In His word the Lord has shown what man may become if connected with the Source of all wisdom. The soul of everyone is precious. All heaven is interested in the plan of salvation, and its power is waiting our demand. We may choose wisely, and through Christ become more precious in the sight of God than the golden wedge of Ophir, or we may become as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal; but if we do degenerate, we shall lose heaven with all its riches.
Character cannot be bought with gold; it cannot come to us by accident. Character is attained by individual effort, aided by the grace of Christ. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be urged against hereditary tendencies.
If the character is left to be molded as chance may direct, it will become deformed and unlovely. In everyone there are weak points, and Satan takes advantage of these. Temptations will thicken about the pathway; but the Lord will help those who ask Him in sincerity. Then stand fast in the strength of Jesus. Swerve not from the right to gain favor or to avoid difficulty. Christians can afford to be straightforward, and firm as a rock to principle; and all the excellence of character we attain will be gained by moving in this straight line.
Be kind and considerate of others; but at the same time be frank and sincere, for the Lord despises dissembling. The standard of the world is not the criterion for the Christian: God and the right should be his motto. Truthfulness and frankness should be cherished. He should deal honestly and righteously in this present evil world.
We can go through the world but once; we cannot come back to rectify mistakes; therefore every move should be made with godly fear and careful consideration. Honesty and policy will not harmonize; either truth and honesty will triumph, or policy will prevail, and honesty cease to direct. The two principles cannot act together; they can never be in agreement.
These things will bear thoughtful consideration, close, critical examination. We are in the investigative judgment, and the work for the time is solemn heart-searching. The duty devolves upon everyone to consider, to watch, and to pray. You are not bidden by the Lord to examine your neighbor’s heart. Let your investigative powers be put to work to discover what is in your own heart, the defects in your own character, the work to be done in your own home.
The proving time has come, and angels are watching the development of character. How many, since they have professed Christ, have changed for the better? My brother, my sister, are you becoming more and more like Jesus, who is pure, undefiled, holy? Can your associates see in you the likeness of Christ? Can they see that you maintain in your dress, in your conversation, in your daily life, the simplicity of your Master?
The ambition of every soul should be to make straight his paths, that the feet of others may not be led astray. But the anxiety with many is to shape their course to be admired of men. What value can Christians place on the praise and flattery of men who have no reverence for God nor love for His truth? The honor received from such persons is of no worth. We should not aim to receive the applause of the world, but to honor Him who is worthy of the heart’s best and holiest affections. This is a worthy ambition, and it brings the highest reward; for God has promised, “Them that honor Me I will honor.”
O how much the Spirit of Christ is needed by everyone who has any interest or acts any part in the work of God. God would have everyone make the most of his talents and opportunities, putting them to a wise use, with an eye single to His glory. But self must not gain the mastery. Hide yourself in Jesus, and let Him appear as “the One altogether lovely,” the chiefest among ten thousand.
It is the duty and privilege of all to use reason as far as man’s finite faculties can go; but there is a limit to man’s resources. There are many things that can never be reasoned out by the strongest intellect, or discerned by the most penetrating mind. Philosophy cannot determine the ways and works of God; the human mind cannot measure infinity. Jehovah is the fountain of all wisdom, of all truth, of all knowledge. There are high attainments that man can reach in this life through the wisdom that God imparts; but there is an infinity beyond that will be the study and the joy of the saints throughout eternal ages. Man can now only linger on the border of that vast expanse, and let imagination take its flight. Finite man cannot fathom the deep things of God; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The human mind cannot comprehend the wisdom and power of God. The Watchman, February 5, 1907