The Consecrated Way, Part IV

We have been making our way through the passage of Scripture found in 2 Peter 1—Peter’s ladder. Centuries before, Jacob, when fleeing from Esau, laid his head on a rock, weary from the flight. There, in visions of the night, God gave Jacob a dream of a ladder that extended from the earth to heaven. The ladder was meaningful to Jacob. It assured him that God was with him; it encouraged him that there is indeed a ladder extending from earth to heaven. Peter picks up where this dream left off by presenting the idea that Jesus is coming again and that we need to get ready for that wonderful and great event by climbing the ladder. Sister White makes it very clear that each rung of that ladder is important to us in reaching the kingdom of heaven.

“The apostle Peter presents before us the ladder of progress that we must climb round by round in order to meet the approval of God. [2 Peter 1:5–7 quoted.] Those who would make men of honor, men of trust, men of fidelity, must begin to be faithful in the smallest matters, and they must begin at home. Everyone who would be perfect must mount this ladder of progress. Many have neglected to put their feet upon the first rounds of the ladder. They want to mount to the topmost rounds without the trouble of climbing, but the only sure way is to take the painstaking way of going up by gradual advance, round after round.” Signs of the Times, May 25, 1891.

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience ….”
2 Peter 1:3–6.

The Climb Gets Harder

When we arrive at patience, we find that we are half way up the ladder in the goal that leads to Christian perfection of character. The climb does not seem to be getting any easier. As a matter of fact, it is getting somewhat more difficult. There are some folks who are afraid of heights. They do not like to climb very far for fear of falling.

The rung of this ladder, called patience, is one that speaks to every one of us—so elusive and yet so desirable. Webster defines patience: “The state, quality, power or fact of being patient.” It does not say a whole lot to us, does it? What is patience? Further research results in three meanings that come to bear on our climb:

  1. bearing pains or trials calmly without complaint,
  2. manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain, and
  3. being steadfast, despite opposition, difficulty or adversity.

I would like to suggest that each one of these meanings has an application to the Christian today, as he is looking for the soon return of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory. Revelation 14:12 serves as a hallmark for Seventh-day Adventists. After having outlined the events that will surround the last generation just before Jesus comes, the proclamation of the Three Angels’ Messages, John wrote, under inspiration, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

Beautiful Harmony

It is marvelous to see the harmony of the words of inspiration. Peter must have known that patience was a necessary part of character development for the last generation. He gave direction through the Spirit of God that patience was a part of that development. Then, through the same Spirit while John sees the culmination of all the events of earth’s history, he writes, “Here is the patience of the saints.”

Someone once said that, “Patience is the guardian of faith, the preserver of peace, the cherished of love, the teacher of humility. Patience governs the flesh, strengthens the spirit, sweetens the temper, stifles anger, extinguishes envy, and subdues pride. Patience bridles the tongue, restrains the hand, tramples on temptations, endures persecutions, and consummates martyrdom. Patience produces unity in the church, loyalty in the state, harmony in families and societies. She comforts the poor and moderates the rich. She makes us humble in prosperity, cheerful in adversity, and is unmoved by reproach. She teaches us to forgive those who have injured us and to be first in asking forgiveness of those whom we have injured. She delights the faithful and invites the unbelieving. She adorns the woman and approves the man. Patience is beautiful in either sex and every age.” The Royal Path of Life, © 1997 Bud and Debbie Neptune, R. R. 1 Box 131a, Dawn MO 64638 <> (cited March 26, 2002).

It is a little better than Webster’s definition, is it not? This is what Peter is telling us that we need to add to temperance. I believe there is significance to the order in which these Christian graces were given. Add to temperance, patience. Did you know that we cannot have patience without temperance? What affects the body affects the mind.

Continuing the Climb

What we fail to provide for physically we cannot expect to reap spiritually. On the other hand, it is also apparent that we can climb on to the rung of temperance and not climb any higher. We might be exercising all sorts of temperance in our lives; we may be eating all the right kinds of foods; we may have never violated any of the rules of health; we may be exercising, getting proper sleep; our temperance may be impeccable, yet we may lose eternal life, because we have not climbed any higher in the development of our Christian character.

This is what happened to the Pharisees. They were perfectionists in all their physical aspects—those things that could be seen, felt, and heard—but they were lost because they did not develop spiritually. They did not climb, as they should have. We have many Christians today who are classed in the same group as were the Pharisees. They are doing everything right as far as temperance and health reform is concerned, but they have not continued to climb higher.

Peter says that God’s plan for us is to climb that ladder, round by round, ultimately stepping off into the Promised Land. I hope that you have not stopped in your climb.

