Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

December 9, 1897

Love the Test of Discipleship

Part 2.

We are to manifest the love of Christ through the indwelling of his quickening Spirit. Those who differ with us in faith and doctrine should be treated kindly. They are the property of Christ, and we must meet them in the great day of final account. We shall have to face one another in the Judgment, and behold the record of our thoughts, words, and deeds, not as we have viewed them, but as they were in truth. God has enjoined upon us the duty of loving one another as Christ has loved us. He has exhorted us to be one, as Christ is one with the Father; and every true Christian should seek to answer the prayer of Christ.

Those who have the love of Christ in their hearts will care for the needy and afflicted. “But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” The principles of the last six of God's commandments are summed up in the words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

All selfishness is condemned by the law of God, and we are made stewards of God, and should not be neglectful of, or indifferent to, our brethren. We cannot love God unless we love those about us. A man will reveal just what is in his heart. Words are of but little value. Love should be expressed in acts of sympathy, in kindness to those who are oppressed, or in poverty, or affliction, or temptation. God's deeds are the fruits of sanctification. If we are waiting and watching for opportunities to do good, to infuse light, to impart tangible blessings, we shall not feel that in doing so we have done any great things: yet Jesus will reckon every act of kindness done to others as done to himself.

He who seeks to walk by the rule of God's law, will care for the interests of his brethren as he would care for his own interests. Genuine piety manifested in this manner is of more value in the sight of God, who readeth the thoughts and intents of the heart, than all manner of boasting professions. Those who are genuine Christians can say, “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

How carefully should we examine the motives which prompt us to actions! When we follow the inclination of the natural heart, we separate our souls from God, although the lips may declare that we are wholly the Lord's. With the Bible open before us, let us look into God's holy mirror, and see whether our practises and plans are holy. Let us ask the question, Is this the way of the Lord? If we do an injury to our brother or neighbor, we shall have to meet the injured one before the throne of God. No difference in belief will justify us in invading another's rights, in neglecting to do justice and judgment. Let the love of Christ reign in the heart, let his commandments be obeyed, and we shall exert no unhallowed influence. Has the truth been accepted in the soul? Is the mind of God, as revealed in the holy law, the guide of our life? If so, love, joy, peace,—yes, heaven,—is brought into our life here below.

This is the will of God, even your sanctification; and the nearer we draw to God, the more clearly shall we discern his purity and loveliness, and the less we shall exalt ourselves. Shall we believe the testimony of those who boast of being sinless, and who yet violate the commandments of God? John says, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” If those who claim to be Christians draw away from the commandments of God, and slight, reject, and denounce them, we may know how to estimate their profession of holiness. They have not Christ abiding in their hearts at all; for Christ is not opposed to Christ. Christ gave every one of these commandments, and those who obey them have the promise that they shall receive whatsoever they ask.

Those who are sincerely keeping the commandments of God, who walk in obedience to his law, should have greater faith; for to them apply the rich promises of God. Let not those who disregard God's commandments lay claim to his promises; for it is the willing and obedient who shall eat the good of the land.

Mrs. E. G. White

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