Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

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

The Signs of the Times

February 12, 1885

A Cheerful Spirit Honors God

[Remarks made in the 6 o'clock morning meeting on the campground at Los Angeles, Cal., May 14, 1884.]

By Mrs. E. G. White

The Christian should live so near to God that he may approve things that are excellent, “being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” His heart should be attuned to gratitude and praise. He should be ever ready to acknowledge the blessings he is receiving, remembering who it is that has said, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.”

Many professed Christians dwell too much on the dark side of life, when they might rejoice in the sunshine; they repine when they should be glad; they talk of trials when they should offer praise for the rich blessings they enjoy. They look at the unpleasant things, hoard up the disappointments, and sigh over the griefs, and, as a consequence, grow heavy-hearted and sad, when, should they count up their blessings, they would find them so numerous that they would forget to mention their annoyances. If they would every day take note of the favors that are done them; if they would store their minds with the precious memory of kindnesses received, how much occasion they would find to render thanks and praise to the Giver of all good.

Some Christian wives who have unconverted husbands and children make this a cause of despondency and gloom. They manifest so much more anxiety for their friends than trust in God, that they forfeit the blessings of peace, and joy, and a thankful spirit, which might be theirs. I have heard some say that they did not even care to be saved unless their husbands and children were saved with them. They feel that Heaven would not be Heaven to them without the presence of these who are so dear. But have they an eye single to the glory of God when they cherish this feeling? Oh, no! Such expressions are not pleasing to God, for they place the creature before the Creator. But they are just what Satan delights in, for he can use the evident sadness and discouragement of spirit that grow out of this feeling to make the Christian religion appear unattractive.

Dear Christian sisters, the best thing you can do for your loved ones who are out of Christ is to live before them a life of peace and joy, to show them that in Jesus you find a helper who gives you strength according to your day. Make home happy. In the home circle exercise Christian courtesy, forbearance, and love; but the sadness, the tears, the distress for your unconverted friends, should be reserved for the closet. Jesus will meet you there, and you may roll all your burdens upon him, the Burden-bearer. Our precious Saviour is the friend of man. He died for these souls; he is waiting to bless and save them. He has claims upon their service, for he has bought them with an infinite price; and he is grieved with their resistance of his claims, their rejection of his offers of mercy, more deeply grieved than you can possibly be.

God has given you, too, a work to do; and because your husband and children refuse to do their duty, will you relax your efforts in his cause? Should not the very fact that these who are so dear to you are ignoring his just claims upon them arouse you to greater diligence, that, so far as possible, you may supply their deficiency?

Wives, mothers, cultivate trust in God. He does not want you to carry a constant load of anxiety and care. Rise above your trials; look away from them to the blessings you are receiving. Fix the mind upon the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare for those that love him. Cultivate clear perceptions of truth, unselfish purposes, and a desire to do others good and make them happy.

“I am persuaded,” says Paul, “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Again he says: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

As you read these strong, brave words from one who suffered so much for his faith in Christ, and yet counted his severest trials as light afflictions, enduring but for a moment, will you not resolve to possess your soul in patience amid the petty annoyances of every-day life, that are often so irritating and so hard to bear? Will you not resolve that these things shall not interrupt your communion with God and separate you from his love?

Do not allow the perplexities and worries of every-day life to fret your mind and cloud your brow. If you do, you will always have something to vex and annoy. Life is what we make it, and we shall find what we look for. If we look for sadness and trouble, if we are in a frame of mind to magnify little difficulties, we shall find plenty of them to engross our thoughts and our conversation. But if we look on the bright side of things, we shall find enough to make us cheerful and happy. If we give smiles, they will be returned to us; if we speak pleasant, cheerful words, they will be spoken to us again.

When Christians appear as gloomy and depressed as though they thought themselves friendless, they give a wrong impression of religion. In some cases the idea has been entertained that cheerfulness is inconsistent with the dignity of the Christian character; but this is a mistake. Heaven is all joy; and if we gather to our souls the joys of Heaven, and as far as possible express them in our words and deportment, we shall be more pleasing to our heavenly Father than if we were gloomy and sad.

It is the duty of every one to cultivate cheerfulness instead of brooding over sorrow and troubles. Many not only make themselves wretched in this way, but they sacrifice health and happiness to a morbid imagination. There are things in their surroundings that are not agreeable, and their countenances wear a continual frown that, more plainly than words, expresses discontent. These depressing emotions are a great injury to them healthwise; for by hindering the process of digestion, they interfere with nutrition. While grief and anxiety cannot remedy a single evil, they can do great harm; but cheerfulness and hope, while they brighten the pathway of others, “are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Christ came to restore to its original loveliness, a world ruined by sin. The work of the fall will be undone. All that was lost in Adam's transgression will be regained through the sufferings and death of Christ. In the new earth there will be no sin nor disease. All blemishes and deformity will be left in the grave, and the body will be restored to its original perfection. We shall wear the spotless image of our Lord, for “he shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.”

The development of Christian character, tending toward this state of perfection, is a growth toward beauty. The character is expressed in the countenance. The evil that is in the heart hangs out its sign, and we read at a glance coarseness, unrest, selfishness, cunning, deceit, lust, falsehood, envy, pride, and malice. As the heart becomes transformed by the renewing of the mind, the graces of the Spirit leave their impress on the face, and it expresses the refinement, delicacy, peace, benevolence, and pure and tender love, that reign in the heart, and constitute the inward “adorning,” which is in the sight of God of “great price.”

The apostle Paul exhorts: “Rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing.” Give “thanks always for all things unto God,” “singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

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