Bearing Pains or Trials

Have you added to your temperance, patience—the ability to bear pains or trials calmly without complaint? If things do not go just the way you want them to go, do you lose your patience? It is quite a trial. When you are crossed, do you fly off the handle? Do you lose control of yourself and perhaps rant or rave just a little bit? What would a non-Christian think if he were to come upon you then? What is the angel writing down? Sometimes our lack of patience causes us to say things that will condemn us in the judgment, because every word is recorded.

Have you been able to manifest forbearance under provocation or strain? I remember a neighbor of ours who, when I was just a boy, had an old Packard car. The old Packard engines were straight eights, and they had a long hood on them. It was in the wintertime, and he had run the battery down trying to get the car started, so he tried starting the engine by using a crank. He cranked and cranked, but it still did not start. So, in his lack of patience, he pulled the crank out of its place and began to beat it across the hood, the fenders, and the headlights. When that did not produce the amount of satisfaction he wanted, he shattered the windshield with the crank. But that did not start the car either.

He was not a Christian, but surprisingly there are Christians who display similar behavior. Patience. Oh, golden patience. Have you been able to be steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity? If you have not developed patience, what do you suppose it is going to be like when you find yourself in the throes of the events that are going to transpire just before Jesus comes?

Steadfast Despite Adversity?

I do not know whether you sense it or not, but it seems to me, at least in these last few years, that the intensity of everything is growing. How are we going to fare? Are we going to be steadfast despite opposition and difficulty or adversity? As we have heard, we have not yet seen anything compared to what is coming. Do you have the patience of the saints that will see you through those times?

The apostle Peter is not the only one who understands the need for patience as a Christian virtue. Paul, writing to the Romans, tells them something similar. “Let love be without dissimulation [hypocrisy]. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” Romans 12:9–12.

As a matter of fact, Paul mentions patience in his writings more than all the other Bible writers put together. “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Hebrews 10:36, 37.

Paul tells us here that the kingdom of God comes with patience. We cannot rush ahead of God; we need to have patience. We might consider ourselves ready, but while He is working for the salvation of others, we need to have patience. If we are not ready to meet the Lord with peace in our hearts, we need to commit ourselves to Christ today.

Not the Only One

You are not the only one with whom Jesus is working. You are not the only one with whom the Holy Spirit is striving to bring to a knowledge of salvation. While we may be ready, there are others who are not, and it calls upon us for patience to wait for God’s timing.

Patience calls for us to wait upon the Lord to do His will. Deliverance will come; Paul says it will come with patience. In the meantime, there are things in our lives on which we need to work.

Moses Makes a Mess of Things

The Bible tells of a man who thought that he knew more than he did about the situation in which he found himself, and he did not exercise patience when he should have. It did not prove to be very healthful for some people. The children of Israel went into Egypt to keep from starving to death during a famine. Joseph made provision for them under the guidance of God, but finally Joseph died, and they were still in Egypt.

“Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” Exodus 1:8–12.

God’s plan did not provide for them to remain in bondage. So a deliverer was born—born with a destiny to free God’s children from their bondage. “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian . . . .” Exodus 2:11–15.

Moses, because of a lack of patience, made a mess of the whole plan of God. We should each ask ourselves: Am I working in the plan of God, or am I working in a frustrating, impatient way against the plan of God? Moses had every advantage, but the thing that he lacked was patience.

There is no question in my mind that Moses knew that God had something special in mind for him to help his people. There was too much connected with his life, too many providential leadings, for him not to know. But Moses was not a man who was a patient man. According to Acts 7:22, “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” Interestingly, all that wisdom, all that might in words and in deeds, all that he could do was not enough to undo what he had done through lack of patience.

Angel Ministry

“The elders of Israel were taught by angels that the time for their deliverance was near, and that Moses was the man whom God would employ to accomplish this work. Angels instructed Moses also that Jehovah had chosen him to break the bondage of His people. . . . In slaying the Egyptian, Moses had fallen into the same error so often committed by his fathers, of taking into their own hands the work that God had promised to do. It was not God’s will to deliver His people by warfare, as Moses thought . . . .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 245, 247.

Are there times when you think that God has a plan of which you are to be a part, and you are determined to do it your way? Your way may have been the way you were taught and trained and the way that you have always done it, so you think that is the way it always has to be. You might be surprised. Moses was. Moses was trained; he had all the skill and wisdom of the Egyptians. He thought he would do things his way! Lo and behold, it was not God’s way at all. Why? Because God was patient; Moses was not.


“It was not God’s will to deliver His people by warfare, as Moses thought, but by His own mighty power, that the glory might be ascribed to Him alone. Yet, even this rash act was overruled by God to accomplish His purposes. Moses was not prepared for his great work. He had yet to learn the same lesson of faith that Abraham and Jacob had been taught—not to rely upon human strength or wisdom, but upon the power of God for the fulfillment of His promises. And there were other lessons that, amid the solitude of the mountains, Moses was to receive. In the school of self-denial and hardship he was to learn patience, to temper his passions.” Ibid., 247.

