Necessity of Contemplating
The Signs of the Times
July 10, 1893
Necessity of Contemplating Heavenly Things
By Mrs. E. G. White
John says: "I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which was the book of life, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
If we would bear in mind the momentous events which are soon to take place, we would not be so weak in character. We would feel that we were living in the presence of God, and awed and amazed we should heed the injunction, "Be still and know that I am God." Oh, when shall we ever realize the full value of our Saviour's work and intercession? When shall we rely upon him with full confidence, and live a noble, pure, and devoted life? To what heights may the imagination reach when sanctified and inspired by the virtue of Christ! We may take in the glories of the future, eternal world. We may live as seeing him who is invisible. Walk by faith and not by sight. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Through searching the Scriptures we may come to understand what we are to Christ, and what he is to us. By beholding him we are to become changed into his image, becoming co-laborers with him, representatives of him in life and character. We must learn to realize that we are to live as the sons and daughters of God, loving God supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves. We are to live a pure, perfect life for Christ's sake. We are to love perfection because Jesus is the embodiment of perfection, the great center of attraction. The life we now live we must live by faith in the Son of God.
If we follow Christ we shall not have a spasmodical experience, and be moved by circumstances and influenced by our surroundings. We shall not let feeling control us, and indulge in fretting, envying, fault-finding, jealousy, and vanity.
It is indulgence in these things that puts us out of harmony with the harmonious life of Christ, and prevents us from becoming overcomers. We should be actuated by the noble purpose of winning daily victories, and by watchfulness and sincere prayer attain to complete control of self. When petty trials come upon us, and words are spoken that cut and bruise the soul, speak to yourself and say, "I am a child of God, heir with Jesus Christ, a co-laborer with heaven, and I cannot afford to easily take offense, to be always thinking of self; for this will produce a distorted character, and is unworthy of my high calling. My Heavenly Father has given me a work to do, and let me do it worthily for his name's sake."
We should consider earnestly and continually the excellence of the character of Jesus Christ, and we may impart his blessings, and lead men to follow in his footsteps. If the ministers of Christ would do this, there would be no reason for deploring their inefficiency. If they came to the people filled with the meekness and lowliness of Christ, knowing what it is to grow up into the full stature of men in Christ Jesus, power would attend their labors, and people would receive impressions from their association with them that would be of eternal benefit. The work of God would go deeper than it now does, and the soul would be changed into the likeness of Christ. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed in the same image from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord." "For as much as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.... The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? ... Now the Lord is that Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." "Wherefore also we pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ."