May 23 – 29, 2021
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Study Help: Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 516–530; The Ministry of Healing, 483–496.
“Let no man present the idea that man has little or nothing to do in the great work of overcoming; for God does nothing for man without his cooperation.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 381.
1.a. Explain the cause and effect of harsh, impatient speech. Romans 6:16; Proverbs 15:1, last part; 28, last part.
Note: “What harm is wrought in the family circle by the utterance of impatient words; for the impatient utterance of one leads another to retort in the same spirit and manner. Then come words of retaliation, words of self-justification, and it is by such words that a heavy, galling yoke is manufactured for your neck; for all these bitter words will come back in a baleful harvest to your soul.” The Review and Herald, May 19, 1891.
“Among the members of many families there is practiced the habit of saying loose, careless things; and the habit of tantalizing, of speaking harsh words, becomes stronger and stronger as it is indulged, and thus many objectionable words are spoken that are after Satan’s order and not after the order of God. … Burning words of passion should never be spoken, for in the sight of God and holy angels they are a species of swearing.” The Adventist Home, 439.
1.b. Under what circumstances is anger justifiable? Exodus 32:19, 20; Luke 19:45, 46. In contrast, what should we bear in mind when tempted to retaliate against our enemies in our own defense? Proverbs 15:1, first part; Ecclesiastes 7:9.
Note: “It is true there is an indignation that is justifiable, even in the followers of Christ. When they see that God is dishonored, and His service brought into disrepute, when they see the innocent oppressed, a righteous indignation stirs the soul. Such anger, born of sensitive morals, is not a sin. But those who at any supposed provocation feel at liberty to indulge anger or resentment are opening the heart to Satan. Bitterness and animosity must be banished from the soul if we would be in harmony with heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 310.
“Far better would it be for us to suffer under false accusation than to inflict upon ourselves the torture of retaliation upon our enemies. The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan, and can bring only evil to him who cherishes it. Lowliness of heart, that meekness which is the fruit of abiding in Christ, is the true secret of blessing.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 17.
2 RESISTING ANGRY FEELINGS
2.a. How has the sin of angry resentment continually been affecting the life and countenance of Satan? Isaiah 14:12–20. What warning can we derive from this? Hebrews 12:15.
Note: “I was shown Satan as he once was, a happy, exalted angel. Then I was shown him as he now is. He still bears a kingly form. His features are still noble, for he is an angel fallen. But the expression of his countenance is full of anxiety, care, unhappiness, malice, hate, mischief, deceit, and every evil. … I saw that he had so long bent himself to evil that every good quality was debased, and every evil trait was developed.” Early Writings, 152.
2.b. How can we effectively resist angry feelings? Ephesians 4:31; Proverbs 19:11; Ecclesiastes 11:10.
Note: “There is only one remedy—positive self-control under all circumstances. The effort to get into a favorable place, where self will not be annoyed, may succeed for a time; but Satan knows where to find these poor souls, and will assail them in their weak points again and again. They will be continually troubled so long as they think so much of self. … But there is hope for them. Let this life, so stormy with conflicts and worries, be brought into connection with Christ, and then self will no longer clamor for the supremacy. … They should humble themselves, saying frankly, ‘I have done wrong. Will you forgive me? For God has said we must not let the sun go down upon our wrath.’ This is the only safe path toward overcoming. Many … nurse their wrath, and are filled with revengeful, hateful feelings. … Resist these wrong feelings, and you will experience a great change in your association with your fellowmen.” Sons and Daughters of God, 142.
3.a. In what various ways can the sixth commandment be violated? Exodus 20:13; 1 John 3:15.
Note: “All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them harm (for ‘whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer’ (1 John 3:15) … are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.
3.b. Why did the world hate Christ? John 7:7; 3:19. What can be learned from this?
Note: “Christ took humanity and bore the hatred of the world that He might show men and women that they could live without sin, that their words, their actions, their spirit, might be sanctified to God. We can be perfect Christians if we will manifest this power in our lives. When the light of heaven rests upon us continually, we shall represent Christ. It was the righteousness revealed in His life that distinguished Christ from the world and called forth its hatred.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 527, 528.
“Christ declared that those who manifest the same attributes would be likewise hated. As we near the end of time this hatred for the followers of Christ will be more and more manifest.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 527.
4 FAITH IS NOT PRESUMPTION
4.a. Describe the results of faith and how it may be cultivated. 1 John 5:4; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 10:17. What counsel is given to those struggling with their faith?
Note: “The word of the Lord, spoken through His servants, is received by many with questionings and fears. And many will defer their obedience to the warning and reproofs given, waiting till every shadow of uncertainty is removed from their minds. The unbelief that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to the evidence that God is pleased to give. He requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge. Those followers of Christ who accept the light that God sends them must obey the voice of God speaking to them when there are many other voices crying out against it.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 258.
4.b. Contrast genuine faith with presumption. Hebrews 11:1; Ephesians 2:8; Matthew 4:5–7.
Note: “Faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.” The Desire of Ages, 126.
5 CHARACTER FORMATION
5.a. How is “a noble, all-round character” formed? 1 Peter 2:2.
Note: “Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 331.
“All these successive steps are not to be kept before the mind’s eye, and counted as you start; but fixing the eye upon Jesus, with an eye single to the glory of God, you will make advancement.” My Life Today, 95.
5.b. To whom should we carry all of our doubts and trials? Psalm 62:8.
Note: “We are not to talk our doubts and trials, because they grow bigger every time we talk them. Every time we talk them, Satan has gained the victory; but when we say, ‘I will commit the keeping of my soul unto Him, as unto a faithful witness,’ then we testify that we have given ourselves to Jesus Christ without any reservation, and then God gives us light and we rejoice in Him.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 578, 579.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Although anger is normally felt by the carnal heart to be perfectly justifiable, when only is it really valid in the sight of God?
2 What are the effects of anger and how can it be avoided?
3 Name some ways in which the sixth commandment is often violated.
4 How can we discern between faith and presumption?
5 What are some essentials in building a Christlike character?
Copyright 1995 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.