Moses, at 45, was a young man in his prime. He was in the first one-third of his life. It took him almost the same amount of time, another 40 years, to unlearn what he had learned in the courts of Pharaoh.

What have you learned in the first one-third of your life? Have you been adding those virtuous graces to your character, or will you need to unlearn what you learned before? Do you wonder why things are going so slow, why things are not progressing as rapidly as they should?

Sometimes it is much more difficult to use a used ball of string than a ball of string that is new, because a used ball of string can snarl easier. If you have ever tried to unsnarl a ball of string, you know what it is like. That is your life. That is what God is trying to work through now. For Moses, who had all the skills, all the background, all the wonders of education and experience, God had to take his life and unsnarl it. God said, “Now, I will give you some sheep to herd; let that unsnarl your mind.”

Learning Patience

If there is anything that can teach a person how to be patient, it is herding sheep. Reflect back upon what God did with David and Moses and other sheepherders. What a marvelous lesson in the school of self-denial and hardship—you will learn patience, control of your temper.

During the next 40 years Moses learned patience. He learned meekness, and finally, when he had gone through a transition and change, God called him back to deliver Israel. Exodus tells the story: “And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” Exodus 4:10.

Moses did the job that the Lord had called him to do, and he was able to do the job because he had learned patience. How many of us have felt a calling to do a job for the Lord, but we find that many times we have run ahead of the Lord, that the timing just was not quite right? Do we stand back and learn the lesson that we failed to learn, to do it in God’s time? Or do we just shove ahead? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Moses stood back and learned God’s lessons.

Is God calling you to do a great work? How is your patience with your wife? How is your patience with your husband? How is your patience with your children? Do you say mean and passionate words to them? Are you in the Lord’s will? Are you in a position that will provide avenues for the Lord to use you?

If not, the Lord may have to deal with you in a way that may not at all be pleasant. The Bible says that the Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (See 2 Peter 3:9.) If you are impatient, there is no way that the Lord can take you to heaven. God forbid that we should ever reach a point, like the children of Israel of old, who, seeing they see not; hearing they hear not. (See Matthew 13:13.)

A Last Day People

The word patience is used more in the book of Revelation than in any other book of the Bible. Paul used it more, totally, but as far as books are concerned, it is used the most in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation is the book of last things, the special book that has been given to guide God’s people through the last days.

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. I get the distinct impression that unless we are able to have patience—patience that is developed through association with family, church members, jobs, business associates, the trials that come day by day—we are not keeping the commandments of God nor are we able to have the faith of Jesus.

That becomes pretty serious, does it not? The question that we need to ask ourselves then, is this: Can we afford to give vent to our impatience and to forfeit our growth in this area and lose out in the end because we have not been able to climb any higher in the ladder of character development?

God has made every provision for us to go higher. We will never be able to stand before the Lord and say, “Well, you know, it was not possible, Lord, for me to obtain patience.” Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. “I overcame impatience,” He says, “and you can, too.”

He was tempted in all points just like we are tempted, yet without sin. (See Hebrews 4:15.) He had no advantage over us—we are starting at the same place Jesus started, but He has walked the road before us, and He says, I am by your side, My grace is sufficient, you can add to your temperance, patience.

Bible Study Guides – Patience; Power of the Tongue

May 8, 2004 – May 14, 2004

Memory Verse

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” James 1:19.

Suggested Reading: The Acts of the Apostles, 464, 465; Testimonies, vol. 4, 348, 349; Christ’s Object Lessons, 335–339.


“We can have the salvation of God in our families, but we must believe for it, live for it, and have a continual, abiding faith and trust in God. We must subdue a hasty temper and control our words, and in this we shall gain great victories. Unless we control our words and temper, we are slaves to Satan. We are in subjection to him. He leads us captive. All jangling and unpleasant, impatient, fretful words are an offering presented to his satanic majesty. And it is a costly offering, more costly than any sacrifice we can make for God, for it destroys the peace and happiness of whole families, destroys health, and is eventually the cause of forfeiting an eternal life of happiness. The restraint which God’s word imposes upon us is for our own interest. It increases the happiness of our families and of all around us. It refines our taste, sanctifies our judgment, and brings peace of mind, and, in the end, everlasting life. Under this holy restraint we shall increase in grace and humility, and it will become easy to speak right. The natural, passionate temper will be held in subjection. An indwelling Saviour will strengthen us every hour.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 310.

1 What is the greatest victory any person can ever achieve? Proverbs 16:32; 14:29. Compare Proverbs 25:28.

note: “It is much easier to play the martyr than to overcome a bad temper. We must give others an example of not stopping at every trifling offense in order to vindicate our rights. We may expect that false reports will circulate about us; but if we follow a straight course, if we remain indifferent to these things, others will also be indifferent. Let us leave to God the care of our reputation. And thus, like sons and daughters of God, we shall show that we have self-control. We shall show that we are led by the Spirit of God, and that we are slow to anger.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3,1160, 1161.

