Reading 1 – Friday, December 6, 2019
The Virtue of Patient Love
By E. G. White
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Love is power. Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle, and cannot be separated from it…. The excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good, and to do nothing else than good. Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God regards more with how much love one worketh, than the amount he doeth. Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly origin, which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns. –Gospel Workers, pp. 311, 312 (1892).
The grace of patience
One of the chief characteristics of true love is humility. The apostle says: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” The man who has true zeal for God will be distrustful of self, and little in his own eyes. Love teaches us to be meek as well as lowly. Sanctified love will enable us to exhibit the grace of patience; it will help us to restrain impetuosity and fretfulness, so that we shall repine at nothing. Love to God and our neighbor will melt away all hatred, bitterness, wrath, malice, prejudice, envy, and evil surmising. –Signs of the Times, February 24, 1890.
The purest joy springs from the deepest humiliation. The strongest and noblest characters are built on the foundation of patience, love, and submission to God’s will…. This love “never faileth.” It can never lose its value; it is a heavenly attribute. As a precious treasure, it will be carried by its possessor through the portals of the city of God.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 319.
The sunshine of Christ’s righteous- ness stamps His image upon the soul. His love was expressed without partiali- ty and without hypocrisy. It was that healthful, hardy love which “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” This love is a divine love which nothing can quench. Faith and love blended bring all the heavenly graces in their train. In the possession of these, patience, kindness, affection, and perfect trust in God will be seen in the daily life. We shall manifest the meekness and lowliness of Christ, in bearing His cross, in wearing His yoke, in lifting His burdens. –The Youth’s Instructor, June 17, 1897.
The conduct of Christians is like that of their Lord. He erected the standard, and it is left for us to say whether or not we will rally around it. Our Lord and Saviour laid aside His dominion, His riches and glory, and sought after us, that He might save us from misery and make us like Himself. He humbled Himself and took our nature that we might be able to learn of Him and, imitating His life of benevolence and self-denial, follow Him step by step to heaven. You cannot equal the copy; but you can resemble it and, according to your ability, do likewise. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Such love must dwell in your hearts, that you will be ready to give the treasures and honors of this world if thereby you may influence one soul to engage in the service of Christ…. “Love one another,” says our Saviour, “as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Christ has given us an example of pure, disinterested love. You have not as yet seen your deficiency in this respect, and your great need of this heavenly attainment, without which all your good purposes, and your zeal, even if it be of that nature that you could give your goods to feed the poor and your body to be burned, is nothing. You need that charity which suffereth long, is not easily provoked, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Without the spirit of love, no one can be like Christ. With this living principle in the soul, no one can be like the world. –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 169, 170.
The love of God in the heart will lead us to speak gentle words…. Shall we not remember this? If the love of God is in our hearts, we shall not think evil, we shall not be easily disturbed, we shall not give loose rein to passion; but we shall show that we are yoked up with Christ, and that the restraining power of His Spirit leads us to speak words that He can approve. The yoke of Christ is the restraint of His Holy Spirit; and when we become heated by passion, let us say, “No; I have Christ by my side, and I will not make Him ashamed of me by speaking hot, fiery words.” Christ’s word to all who are connected with Him is: “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” –Review and Herald, January 25, 1898.
You need to be cultivating all the Christian graces, but especially charity…. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; for- bearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity [love], which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 257.
Does not think evil of anyone
The person who cultivates the precious plant of love will be self- denying in spirit, and will not yield self-control even under provocation. He will not impute wrong motives and evil intentions to others, but will feel deeply over sin when discovered in any of the disciples of Christ. –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 123.
Christlike love places the most favorable construction on the motives and acts of others. It does not needlessly expose their faults; it does not listen eagerly to unfavorable reports, but seeks rather to bring to mind the good qualities of others. –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 319 (1911).
Let us diligently cultivate the pure principles of the gospel of Christ– the religion, not of self-esteem, but of love, meekness, and lowliness of heart. Then we shall love our brethren, and esteem them better than ourselves. Our minds will not dwell on scandal and flying reports. But “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,” we shall “think on these things.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 505.
Wherever there is union with Christ, there is love. This is the crown- ing grace of the divine attributes. If love is not the abiding principle in the heart, whatever other good qualities we may possess will profit nothing…. “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” –Signs of the Times, August 10, 1891.
Only he whose heart is filled with compassion for fallen man, who loves to a purpose, showing his love by Christlike deeds, will be able to endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. He only who loves his fellowmen to a purpose can know God. This is the reason that there is so little genuine vitality in our churches. Theology is valueless unless it is saturated with the love of Christ. God is supreme. His love in the human heart will lead to the doing of works that will bear fruit after the similitude of the character of God. –The Southern Review, January 1, 1901.
Does not judge others
And yet how many there are who place the worst possible construction on the words and acts of others. By these would-be judges every little thing is scrutinized in the light of their own perverted understanding; and instead of considering that they themselves may be in error, as were Aaron and Miriam, they repeat their suspicions to others, who take up the reproach; and thus the very work is wrought that Satan desires to accomplish. This work is what is called “rejoicing in iniquity.” Love “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; love never faileth.” This is the Christ side of the question. The opposite spirit has already been described. It leads one to dwell on all the faults of others, and overlook their good qualities. When an error is committed, it looks back to gather up all the similar deeds, and treasures up all these, to confirm the darkest suppositions and attribute the worst motives. –Signs of the Times, March 14, 1892.
Even under false accusation those who are in the right can afford to be calm and considerate. God is acquaint- ed with all that is misunderstood and misinterpreted by men, and we can safely leave our case in His hands. He will as surely vindicate the cause of those who put their trust in Him…. Those who are actuated by the spirit of Christ will possess that charity which suffers long and is kind. –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 520.
It is the love of self that destroys our peace. While self is alive, we stand ready continually to guard it from mortification and insult; but when self is dead, and our life hid with Christ in God, we shall not take neglects or slights to heart. We shall be deaf to reproach, and blind to scorn and insult. –The Watchman, April 7, 1908.
God is supreme. His love in the human heart will lead to the doing of work that will bear fruit after the similitude of the character of God…. –Lift Him Up, p. 134.
“Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matthew 7:12. Blessed results would appear as the fruit of such a course. “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Verse 2. Here are strong motives which should constrain us to love one another with a pure heart, fervently. Christ is our example. He went about doing good. He lived to bless others. Love beautified and ennobled all His actions. We are not commanded to do to ourselves what we wish others to do unto us; we are to do unto others what we wish them to do to us under like circumstances. The measure we mete is always measured to us again…. A selfish heart may perform generous actions, acknowledge the present truth, and express humility and affection in an outward manner, yet the motives may be deceptive and impure; the actions that flow from such a heart may be destitute of the savor of life and the fruits of true holiness, being destitute of the principles of pure love. Love should be cherished and cultivated, for its influence is divine. –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 136 (1868).
Selfishness is written on the human heart in plain, unmistakable characters. Just as soon as the love of God takes its place, there is the image and superscription of Jesus Christ. His entire life amid a world filled with pride and selfishness was without an exception an embodiment of that charity that suffereth long, and is kind: that envieth not; that “vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Here is presented before us the fruits of the grace of God which every follower of Christ will manifest in his life and reveal in his character. –Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, pp. 191, 192