April 29, 2012 – May 5, 2012
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 221–227.
“In a knowledge of God all true knowledge and real development have their source.” Education, 14.
1 CONSTANTLY CRUCIFYING SELF
- As Christians, what is our greatest battle? Galatians 5:17, 24.
Note: “Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in character be made, by a few feeble, intermittent efforts. Sanctification is the work, not of a day, or of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 312, 313.
- What does Paul show that it is vital to Christian life? I Corinthians 15:31.
Note: “Paul’s sanctification was the result of a constant conflict with self. … His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did God’s will, however crucifying to his own nature.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 313.
“It is the daily dying to self in the little transactions of life that makes us overcomers. We should forget self in the desire to do good to others.” Ibid., vol. 2, 132.
“You need a fresh conversion every day. Die daily to self, keep your tongue as with a bridle, control your words, cease your murmurings and complaints.” Ibid., vol. 1, 699.
2 NO TIME TO WASTE
- What urgent decision should be made by all who hear Christ’s invitation? II Corinthians 6:1, 2.
Note: “We have no time to lose. We know not how soon our probation may close. Eternity stretches before us. The curtain is about to be lifted. Christ is soon to come. The angels of God are seeking to attract us from ourselves and from earthly things. Let them not labor in vain.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 314.
- What declaration will soon be pronounced? Revelation 22:11, 12.
Note: “A storm is coming, relentless in its fury. Are we prepared to meet it?
“We need not say: The perils of the last days are soon to come upon us. Already they have come. We need now the sword of the Lord to cut to the very soul and marrow of fleshly lusts, appetites, and passions.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 315.
- In view of our limited time before probation closes, what decisive actions must we be taking? Philippians 3:13, 14; Colossians 4:5.
Note: “If we would press forward to the mark of our high calling in Christ Jesus, we must show that we are emptied of all self, and supplied with the golden oil of grace. God is dealing with us through His providence. From eternity He has chosen us to be His obedient children. He gave His Son to die for us, that we might be sanctified through obedience to the truth, cleansed from all the littleness of self. Now He requires of us a personal work, a personal self-surrender. We are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. God can be honored only when we who profess to believe in Him are conformed to His image. We are to represent to the world the beauty of holiness, and we shall never enter the gates of the city of God until we perfect a Christlike character. If we, with trust in God, strive for sanctification, we shall receive it. Then, as witnesses for Christ, we may make known what the grace of God has wrought in us.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 24, 1899.
3 REALIZING OUR FRAILTY
- As believers, what requirement is essential for us? Matthew 16:24.
Note: “Man’s great danger is in being self-deceived, indulging self-sufficiency, and thus separating from God, the source of his strength. Our natural tendencies, unless corrected by the Holy Spirit of God, have in them the seeds of moral death. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we cannot resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin.
“In order to receive help from Christ, we must realize our need. We must have a true knowledge of ourselves. It is only he who knows himself to be a sinner that Christ can save. Only as we see our utter helplessness and renounce all self-trust, shall we lay hold on divine power.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 315, 316.
“Without a murmur or complaint lift the cross. In the act of lifting it, you will find that it lifts you. You will find it alive with mercy, compassion, and pitying love.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 12, 1901.
- How long must we deny self and look to God? Isaiah 26:4.
Note: “It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves; therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a constant, earnest confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Perils surround us; and we are safe only as we feel our weakness and cling with the grasp of faith to our mighty Deliverer.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 316.
- How does this process involve thoughts? Proverbs 1:7; I Peter 1:13.
Note: “Minds that have been given up to loose thought need to change. … The thoughts must be centered upon God. Now is the time to put forth earnest effort to overcome the natural tendencies of the carnal heart.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 315.
4 GETTING FOCUSED
- For victory, where must we focus our attention? Colossians 3:1, 2.
Note: “We must turn away from a thousand topics that invite attention. There are matters that consume time and arouse inquiry, but end in nothing. The highest interests demand the close attention and energy that are too often given to comparatively insignificant things.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 316.
- How are we warned against indulging in speculation on strange, new theories? Hebrews 13:9, first part; I Timothy 1:4–7.
Note: “Accepting new theories does not bring new life to the soul. Even an acquaintance with facts and theories important in themselves is of little value unless put to a practical use. We need to feel our responsibility to give our souls food that will nourish and stimulate spiritual life.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 316.
“I have seen the danger of the messengers running off from the important points of present truth, to dwell upon subjects that are not calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul. Satan will here take every possible advantage to injure the cause.
“But such subjects as the sanctuary, in connection with the 2300 days, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, are perfectly calculated to explain the past Advent movement and show what our present position is, establish the faith of the doubting, and give certainty to the glorious future.” Early Writings, 63.
“We are not doing the will of God when we speculate upon things that He has seen fit to withhold from us. The question for us to study is: ‘What is truth, the truth for this time, which is to be cherished, loved, honored, and obeyed?’ The devotees of science have been defeated and disheartened in their efforts to find out God. What they need to inquire at this time is: ‘What is the truth that will enable us to win the salvation of our souls?’…
“There are many who, in dwelling too largely upon theory, have lost sight of the living power of the Saviour’s example. They have lost sight of Him as the humble, self-denying worker. What they need is to behold Jesus. Daily we need the fresh revealing of His presence. We need to follow more closely His example of self-renunciation and sacrifice.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 317.
5 PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST
- What does it really mean to know Christ—and to be truly educated? Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 3:10.
Note: “The knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ expressed in character is an exaltation above everything else that is esteemed on earth or in heaven. It is the very highest education.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 317.
- What experience do we sorely need, and how will it affect our relationships with others? I Peter 1:15, 16; Philippians 2:5–8, 3.
Note: “He [God] desires that we shall constantly be growing in holiness, in happiness, in usefulness.” The Ministry of Healing, 398.
“Be so considerate, so tender, so compassionate, that the atmosphere surrounding you will be fragrant with heaven’s blessing. Do not discourage yourself and others by talking of defects of character. Talk of the light of which heaven is full. Look away from the imperfections of others to the perfection of Christ. Praise wherever you can. Love God and those around you. Forget yourself. …
“Let joy and love and the grace of Christ perfect your character. Let a willingness to obey make your path bright.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 12, 1901.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What daily need do we too often overlook in our Christian life?
2 In view of the shortness of time, what ought to be our priority?
3 How does looking to the cross affect our thoughts and plans?
4 Into what pitfall do many plunge, even with the Bible in hand?
5 If we attain a high level of true education, will we cause others to feel intimidated, belittled, and inferior—or instead, will they somehow feel more hopeful, brighter, and themselves uplifted by our contact?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.