2 What is said concerning those who speak impatient, hasty words? Proverbs 29:20; Ecclesiastes 7:9; James 1:19.

note: “In the use of language, there is, perhaps, no error that old and young are more ready to pass over lightly in themselves than hasty, impatient speech. They think it is a sufficient excuse to plead, ‘I was off my guard, and did not really mean what I said.’ But God’s word does not treat it lightly. . . .

“The largest share of life’s annoyances, its heartaches, its irritations, is due to uncontrolled temper. In one moment, by hasty, passionate, careless words, may be wrought evil that a whole lifetime’s repentance cannot undo. Oh, the hearts that are broken, the friends estranged, the lives wrecked, by the harsh, hasty words of those who might have brought help and healing!” Messages to Young People, 134, 135.

3 What caution is given in the Word regarding fretfulness (irritableness)? Psalm 37:8, 9, first part.

note: “Let not one word of fretfulness, harshness, or passion escape your lips. The grace of Christ awaits your demand. His Spirit will take control of your heart and conscience, presiding over your words and deeds. Never forfeit your self-respect by hasty, thoughtless words. See that your words are pure, your conversation holy. Give your children an example of that which you wish them to be. . . . Let there be peace, pleasant words, and cheerful countenances.” Child Guidance, 219.

“When tempted to murmur, censure, and indulge in fretfulness, wounding those around you, and in so doing wounding your own soul, oh! let the deep, earnest, anxious inquiry come from your soul, Shall I stand without fault before the throne of God? Only the faultless will be there. None will be translated to heaven while their hearts are filled with the rubbish of earth. Every defect in the moral character must first be remedied, every stain removed by the cleansing blood of Christ, and all the unlovely, unlovable traits of character overcome.” Maranatha, 58.

4 What is said regarding those who do not control their tongues? James 1:26.

note: “You have deceived yourself. If any man seemeth to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, that man’s religion is vain. Treat your family in a manner that Heaven can approve, and so that peace may be in your dwelling. There needs to be everything done for your family. Your children have had your bad example before them; you have blamed, and censured, and manifested a passionate spirit at home, while you would, at the same time, address the throne of grace, attend meeting, and bear testimony in favor of the truth. These exhibitions have led your children to despise you and the truth you profess. They have no confidence in your Christianity. They believe you to be a hypocrite, and it is true that you are a sadly deceived man. You can no more enter heaven without a thorough change than could Simon Magus, who thought that the Holy Ghost could be bought with money. [See Acts 8:14–24.] Your family have seen your overreaching spirit, your readiness to take advantage of others, your penurious spirit toward those with whom you sometimes deal, and they despise you for it; yet they will too surely follow in your footsteps of wrongdoing.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 86, 87.

5 What vow did David make in reference to his words? Psalm 39:1.

note: “My children, watch unto prayer, and become more and more careful in regard to your words and your deportment. ‘Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation’ (Matthew 26:41). It is poor policy to give the enemy the slightest advantage. My son, be gentlemanly, and you will strengthen your influence over those with whom you work. Never speak unadvisedly. Let your respect for yourself as Christ’s representative keep you from giving way to anger. If we respect ourselves by wearing Christ’s yoke, we shall increase our influence tenfold.” This Day With God, 70.

6 For what will each one be called to account? Matthew 12:36, 37. Why? Verse 34.

note: “The words we utter today will go on echoing when time shall be no more. The deeds done today are transferred to the books of heaven, just as the features are transferred by the artist onto the polished plate. They will determine our destiny for eternity, for bliss or eternal loss and agonizing remorse. Character cannot be changed when Christ comes, nor just as a man is about to die. Character building must be done in this life.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 429, 430.

“In the book of God’s remembrance every deed of righteousness is immortalized. There every temptation resisted, every evil overcome, every word of tender pity expressed, is faithfully chronicled. And every act of sacrifice, every suffering and sorrow endured for Christ’s sake, is recorded.” The Great Controversy, 481.

7 If able to control the tongue, what else are we able to do? James 3:2.

note: “It is the grace of God that you need in order that your thoughts may be disciplined to flow in the right channel, that the words you utter may be right words, and that your passions and appetites may be subject to the control of reason, and the tongue be bridled against levity and unhallowed censure and faultfinding. [James 3:2 quoted.] The greatest triumph given us by the religion of Christ is control over ourselves. Our natural propensities must be controlled, or we can never overcome as Christ overcame.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 235.

“I assure you that if you work in right lines, God will make your enemies to be at peace with you. He will uphold and strengthen you. Make a covenant with God that you will guard well your words. [James 3:2 quoted.] Remember that a revengeful speech never makes one feel that he has gained a victory. Let Christ speak through you. Do not lose the blessing that comes from thinking no evil.” Ibid., vol. 7, 243.

