December 10 – 16
“Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 42–44, 119–125, 421–424.
“Nothing is more essential to communion with God than the most profound humility.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 50.
1 A REALITY CHECK
- In order to come closer to God, what do we need to realize? Isaiah 59:1, 2.
Note: “The sin which is indulged to the greatest extent, and which separates us from God and produces so many contagious spiritual disorders, is selfishness. There can be no returning to the Lord except by self-denial. Of ourselves we can do nothing; but, through God strengthening us, we can live to do good to others, and in this way shun the evil of selfishness. We need not go to heathen lands to manifest our desire to devote all to God in a useful, unselfish life. We should do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate and with whom we do business. Right in the common walks of life is where self is to be denied and kept in subordination. Paul could say: ‘I die daily’ (1 Corinthians 15:31). 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. With many there is a decided lack of love for others. Instead of faithfully performing their duty, they seek rather their own pleasure.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 132.
“We must have a knowledge of ourselves, a knowledge that will result in contrition, before we can find pardon and peace.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 158.
2 COMING CLOSER TO GOD
- How important is humility in the eyes of God? Isaiah 57:14–17.
Note: “If ever a people needed to walk in humility before God, it is His church, His chosen ones in this generation. We all need to bewail the dullness of our intellectual faculties, the lack of appreciation of our privileges and opportunities. We have nothing whereof to boast.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 63.
“All self-exaltation must be seen and put away. Truth and righteousness alone will stand the test for this time. We need to have the Spirit of God daily with us, that we may be kept from all evil thoughts and unwise actions, from lifting the soul unto vanity.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 65.
“The Lord is opening the way for the spread of the Gospel, but we are not ready. Daily we need to be softened and refined by the Holy Spirit’s power. Even our thoughts are to be brought into subjection to Christ. Unconsecrated self is to be crucified.” The Signs of the Times, October 24, 1900.
- What does God want to do for us through His word? Isaiah 57:18, 19.
Note: “Center your faith so deeply and securely in Jesus Christ that no circumstance of any kind will jostle your faith. Let your life be hid with Christ in God.
“Do not waste your thoughts in dwelling upon the defective characters of others. This will not cure your defects of character. By dwelling upon the wrongs of others, you will be changed into the same image. Whenever you are tempted to talk of others’ follies, or blame them for injuries they have done to you, consider that they have wounded the heart of Christ in the person of His saints. Then take your Bible, and open it before God, and plead with Him for the healing balm of His peace.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 24, 25.
“The Word makes the proud humble, the perverse meek and contrite, the disobedient obedient. The sinful habits natural to man are interwoven with the daily practice. But the Word cuts away the fleshly lusts. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the mind. It divides the joints and marrow, cutting away the lusts of the flesh, making men willing to suffer for their Lord.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 928.
3 KEEPING ETERNITY IN VIEW
- In contrast to the comfort for the meek and contrite, what verdict comes to those who reject God’s appeals? Isaiah 57:20, 21. How can we avoid this condition?
Note: “Are you willing to cast down the idols you have cherished? Are you willing to let Jesus enter the heart to cleanse it from all that defiles? Are you at all times and under all circumstances obtaining the mastery over yourself? Can you say, ‘For me to live is Christ’ (Philippians 1:21), I am His? Whatever I have, of time, or strength, or influence, all is His? Are you representing Him by your forbearance, your patience, your unselfishness?” The Signs of the Times, April 9, 1902.
“O for that devotion and humility of heart that will lead God’s people to do those things that Christ has commanded, and still in all humility and truth say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done only that which it was our duty to do! But many, many are swelling with pride and importance, who in God’s estimation are lukewarm. Self-gratification is revealed because of a few things accomplished. Where do we hear the testimony of hearts that are broken in repentance and confession before God? Where do we see professed believers wearing the yoke of Christ? How little time is given to fervent prayer, the result of which would be the possession of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.” The Review and Herald, September 16, 1909.
