Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

July 3, 1893

Seek Those Things Which are Above

By Mrs. E. G. White

“No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Through every age the experiment of serving two masters whose interests were divergent has been tried over and over, but the world's Redeemer solemnly assures us, as one who knows that the experiment is utterly impracticable, that “no man can serve two masters.” He has given important lessons on this matter, lessons that we neglect at the peril of our souls. We are to be intensely in earnest in regard to heavenly things. We are to watch, to pray, to wait, and to work. “Why,” he asks, “stand ye here all the day idle?” and adds, “Go work today in my vineyard.” Work, earnest work, is before us. We are to consecrate our life wholly to the service of God, and to trade diligently on our Lord's intrusted talents. We are to permit nothing to interpose between us and God, but to look well to our soul's eternal interest, and meet the claim that God has upon his human agents. We would inquire of those who profess the solemn truth for this time, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? Is your heart reaching heavenward, and does your soul contemplate heavenly things? Have earthly things more attraction for you than heavenly things? If heaven is the theme of your contemplation, it will be the theme of your conversation. To him who is growing in grace and in a knowledge of the truth, the heavenly attractions become all absorbing, and he grows up into Christ, his living head. Responding to the glory of Christ, our righteousness is brought forth as the light, and our judgment as the noonday. In contemplating the matchless charms of Jesus, in realizing the light of his presence by faith, we have a foretaste of the joy of the heavenly world. He who follows on to know the Lord will know that his goings forth are prepared as the morning.

How much more may we enjoy in this life than that which we have enjoyed! In our present spiritual condition we have only a faint idea of what our life might become, of what our homes might be, if we would cultivate heavenly affections, and yield ourselves wholly to the service of God. We would live in joyful communion with God. Our human affections and sympathies are not to wane away and become extinct, but through living connection with God, our love is to deepen, our interest to become more intense, our efforts more successful in promoting the happiness of those around us. Through Jesus Christ, households are to have blissful harmony and unity, and parents are to live together in peace and love, neither speaking nor thinking evil one of another. Parents and children are to be kind, forbearing, forgiving, having their hearts softened by the grace of Christ.

The truth of heavenly origin received into the heart never makes its possessor coarse, rough, uncourteous, hard hearted, and unsympathetic. The reception of the truth is to work a result exactly opposite to this. Its influence will encourage, and strengthen the tender, finer feelings of human nature. Those who believe the truth, will reveal its influence in their daily life. They will have the mind of Christ. They will be affectionate parents, loving children, faithful friends, and agreeable associates. They will not feel that they have occasion to blush when they give expression to feelings of tenderness and sympathy to those of their own flesh and blood.

He who cherishes the softening, subduing influence of the love of God, will not be coarse and rough and unforgiving, revengeful and full of bitterness. The true Christian will make his home a type of the heavenly home, and this he can do only as he has the abiding love of Christ in his soul. Souls about us are perishing for sympathy which is never expressed. Many have a cold, stern manner, and do not hesitate to reprove, while they withhold all praise, and never give a word of commendation to brighten the pathway of those who serve them. As the heavenly home would not be a home of bliss without the presence of Christ, neither can the earthly home be a happy one without his abiding love. Let us heed the words of Christ, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” If this injunction is obeyed from the heart, the life will be full of grace and peace, and our conversation will not consist simply of a set of dry phrases, but will bring happiness, peace, and joy to the members of the household. Thoughts and actions will reveal that we are in harmony with the divine will.

We shall be judged by our thoughts and words. There is need that we pray much, that all our thoughts may be brought into captivity to Jesus. We should hourly seek the grace of God, that our natural irritability of temper shall not overcome us, or our desire to have our own way make us brace ourselves against the work of God. We should educate ourselves after the divine order, that we may not tear down but build up the interests of humanity. The workers must not draw apart. They will have to meet discouragements from without, and not one who claims to be making up the breach in the law of God, of building up the old waste places, restoring the foundations of many generations, should be found undoing the work that God has set his workmen to accomplish in different branches of his cause.

Cultivate confidence, love, and faith in one another. Let confidence be so thoroughly grounded that your love one for another may not be easily chilled or turned aside. Cultivate good will toward the children of God, and especially toward those whom God hath sent to bear a special message to the world. Do not find fault with and cast reflections one upon another. If you see anything in the servants of God which seems to you unworthy of their high calling, let it not be a matter of discouragement to you, but let it be an incentive to reach a higher level.

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