8 What evil is in the power of an unruly tongue? James 3:4–6.

note: “Some think it is a virtue to be unrestrained, and they will speak in praise of their outspoken habit of talking out disagreeable things which are in the heart. They let an angry spirit exhaust itself in a torrent of reproach and faultfinding. The more they talk, the more excited they become, and Satan stands by to help on the work, for it suits him. The words irritate the one to whom they are spoken, and they will be thrown back, giving provocation for still harder words, until a little matter has blazed into a great flame. Both of you feel that you have all the trials that you can possibly endure and that your lives are most unhappy. Resolutely commence the work of controlling your thoughts, your words, your actions. When either of you feels the rising of resentment, make it a rule to go by yourself and humbly pray to God, who will hearken to the prayer which goeth not forth from feigned lips.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 243.

9 By what comparison is the difficulty of controlling the tongue presented? James 3:7, 8.

note: “When tempted to give loose rein to the unruly member [the tongue], oh! bear in mind that the recording angel is noting every word. All are written in the book, and, unless washed away by the blood of Christ, you must meet them again. You now have a spotted record in heaven. Sincere repentance before God will be accepted. When about to speak passionately, close your mouth. Don’t utter a word. Pray before you speak, and heavenly angels will come to your assistance and drive back the evil angels, who would lead you to dishonor God, reproach His cause, and weaken your own soul.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 82.

10 What kinds of words are commended? Proverbs 15:1, 2. Compare Proverbs 31:26.

note: “Passionate words sow seeds that produce a bad crop which no one will care to garner. Our own words have an effect upon our character, but they act still more powerfully upon the characters of others. The infinite God alone can measure the mischief that is done by careless words. These words fall from our lips, and we do not perhaps mean any harm; yet they are the index of our inward thoughts, and work on the side of evil. What unhappiness has been produced by the speaking of thoughtless, unkind words in the family circle! Harsh words rankle in the mind, it may be for years, and never lose their sting. As professed Christians, we should consider the influence our words have upon those with whom we come into association, whether they are believers or unbelievers. Our words are watched, and mischief is done by thoughtless utterances. No after association with believers or unbelievers will wholly counteract the unfavorable influence of thoughtless, foolish words. Our words evidence the manner of food upon which the soul feeds.” The Youth’s Instructor, June 27, 1895.

11 What manner of conversation should characterize Christians? Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6. What kind of speech should never be indulged in? Ephesians 5:3, 4.

note: “The right culture and use of the power of speech has to do with every line of Christian work; it enters into the home life, and into all our intercourse with one another. We should accustom ourselves to speak in pleasant tones, to use pure and correct language, and words that are kind and courteous. Sweet, kind words are as dew and gentle showers to the soul. The Scripture says of Christ that grace was poured into His lips that He might ‘know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.’ Psalm 45:2; Isaiah 50:4. And the Lord bids us, ‘Let your speech be alway with grace’ (Colossians 4:6) ‘that it may minister grace unto the hearers’ (Ephesians 4:29).” Christ’s Object Lessons, 336.

“Those who profess to believe the third angel’s message often wound the cause of God by lightness, joking, and trifling. I was shown that this evil was all through our ranks. There should be a humbling before the Lord; the Israel of God should rend the heart, and not the garment. Childlike simplicity is rarely seen; the approbation of man is more thought of than the displeasure of God.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 133.

12 What is written concerning the 144,000? Revelation 14:5. Compare 1 Peter 2:21–23.

note: “Every worker should be pure in heart; in his mouth should be found no guile. . . .

“The true toilers in the Lord’s vineyard will be men of prayer, of faith, of self-denial—men who hold in restraint the natural appetites and passions. These will in their own lives give evidence of the power of the truth which they present to others; and their labors will not be without effect.” Gospel Workers, 80.

The Pen of Inspiration – In Relation with One Another

Many have borne so few burdens, their hearts have known so little real anguish, they have felt so little perplexity and distress in behalf of others, that they cannot understand the work of the true burden-bearer. No more capable are they of appreciating his burdens than is the child of understanding the care and toil of his burdened father. The child may wonder at his father’s fears and perplexities. These appear needless to him. But when years of experience shall have been added to his life, when he himself comes to bear its burdens, he will look back upon his father’s life, and understand that which was once so incomprehensible. Bitter experience has given him knowledge.

The work of many a burden-bearer is not understood, his labors are not appreciated, until death lays him low. When others take up the burdens he has laid down, and meet the difficulties he encountered, they can understand how his faith and courage were tested. Often then the mistakes they were so quick to censure are lost sight of. Experience teaches them sympathy. God permits men to be placed in positions of responsibility. When they err, He has power to correct or to remove them. We should be careful not to take into our hands the work of judging that belongs to God. . . .

