Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

June 26, 1902

Onward and Upward

I wish I could portray the beauty of the Christian life. Beginning in the morning of life, controlled by the laws of nature and of God the Christian moves steadily onward and upward, daily drawing nearer his heavenly home, where await for him a crown of life, and a new name, “which no man knoweth saving him that receiveth it.” Constantly he grows in happiness, in holiness, in usefulness. The progress of each year exceeds that of the past year.

God has given the youth a ladder to climb, a ladder that reaches from earth to heaven. Above this ladder is God, and on every round fall the bright beams of his glory. He is watching those who are climbing, ready, when the grasp relaxes, and the steps falter, to send help. Yes, tell it in words full of cheer, that no one who perseveringly climbs the ladder will fail of gaining an entrance into the heavenly city.

Satan presents many temptations to the youth. He is playing the game of life for their souls, and he leaves no means untried to allure and ruin them. But God does not leave them to fight unaided against the tempter. They have an all-powerful Helper. Stronger far than their foe is he who in this world and in human nature met and conquered Satan, resisting every temptation that comes to the youth today. He is their Elder Brother. He feels for them a deep and tender interest. He keeps over them a constant watch-care, and he rejoices when they try to please him. As they pray, he mingles with their prayers the incense of his righteousness, and offers them to God as a fragrant sacrifice. In his strength the youth can endure hardness as good soldiers of the cross. Strengthened with his might, they are enabled to reach the high ideal before them. The sacrifice made on Calvary is the pledge of their victory.

The church of God is made up of vessels large and small. The Lord does not ask for anything unreasonable. He does not expect the smaller vessels to hold the contents of the larger ones. He looks for returns according to what a man has, not according to what he has not. Do your best, and God will accept your efforts. Take up the duty lying nearest you, and perform it with fidelity, and your work will be wholly acceptable to the Master. Do not, in your desire to do something great, overlook the smaller tasks awaiting you.

Beware how you neglect secret prayer and a study of God's word. These are your weapons against him who is striving to hinder your progress heavenward. The first neglect of prayer and Bible study makes easier the second neglect. The first resistance to the Spirit's pleading prepares the way for the second resistance. Thus the heart is hardened, and the conscience seared.

On the other hand, every resistance of temptation makes resistance more easy. Every denial of self makes self-denial easier. Every victory gained prepares the way for a fresh victory. Each resistance of temptation, each self-denial, each triumph over sin, is a seed sown unto eternal life. Every unselfish action gives new strength to spirituality. No one can try to be like Christ without growing more noble and more true.

The Lord will recognize every effort you make to reach his ideal for you. When you make failures, when you are betrayed into sin, do not feel that you can not pray, that you are not worthy to come before the Lord. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” With outstretched arms he waits to welcome the prodigal. Go to him, and tell him about your mistakes and failures. Ask him to strengthen you for fresh endeavor. He will never disappoint you, never abuse your confidence.

Trial will come to you. Thus the Lord polishes the roughness from your character. Do not murmur. You make the trial harder by repining. Honor God by cheerful submission. Patiently endure the pressure. Even though a wrong is done you, keep the love of God in the heart. “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.”

“Beware of desperate steps; the darkest day,
Wait but tomorrow, will have passed away.”

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Christ knows the strength of your temptations and the strength of your power to resist. His hand is always stretched out in pitying tenderness to every suffering child. To the tempted, discouraged one he says, Child for whom I suffered and died, can not you trust me? “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” He will be to you as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. He says, “Come unto me, ... and I will give you rest,”—rest that the world can neither give nor take away. Come unto me, and your heart will be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Words can not describe the peace and joy possessed by him who takes God at his word. Trials do not disturb him, slights do not vex him. Self is crucified. Day by day his duties may become more taxing, his temptations stronger, his trials more severe; but he does not falter; for he receives strength equal to his need.

Mrs. E. G. White

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