“It is not your profession, but your course of action, that will determine whether or not you are Christians. We are nearing the judgment, and we should strive to spend the little time that intervenes between the present and the coming of Christ, in an intelligent manner. We should seek to have the mind filled with valuable knowledge, not with wood, hay, and stubble. By wise cultivation our ability should increase, that we may have growing power to understand the sacred teachings of Christ. We are to become teachers of the mysteries of the gospel.” Ibid., April 19, 1892.
- What should we always keep in mind in view of eternity? Romans 14:10.
Note: “We are living on the verge of the eternal world. The cases of all are being tried in the heavenly courts, and it is high time to put away sin and to work earnestly to save as many as possible.” Reflecting Christ, 121.
4 THE HOLY SPIRIT IN ACTION
- What does Christ identify as evidence that we are becoming imbued with a greater portion of His Holy Spirit—the promised Comforter? John 16:8.
Note: “The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature. But do not be discouraged. This is evidence that Satan’s delusions have lost their power; that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you, and your indifference and unconcern are passing away.
“No deep-seated love for Jesus can dwell in the heart that does not see and realize its own sinfulness. The soul that is transformed by grace will admire His divine character; but if we do not see our own moral deformity, it is unmistakable evidence that we have not had a view of the beauty and excellence of Christ. The less we see to esteem in ourselves, the more we shall see to esteem in the infinite purity and loveliness of our Saviour. A view of our own sinfulness drives us to Him who can pardon. Jesus will accept us; for His word is pledged.” The Review and Herald, February 17, 1885.
- Explain the contrast between this humility and the opposite attitude frequently manifested in the world—and too often even in the church—and what are the consequences of the latter? James 3:13, 14.
Note: “What is lying against the truth? It is claiming to believe the truth while the spirit, the words, the deportment, represent not Christ but Satan. To surmise evil, to be impatient and unforgiving, is lying against the truth, but love, patience, and long forbearance are in accordance with the principles of truth.” That I May Know Him, 185.
“Many are cherishing an unholy desire for the supremacy. Many love to be flattered and are jealously watching for slights or neglect. There is a hard, unforgiving spirit. There is envy, strife, emulation. …
“Few receive the grace of Christ with self-abasement, with a deep and permanent sense of their unworthiness. They cannot bear the manifestations of the power of God, for this would encourage in them self-esteem, pride, and envy. This is why the Lord can do so little for us now.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 50, 51.
5 HUMBLE BEFORE OTHERS
- How do those who are Spirit-filled react to those who are faulty and erring? Galatians 6:1–3.
Note: “ ‘Forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us’ (Luke 11:4). We cannot repeat this prayer from the heart, and dare be unforgiving; for we ask the Lord to forgive our trespasses against Him as we forgive those who trespass against us. Very few realize the true import of this prayer. If those who are unforgiving comprehended the depth of its meaning, they would not dare repeat it, and ask God to deal with them as they deal with their fellow mortals.” The Youth’s Instructor, December 7, 1899.
“When the laborers have an abiding Christ in their own souls, when all selfishness is dead, when there is no rivalry, no strife for the supremacy, when oneness exists, when they sanctify themselves, so that love for one another is seen and felt, then the showers of the grace of the Holy Spirit will just as surely come upon them as that God’s promise will never fail in one jot or tittle. But when the work of others is discounted, that the workers may show their own superiority, they prove that their own work does not bear the signature it should. God cannot bless them.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 175.
“Before giving us the baptism of the Holy Spirit, our heavenly Father will try us, to see if we can live without dishonoring Him. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Do not think, my children, that you have received all the spiritual help you need. And do not think that you can have great spiritual blessings without complying with the conditions God Himself has laid down. James and John thought that for the asking, they could have the highest place in the kingdom of God. Oh, how far short they fell of understanding the situation! They did not realize that before they could share Christ’s glory, they must wear His yoke and daily learn His meekness and lowliness.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 178.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Through what key can the promises to the overcomers be granted to me?
2 What changes occur in us through wholehearted study of God’s word?
3 In view of the brief probationary time left, what should be our focus?
4 How may we be in danger of lying against the truth?
5 What practical steps can I take towards receiving the latter rain?