The Saviour bids us, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” [Matthew 7:1, 2.] Remember that soon your life record will pass in review before God. Remember, too, that He has said, “Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: . . . for thou that judgest doest the same things.” [Romans 2:1.]

Forbearance Under Wrong

We cannot afford to let our spirits chafe over any real or supposed wrong done to ourselves. Self is the enemy we most need to fear. No form of vice has a more baleful effect upon the character than has human passion not under the control of the Holy Spirit. No other victory we can gain will be so precious as the victory gained over self.

We should not allow our feelings to be easily wounded. We are to live, not to guard our feelings or our reputation, but to save souls. As we become interested in the salvation of souls, we cease to mind the little differences that so often arise in our association with one another. Whatever others may think of us, it need not disturb our oneness with Christ, the fellowship of the Spirit. [1 Peter 2:20 quoted.]

Do not retaliate. So far as you can do so, remove all cause for misapprehension. Avoid the appearance of evil. Do all that lies in your power, without the sacrifice of principle, to conciliate others. [Matthew 5:23, 24 quoted.]

If impatient words are spoken to you, never reply in the same spirit. Remember that “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” [Proverbs 15:1.] And there is wonderful power in silence. Words spoken in reply to one who is angry sometimes serve only to exasperate; but anger met with silence, in a tender, forbearing spirit, quickly dies away.

Under a storm of stinging faultfinding words, keep the mind stayed upon the word of God. Let mind and heart be stored with God’s promises. If you are ill-treated or wrongfully accused, instead of returning an angry answer, repeat to yourself the precious promises: [Romans 12:21; Psalm 37:5, 6; Luke 12:2; Psalm 66:12 quoted].

We are prone to look to our fellow-men for sympathy and uplifting, instead of looking to Jesus. In His mercy and faithfulness, God often permits those in whom we place confidence to fail us, in order that we may learn the folly of trusting in man, and making flesh our arm. Let us trust fully, humbly, unselfishly, in God. He knows the sorrows that we feel to the depths of our being, but which we cannot express. When all things seem dark and unexplainable, remember the words of Christ, [John 13:7 quoted].

Study the history of Joseph and of Daniel. The Lord did not prevent the plottings of men who sought to do them harm; but He caused all these devices to work for good to His servants, who amid trial and conflict preserved their faith and loyalty.

So long as we are in the world, we shall meet with adverse influences. There will be provocations to test the temper; and it is by meeting these in a right spirit that the Christian graces are developed. If Christ dwells in us, we shall be patient, kind, and forbearing, cheerful amid frets and irritations. Day by day and year by year we shall conquer self, and grow into a noble heroism. This is our allotted task; but it cannot be accomplished without help from Jesus, resolute decision, unwavering purpose, continual watchfulness, and unceasing prayer. Each one has a personal battle to fight. Not even God can make our characters noble or our lives useful, unless we become co-workers with Him. Those who decline the struggle lose the strength and joy of victory.

We need not keep our own record of trials and difficulties, griefs, and sorrows. All these things are written in the books, and heaven will take care of them. While we are counting up the disagreeable things, many things that are pleasing to reflect upon are passing from memory; such as the merciful kindness of God surrounding us every moment, and the love over which angels marvel, that God gave His Son to die for us. If as workers for Christ you feel that you have had greater cares and trials than have fallen to the lot of others, remember that for you there is a peace unknown to those who shun these burdens.

There is comfort and joy in the service of Christ. Let the world see that life with Him is no failure.

If you do not feel light-hearted and joyous, do not talk of your feelings. Cast no shadow upon the lives of others. A cold, sunless religion never draws souls to Christ. It drives them away from Him, into the nets that Satan has spread for the feet of the straying. Instead of thinking of your discouragements, think of the power you can claim in Christ’s name. Let your imagination take hold upon things unseen. Let your thoughts be directed to the evidences of the great love of God for you. Faith can endure trial, resist temptation, bear up under disappointment. Jesus lives as our advocate. All is ours that His mediation secures.

Think you not that Christ values those who live wholly for Him? Think you not that He visits those who, like the beloved John in exile, are for His sake in hard and trying places? God will not suffer one of His true-hearted workers to be left alone, to struggle against great odds and be overcome. He preserves as a precious jewel every one whose life is hid with Christ in Him. Of every such one He says: “I . . . will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee.” [Haggai 2:23.]

Then talk of the promises; talk of Jesus’ willingness to bless. He does not forget us for one brief moment. When, notwithstanding disagreeable circumstances, we rest confidingly in His love and shut ourselves in with Him, the sense of His presence will inspire a deep, tranquil joy. . . . [John 8:28, 29 quoted].

Cultivate the habit of speaking well of others. Dwell upon the good qualities of those with whom you associate, and see as little as possible of their errors and failings. When tempted to complain of what some one has said or done, praise something in that person’s life or character. Cultivate thankfulness. Praise God for His wonderful love in giving Christ to die for us. It never pays to think of our grievances. God calls upon us to think of His mercy and His matchless love, that we may be inspired with praise.

