Workers With Christ
By Mrs. E. G. White
A great work has been committed to the followers of Christ. Every one may do something to strengthen and build up the church, and to enlighten those who are in darkness. But there must be a feeling of individual responsibility. Each must seek to maintain a close connection with God, that he may have strength to aid and counsel others. "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." The heart in which his Spirit dwells, will be a channel of light to others. It cannot be otherwise.
Those who do not preserve a living connection with God themselves, will have little interest in the salvation of others. They have no light from Heaven to reflect to the world. If these careless, irresponsible ones could see the fearful results of their course, they would be alarmed. Every one of us is exerting an influence upon some other soul; and we shall each be held accountable for the effect of that influence. Words and actions have a telling power, and the long hereafter will show the results of our life here. Yet how few consider these things! The members of the church listen to the word of God, spoken by his servant, and then one goes to his farm, another to his merchandise; and by their absorbing interest in the affairs of this life, they declare that eternal things are of secondary importance to them.
We should prayerfully study the word of God, and ponder it in our hearts, and we shall be better prepared to obey it in our lives. We must each have an experience for ourselves. The work of our salvation lies between God and our own souls. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before him, yet he will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being on earth.
At the final day, we shall be approved or condemned according to our works. The Judge of all the earth will render a just decision. He will not be bribed; he cannot be deceived. He who made man, and whose are the worlds and all the treasures they contain—he it is who weighs character in the balance of eternal justice.
Would that we as a people might realize how much is pending upon our earnestness and fidelity in the service of Christ. All who realize their accountability to God, will be burden-bearers in the church. There can be no such thing as a lazy Christian, though there are many indolent professors of Christianity. While Christ's followers will realize their own weakness, they will cry earnestly to God for strength, that they may be workers together with him. They will constantly seek to become better men and better women, that they may more faithfully perform the work which he has committed to their hands.
The days are evil, wickedness prevails; therefore there is the greater need that Christ should be faithfully represented to the world as a mighty Saviour, able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him. But the professed people of God are asleep. They are not doing what it is in their power to do for the salvation of souls. Especially are the youth deficient. They seem to feel no burden for souls, no duty to represent Christ to those with whom they associate. In all this are they not following in the steps of church-members who are older in experience, and who should have set them a better example?
The young, as well as those of more advanced age, are accountable to God for their time, their influence, and their opportunities. They have their fate in their own hands. They may rise to any height of moral excellence, or they may sink to the lowest level of depravity. There is no election but one's own by which any may perish. Every person is a free moral agent, deciding his own future by his daily life. What course, then, is it wisest for us, as rational beings, to pursue? Shall we live as becometh candidates for eternity, or shall we fail to fulfill the great end of our creation?
Jesus died that through his merits men might be redeemed from the power of sin, and be adopted into the family of God; and in view of the great sacrifice which Christ has made for us, we are exhorted to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Yet how many, endowed by their Creator with reasoning powers, reject the high honors which Christ proffers, and degrade themselves to the level of the brute. Because they do not like to retain God in their knowledge, he leaves them to follow their own evil ways. They yield to Satan's control the souls for whose redemption Christ has died.
We are free to obey or to disregard the will of God; free to pray or to live without prayer. As God compels no man to be righteous, so none are compelled to be impenitent and vicious. Human passions may be strong and wayward, but help has been laid upon One who is mighty. While that help will not be forced upon any who despise the gift, it is freely, gladly given to all who seek it in sincerity.
We may be assailed by powerful temptations, for we have a powerful, cunning foe; but these temptations are never irresistible. He who struggles against them in the strength of Christ, will overcome; but God will never deliver those who will not strive to free themselves. The Christian must be watchful against sins of the flesh, watchful against sins of the mind. Says the apostle, "Gird up the loins of your mind." The thoughts and feelings must be restrained with a firm hand, lest they lead us into sin. How many have become the willing slaves of vice, their physical and mental powers enervated, their souls debased, because impure thoughts were allowed to dwell in the mind, and to stain the soul. "Unto the pure, all things are pure." To those who are pure in heart, all the duties and lawful pursuits of life are pure; while to those whose heart and conscience are defiled, all things are impure.
Another sin of the mind is that of extolling and deifying human reason, to the neglect of divine revelation. Here, too, we must "gird up the loins of the mind." We are living in an age when the minds of men are ever on the stretch for something new. Rightly, directed, and kept within proper limits, this desire is commendable. God has given us in his created works enough to excite thought and stimulate investigation. He does not desire men to be less acute, less inquiring, or less intelligent. But with all our aspirations, and in all our researches, we should remember that arrogance is not greatness, nor is conceit knowledge. Human pride is an evidence, not of strength, but of weakness. It reveals not wisdom, but folly. To exalt reason unduly is to abase it. To place the human in rivalry with the divine, is to make it contemptible.
How can man be just with God? This is the one great question that most concerns mankind. Can human reasoning find an answer?—No; revelation alone can solve this all-important problem, can shed light upon the pathway of man's life. What folly, then, to turn from the one great source of light, the Sun of righteousness, to follow the feeble and uncertain light of human wisdom!
Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the Judgment shall sit and the books be opened, when with Daniel every individual must stand in his lot at the end of the days.
Oh that Christ's followers might realize that it is not houses and lands, bank-stock or wheat-fields, or even life itself, that is now at stake; but souls for whom Christ died! We should ever remember that the men and women whom we daily meet are Judgment-bound. They will stand before the great white throne, to testify against us if we are unfaithful to duty, if our example shall lead them away from the truth and from Christ, or to bear witness that our fidelity has encouraged them in the path of righteousness. These souls will either live to offer praise to God and the Lamb through ceaseless ages, or they will perish with the wicked. Christ suffered and died that they might enjoy a blissful eternity. What sacrifices are we willing to make for their salvation?
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