Sabbath, January 23, 2010
“The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.” –Steps to Christ, p. 43.
Self must die
1. What should be our daily prayer? If we crucify self, who will live in us?
Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
“The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 172.
“We must deny self all along the way, die to self daily, let Jesus alone appear, and keep His glory continually in view.” –Early Writings, p. 67.
“The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness of sin; it means taking away our sins, and filling the vacuum with the graces of the Holy Spirit. It means divine illumination, rejoicing in God. It means a heart emptied of self, and blessed with the abiding presence of Christ. When Christ reigns in the soul there is purity, freedom from sin. The glory, the fullness, the completeness of the gospel plan is fulfilled in the life. The acceptance of the Saviour brings a glow of perfect peace, perfect love, perfect assurance. The beauty and fragrance of the character of Christ, revealed in the life, testifies that God has indeed sent His Son into the world to be its Saviour.” –Messages to Young People, p. 166.
The great exchange
2. What will we receive when we surrender our natural, wayward heart?
Ezekiel 36:25, 26 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
“It will require a sacrifice to give yourself to God; but it is a sacrifice of the lower for the higher, the earthly for the spiritual, the perishable for the eternal. God does not design that our will should be destroyed, for it is only through its exercise that we can accomplish what He would have us do. Our will is to be yielded to Him, that we may receive it again, purified and refined, and so linked in sympathy with the Divine that He can pour through us the tides of His love and power. However bitter and painful this surrender may appear to the willful, wayward heart, yet ‘it is profitable for thee.’” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 62.
Self must be hidden
3. What principle of Jesus’ forerunner will also be applied in the life and work of every faithful child of God?
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
“In … our work for the Master, self is to be hid. The language of the heart is, He must increase; I must decrease…. The love of self dies, the love of Jesus burns upon the altar of the soul. There is no spirit for low, common, self-seeking, or worldly ambition, because we are living in His presence, doing His work, and are in contact with Jesus Christ and His life. His character and His work are all-absorbing. The life imperceptibly becomes one with Christ as He was one with the Father. The truth and light and life are interwoven with life and character, and the aspirations are elevated, pure, unselfish, after the order of heaven….” –The Upward Look, p. 296.
4. How is it possible for us to work as Jesus did?
2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
“The love of Christ in the heart is what is needed. Self is in need of being crucified. When self is submerged in Christ, true love springs forth spontaneously. It is not an emotion or an impulse, but a decision of a sanctified will. It consists not in feeling, but in the transformation of the whole heart, soul, and character, which is dead to self and alive unto God. Our Lord and Saviour asks us to give ourselves to Him. Surrendering self to God is all He requires, giving ourselves to Him to be employed as He sees fit. Until we come to this point of surrender, we shall not work happily, usefully, or successfully anywhere.” –(Letter 97, 1898) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 1100, 1101.
“In order for us to work as Christ worked, self must be crucified. It is a painful death; but it is life, life to the soul.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 125.
5. How can we overcome self-righteousness?
Matthew 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
“They must fall who would rise again. We must fall upon the Rock and be broken before we can be uplifted in Christ. Self must be dethroned; pride must be humbled, if we would know the glory of the spiritual kingdom….
“To fall upon the Rock and be broken is to give up our self-righteousness and to go to Christ with the humility of a child, repenting of our transgressions, and believing in His forgiving love. And so also it is by faith and obedience that we build on Christ as our foundation.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 56, 599.
“Faith, living faith, we must have, a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. We must learn to take everything to the Lord with simplicity and earnest faith. The greatest burden we have to bear in this life is self. Unless we learn in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly, we shall miss precious opportunities and privileges for becoming acquainted with Jesus. Self is the most difficult thing we have to manage. In laying off burdens, let us not forget to lay self at the feet of Christ.” –Mind, Character and Personality, vol. 2, pp. 540, 541.
6. If we are clothed with Christ’s righteousness, how will we go forward?
1 John 2:5, 6 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.
“Our notions, our peculiarities, are wholly human and must not be humored or indulged. Self is to be crucified, not now and then but daily, and the physical, mental, and spiritual must be subordinate to the will of God. The glory of God, the perfection of Christian character, is to be the aim, the purpose, of our life. Christ’s followers must imitate Christ in disposition…. Like Christ is the watchword, not like your father or your mother, but like Jesus Christ–hid in Christ, clothed with Christ’s righteousness, imbued with the Spirit of Christ.” –Mind, Character and Personality, vol. 2, pp. 643, 644.
Bearing our cross
7. What must those who want to follow Jesus bear?
Mark 8:34, 35 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
“Give up your self-confidence and self-sufficiency, brethren, and follow the meek Pattern. Ever keep Jesus in your mind that He is your example and you must tread in His footsteps. Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself. He for our sins was once the meek, slain lamb, wounded, bruised, smitten, and afflicted.
“Let us, then, cheerfully suffer something for Jesus’ sake, crucify self daily, and be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here, that we may be made partakers with Him of His glory, and be crowned with glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life.” –Early Writings, pp. 113, 114.
Self must be crucified
8. In what sense is the immediacy of time a factor in giving ourselves to God?
Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
“You need not be thinking that there is a special time coming when you are to be crucified. The time to be crucified is just now. Every day, every hour, self is to die; self is to be crucified; and then, when the time comes that the test shall come to God’s people in earnest, the everlasting arms are around you. The angels of God make a wall of fire around about and deliver you.
“All your self-crucifixion will not do any good then. It must be done before the destiny of souls is decided. It is now that self is to be crucified–when there is work to do;… It is now that we are to empty and thoroughly cleanse the vessel of its impurity. It is now that we are to be made holy unto God. This is our work, this very moment.… I give myself to God today…
“Are you ready to make the surrender now? You are to put away your sin right now when you see it…. Do not make leeway
“I saw that some hardly know as yet what self-denial or sacrifice is, or what it is to suffer for the truth’s sake. But none will enter heaven without making a sacrifice. A spirit of self-denial and sacrifice should be cherished. Some have not sacrificed themselves, their own bodies, on the altar of God. They indulge in hasty, fitful temper, gratify their appetites, and attend to their own self-interest, regardless of the cause of God. Those who are willing to make any sacrifice for eternal life, will have it; and it will be worth suffering for, worth crucifying self for, and sacrificing every idol for.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 126.