Earnest workers have no time for dwelling upon the faults of others. We cannot afford to live on the husks of others’ faults or failings. Evil-speaking is a twofold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife, reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. The very act of looking for evil in others develops evil in those who look. By dwelling upon the faults of others, we are changed into the same image. But by beholding Jesus, talking of His love and perfection of character, we become changed into His image. By contemplating the lofty ideal He has placed before us, we shall be uplifted into a pure and holy atmosphere, even the presence of God. When we abide here, there goes forth from us a light that irradiates all who are connected with us.

Instead of criticizing and condemning others, say, “I must work out my own salvation. If I co-operate with Him who desires to save my soul, I must watch myself diligently. I must put away every evil from my life. I must overcome every fault. I must become a new creature in Christ. Then, instead of weakening those who are striving against evil, I can strengthen them by encouraging words.”

We are too indifferent in regard to one another. Too often we forget that our fellow-laborers are in need of strength and cheer. Take care to assure them of your interest and sympathy. Help them by your prayers, and let them know that you do it.

All who profess to be children of God should bear in mind that as missionaries they will be brought into contact with all classes of minds. There are the refined and the coarse, the humble and the proud, the religious and the skeptical, the educated and the ignorant, the rich and the poor. These varied minds cannot be treated alike; yet all need kindness and sympathy. By mutual contact our minds should receive polish and refinement. We are dependent upon one another, closely bound together by the ties of human brotherhood. . . .

It is through the social relations that Christianity comes in contact with the world. Every man or woman who has received the divine illumination is to shed light on the dark pathway of those who are unacquainted with the better way. Social power, sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, must be improved in bringing souls to the Saviour. Christ is not to be hid away in the heart as a coveted treasure, sacred and sweet, to be enjoyed solely by the possessor. We are to have Christ in us as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, refreshing all who come in contact with us.

Gospel Workers, 473–480.

Learning to Walk With God, Part IV

Remember that obedience to all of God’s holy laws and adherence to His divine will in all things must be combined with our faith; for, say the Scriptures, “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:20. Therefore, besides trusting in God’s mercy, love, and divine presence, we also need to follow Christ by constantly communing with God and decisively obeying His holy Word. Only thus can we truly become heroes for God. Then God will walk and talk with us as He did with Enoch. Hence, we are told: “Enoch’s walk with God was not in a trance or a vision, but in all the duties of his daily life.” Gospel Workers, 51.

If we, like Enoch, are prayerful and faithful in all our duties of life, the Lord will work for us much more than we have ever seen Him work for us in the past. We need to believe that we are not alone, that Christ is at our side through every trial, every test, every challenge, every duty, and every circumstance in life. We must see Him with us at all times by utilizing our spiritual eyes or the eyes of faith. This makes communing with Him easier.

But, like Enoch, we, too, must faithfully do all our duties and strive to obey God’s will. Otherwise, keeping a vision of the Lord’s presence with us would be useless. If we, however, visualize the Lord with us and endeavor to use this vision to help us to constantly commune with Him and trust in Him, we will quickly learn that a sense of God’s presence will actually strengthen and encourage us to make firm decisions and earnest efforts to obey God.


The children of God have often gained victories simply because they envisioned something in their mind’s eye that others did not see. Therefore, we need to use our imaginations. God has given them to us for a good purpose. The imagination can help, as well as it can hinder. But we must believe that no matter what problem we face, it is never too big for God. The reason the Lord destroyed the antediluvians was because “Every imagination of the thoughts of [their] heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. They used their imaginations for the wrong reason. However, if God’s Word is telling us what is happening around us, that we are not alone, then we have to see this truth in our mind’s eye or in our imaginations, and make it a part of our lives. This will make a big difference in how we face life. We must now teach ourselves and our children to use our imaginations wisely before the end-time crisis comes. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18.

Doing Away with Worry and Sin

Sometimes we wonder what lessons can be taught to our children when we share different Bible stories with them. One of the best lessons we can impart to the minds of children, and even imprint upon our own minds, is the lesson that they (and we) are not alone. This lesson will affect every phase of their (and our) lives thereafter.

When we consider different incidents in the Bible where men of God gained victories because they believed that God was with them, we usually find that our faith is strengthened. We begin to believe that we, too, can become conquerors and champions for God. We begin to realize that many who went before us also encountered problems and temptations, and through much prayer and faith they overcame. Let us remember that frustration and worry are supposed to be strange and foreign for true children of God, and sinning is supposed to be a dying habit or a passing experience for all Christians.

“Many who profess to be Christ’s followers have an anxious, troubled heart because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete surrender to Him, for they shrink from the consequences that such a surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender they cannot find peace.” The Ministry of Healing, 480, 481.

