Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

July 13, 1888

The Christian's Work

By Mrs. E. G. White

The true Christian will be meek, gentle, willing to learn, teachable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits. Those who are truly religious will not become stubborn, set in their way, and unyielding in their opinions. They will be ready to prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good. They will consider themselves as learners in the school of Christ. They will not be of that class who are ever ready to lecture others to condemn and criticise, and to impugn the motives of their friends and neighbors. The Christian is to represent Jesus, who is the light of the world. To take a position as above the brethren, is to take the position of the Pharisee. Let the meekness of Jesus appear in words of wisdom, and in an irreproachable conduct that will recommend your faith to those with whom you associate.

Heaven is open to us. Everyone may find access to the source of strength. From the gates ajar, the light of the better world is shining into the path of the just. Mothers may come to Jesus with their worries and perplexities. They may find grace sufficient to support them, and to aid them in the management of their children. They may be enabled to conduct their household affairs in a manner that will glorify God. Let them study less how to make the outward appearance attractive, and devote more time to the education and training of their children, that they may meet the approval of God. He who is high and lifted up, esteems a meek and quiet spirit as of great price. Its possessor is of more value in his eyes than the gold of Ophir. If, then, this spirit makes character so acceptable to God, how earnestly should mothers pray and labor, that their households may be adorned with this precious ornament. If the many hours that are devoted to improving the outward appearance, were devoted by mothers to prayer, and to the study of the Scriptures, in order to learn how to mould the characters of their charges, what a difference would be seen in the society of the church which is composed of these families.

The lesson which we have individually to learn in the school of Christ, is how we can use our God-given influence and ability in a manner which Christ will accept, and in a way that will make us the light of the world. You are not to study how you can please the world, or how you can enjoy the world, but how you may exert an influence that will bless man, and lead souls to Christ. Dedicate yourselves to Christ. Commit the keeping of your souls to God, as unto a faithful Creator. Take hold of his strength, and he will work with your efforts. You cannot afford to waste or misuse your God-given powers or opportunities. The time is now yours to perfect your own characters and those of your children, that you may be useful in this life, and fitted for the eternal life that is to come. A life devoted to God in works of faithfulness, is a witness to men of the power of godliness.

There are many who forsake the fountain of living waters, and hew out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water; but Christ, the Rock of Ages, invites the weary and the wandering to come unto him and find rest for their souls, to come and obtain peace and salvation. Many are walking apart from Christ, not obeying his words or working his works, and yet they are pretending to be holy; but this claim will not stand the test of the Judgment. It is true that our works will not save us, and yet no one will be saved without good works. A pure life, a holy character, must be attained by everyone who would enter the portals of the city of God. The moralist, trusting in his own goodness, will be found wanting. Like Cain, he presents a sacrifice which does not recognize the blood of Jesus as essential to cleanse from the defilement of sin. Every sinner must have virtue that is not possessed by himself. Our door-post must be marked by the atoning blood, thus acknowledging our own inefficiency, and the merits of the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world; for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

Fathers and mothers, you should feel the necessity of saying, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Then the world would not hesitate to place you with Christians. Men will not be acquainted with the motives that actuate you, or know the principles that move you; but they will see your determination to move in the fear of God. You will not join them in the chase after pleasure, nor in following the fashions and customs of the world. You will not be in harmony with their tastes, their plans, and conversations. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

As Christ is pure in his sphere, man may be pure in his. We have a work to do for ourselves which no one can do for us, and we must appreciate the time and the opportunities that are given to us, that we may prepare for the eternal world. Fathers and mothers, it is your privilege to be sanctified to God, and to bring your children to Jesus, by earnest prayer, by living faith, by constant, untiring effort. Never was Jesus more willing to prove to you that he is the Rock of Ages than he is today. Never before have the people of God had greater encouragement to trust in Jesus than they have today. It will be very hard for us to excuse our neglect, or to bring reasons why we should not believe in our Saviour, and sing,

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.”

The life of the true-hearted Christian will be as the light of the world. The spiritual life will not be manifested by proud boasting. It has its seat in a heart that displays the working of the Spirit of Christ in the character and thought. There will be manifested meekness, humility, tender compassion, love, faith, and hope. Teach your children to seek meekness, quietness, and purity. These are the ornaments that can be worn with the approval of God. Parents, let your adorning not be the outward adorning, but the inward adorning of the heart, in that which is not corruptible. The ornaments that God would have the Christian wear are of an immortal character.

Parents should seek to become thoroughly acquainted with their children. Oh, may the Lord impress them with the necessity of laboring for them, in order to bring them to Jesus! Oh that they might realize the far-reaching influence of the impressions of early life! These impressions are either for good or for evil, and they leave their traces in the character, which is developing day by day. Parents will be held responsible for the influence they exert, and for the development of their children. In the day of Judgment they will have to meet the record of their work.

No higher work was ever committed to mortals than the shaping of character. Children are not only to be educated, but trained as well; and who can tell the future of a growing child, or youth? Let the greatest care be bestowed upon the culture of your children. One child, properly disciplined in the principles of truth, who has the love and fear of God woven through the character, will possess a power for good in the world that cannot be estimated. The work of wise parents will never be appreciated by the world, but when the Judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, their work will appear as God views it, and will be rewarded before men and angels. It will be seen that one child who has been brought up in a faithful way, has been a light in the world. It cost tears and anxiety and sleepless nights to oversee the character-building of this child, but the work was done wisely, and the parents hear the “Well done” of the Master.

Mothers, you can find no greater missionary field wherein to exercise your talents, than in the home, where your children are to be reared in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. You are not merely to dress them, feed them, and send them to school; but you are to patiently instruct them, giving them line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. You are to restrain the evil tendencies, and to encourage the good. Day by day you are to seek the help of God by earnest importuning and supplication. To be at ease, to suffer them to go on in a wrong course, indifferent to the results, is a neglect of your God-given duties, and will reveal the worst effects for time and for eternity. Satan is at hand to crowd in evil thoughts, to lead them into evil ways. He will possess the heart that is not given to Jesus that he may impress it, and wash it, and cleanse it, and sanctify it for the courts of Heaven.

The mother should not be off guard for a moment. She is doing a work that will tell in time and in eternity. She should learn to depend upon God with implicit confidence. Children, when they become of age, will prize the parent who labored faithfully, and would not permit them to cherish wrong feelings or indulge in evil habits. Parents, you may find your children impatient of restraint, at first. They may rebel, but you should insist upon obedience. Children trained to obey their parents will be in a condition to love God, and to yield to the claims of his law.

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