The religion of Christ will refine the taste, sanctify the judgment, elevate, purify, and ennoble the soul, making the Christian more and more fit for the society of the heavenly angels.

Christians are to be God's noblemen, who will never grovel in bondage to the great adversary of souls, but will bind themselves to God, catching inspiration from him whom they love, who is high and lifted up. The soul that loves God, rises above the fog of doubt; he gains a bright, broad, deep, living experience, and becomes meek and Christ-like. His soul is committed to God, hid with Christ in God. He will be able to stand the test of neglect, of abuse and contempt, because his Saviour has suffered all this. He will not become fretful and discouraged when difficulties press him, because Jesus did not fail or become discouraged. Every true Christian will be strong, not in the strength and merit of his good works, but in the righteousness of Christ, which through faith is imputed unto him. It is a great thing to be meek and lowly in heart, to be pure and undefiled, as was the Prince of heaven when he walked among men.

Those who teach the truth must have a more thorough knowledge of the height and depth and breadth and length of the perfect love of God. Throughout the Christian's experience there will be battles to fight with self; but in all these conflicts the soul may rise in the triumph of victory, and be more than conqueror over the world, the flesh, and the Devil, through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must have a deeper, higher sense of the consecration which God requires of men whom he has chosen as the depositaries of his holy word. They are not to be careless in any of their ways. A most solemn responsibility rests upon them to be examples to the flock of God, and to the world, in faith, in word, in life and character, that they may adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour. They are to be strictly pure, to be much in prayer, to be diligent students of the Bible. God has given them mind and reasoning powers, that they may search diligently for the jewels of his truth, that are to be presented in all their attraction to the imperiled souls of men. You should lay your souls open before God, that you may be filled with heavenly inspiration. You should keep the fountain of the soul pure, that the streams coming forth from it may be untainted with evil. The whole mind and soul should become imbued with the truth, that you may be a living representation of Christ. My brethren, God would have you filled with his Holy Spirit, endowed with power from on high. Labor not to become great men; labor rather to become good and perfect men, showing forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. God calls for Calebs and Joshuas, fearless, single-hearted men, who will work with faith and courage.

Every one who is called of God to minister to his people, through the grace of Christ, is to depart from all iniquity, that his words, his life, his character, may point to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. The servants of Christ are to have that wisdom which cometh from above, which is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” The apostle says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.”

Ministers do not qualify themselves for their work by thorough and diligent study of the word of God. Unless they do this, they cannot instruct others, and they will fail to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Many go over large fields of Bible truth, but they do not seek to understand the practical meaning of the deep utterances of God. The Bible will instruct the Christian how he ought to behave before the world. Young men who desire to give themselves to the work of the ministry, or who have already done so, should put their minds to the task of searching the Scriptures. They should cultivate habits of self-control and simplicity. Like Daniel, they should avoid luxurious living, that their bodies may be in health, and their minds may be unclouded, and God will put his impress upon them as he did upon his servant of old.

God gave Daniel wisdom, for he prayed for it in faith, and then he lived out his own prayers. He avoided everything which would weaken physical or mental power, and then committed his soul and body unto God, to be used for his glory. Let the servants of God fill the mind from the treasure-house of his word, that they may bring forth things new and old to feed the famishing flock of God. God's word is like a mine full of precious ore, and its truths will be the wealth of the mind. “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” The riches of this mine are open to all; its treasures are inexhaustible. Precious gems of truth lie beneath the surface, and every hour's search will be fully repaid. Store the mind with the principles of the gospel of Christ; seek with painstaking effort for the hidden wealth of God's word. All heaven is watching to see what man will do with the precepts and promises of Jehovah.

The ministers who venture to teach the truth when they have only a smattering knowledge of the word of God, insult his Holy Spirit. But he who begins with little knowledge, in a humble way, and tells what he does know, while seeking diligently for further knowledge, will become qualified to do a larger work. The whole heavenly treasure will wait his demand. The more light he gathers to his own soul, the more of the heavenly illumination he will have to impart to others; and thus he will become a channel of light to the world, and Heaven's strength will be given him, that he may resist the powers of darkness, and be more than conqueror through Him who hath loved him. No one can find nourishment and growth unless he feeds on the bread of life. The word of God is our spiritual food; we must hunger for the bread of heaven, and thirst for the waters of life. We must become more heavenly minded. The more we behold the matchless loveliness of Christ, the more we shall desire to become like Him whom our soul loveth. The more we know of Him, the higher will be our ideal of character, and the more will we be elevated in striving to reach the perfect standard.

There is too much Phariseeism among us. Too many are satisfied with themselves, with their forms and ceremonies; but those who are content with their human attainments, are not pleasing in the sight of God; for Jesus is ashamed to call them brethren. They are always purposing to do something great, but they never do it; for they depend upon their own strength, which is only as a broken reed. They have an indistinct view of a higher Christian life, but as time passes, they grow more and more indifferent, and are farther and farther away from its attainment. If these persons would put heart and soul and strength into the work of searching the Scriptures daily, Jesus would become to them sanctification and righteousness. A new power will come to every man who will humbly seek God by living faith. A divine element combines with the human when the soul reaches out after God, and the yearning heart may say, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

If the ministers who are engaged in the sacred work of God, would seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, they would live a purer, more elevated life; they would know what it means to “look and live.” There is no need of the weakness that exists in the ministry today. The message of truth we bear to the world is all-powerful. There is much more embraced in present truth than many dream of. The minds of many are not put to the task of studying, that they may comprehend the deep things of God; but self and ease and lazy habits must be overcome, if we would draw nigh to God, and have him draw nigh to us. Our minds must be employed to the full, or we shall fail of obtaining the deep, rich experience that God is willing to give us. Every minister should seek to take in the meaning of the words of Christ: “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” Christ is the minister's example, and the minister should set upon the suggestion of the words of the Saviour, and become an example to the church of God.

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