Sometimes we do not want to remember that God is watching us all the time. Usually the reason is because we want more freedom to do our own thing. We want to be free from God. So our imaginations are filled with the thought that we are alone; we are free—free from God. But when we come up against a real challenge and we need the Good Shepherd to be with us, we then have problems remembering Him and trusting in Him. That is why we often see our challenges so huge in front of us. This, of course, is our fault. We have left God out of our thoughts too much. This we have done for our own selfish reasons, and now when we are confronted with trials and tests, we lack confidence in the thought that God is with us. We believe that we are alone. Thus, we find no peace. None can deny that this defeating and self-destroying practice needs to be changed.

We must know what we really want: do we really want to serve God, or are we trying to serve God and mammon? We have to decide! If we decide we want to serve God and to be all for Him, there can be no room for conveniently leaving God out of anything in our lives. We must ever keep God in our thoughts. Thus, when faced with challenges, we will pray and have one thought standing out boldly, clearly, firmly, and strongly, and that is, “I am not alone.” Such a person cannot fail.

Jesus did not say or do anything He did not want His Father to hear or to see. As a result, He constantly communed with God and trusted Him. Thus, when up against challenges, He was assured of His Father’s help. His heart was fixed on the thought that He was not alone, that His Father was with Him. Likewise, all God’s children need to have the mind of Christ: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5.

God Will Provide

“There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because they seek to reach the world’s standard. They have chosen its service, accepted its perplexities, adopted its customs. Thus their character is marred and their life made a weariness. The continual worry is wearing out the life forces. Our Lord desires them to lay aside this yoke of bondage. He invites them to accept His yoke; He says, ‘My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ Worry is blind and cannot discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way pre¬pared to bring relief. ‘No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.’ Matthew 11:30; Psalm 84:11.

“Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish and a plain path before their feet.

“The faithful discharge of today’s duties is the best preparation for tomorrow’s trials. Do not gather together all tomorrow’s liabilities and cares and add them to the burden of today. ‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’ Matthew 6:34.

“Let us be hopeful and courageous. Despondency in God’s service is sinful and unreasonable. He knows our every necessity. To the omnipotence of the King of kings our covenant-keeping God unites the gentleness and care of the tender shepherd. His power is absolute, and it is the pledge of the sure fulfillment of His promises to all who trust in Him. He has means for the removal of every difficulty, that those who serve Him and respect the means He employs may be sustained. His love is as far above all other love as the heavens are above the earth. He watches over His children with a love that is measureless and everlasting.

“In the darkest days, when appearances seem most forbidding, have faith in God. He is working out His will, doing all things well in behalf of His people. The strength of those who love and serve Him will be renewed day by day.” Ibid., 481, 482. [Emphasis added.]

We must learn what it means to have faith in God. Despite our circumstances, we must believe that when we are striving to do God’s will, He is on our side to protect and defend us, and to grant us the victory over all things. We must realize that everything that comes our way is carefully scrutinized by the Lord ahead of time, and that He does not permit anything (good or evil) to come our way unless He Himself is near and available to provide His strength and support. Thus, difficulties, including those that threaten our happiness or even our lives, are seen as blessings by the true and mature saints of God, those who, like Enoch, learn to walk with God.

For Our Good

“Each fiery trial is God’s agent for their [Christ’s followers] refining. Each is fitting them for their work as colaborers with Him. Each conflict has its place in the great battle for righteousness, and each will add to the joy of their final triumph. Having this in view, the test of their faith and patience will be cheerfully accepted rather than dreaded and avoided.” The Desire of Ages, 306.

Like the three Hebrew youth who were placed in the fiery furnace in Babylon (Daniel 3:19–27), we, too, must learn to accept that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. That is, we must learn to believe that “all things” (whether positive or negative) are really for our good and will always turn out in our favor in the end. Like these three champions of God, Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego, we, too, must become fully conscious of the fact that we have at our side “the form” of One “like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:25.

Indeed, the experience of all true Christians is that we are not alone. Like the psalmist David, we, too, can bravely say: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. . . . Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1, 4.

There is no need for us to worry about anything; instead there is a great need for us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10. We must always remember that “without faith it is impossible to please [God].” Hebrews 11:6. Therefore, we must trust in God and believe that He will always bless us in the end as we strive to do His will; we must believe that all our prayers will eventually be answered. Remember that worry and sin will surely deny us of the presence and blessings that only God can give. Surely, none of us can afford to be without divine help and strength or any of God’s appointed privileges and gifts. Therefore, no true Christian today should fail to learn exactly what it means to walk with God, as did faithful Enoch.

Our Source of Wisdom and Peace

Many feel that they are not equipped to do the Master’s bidding. Many times we hear of individuals saying that they just do not have what it takes to minister unto others. We also hear of those who claim that they do not know what to do when faced with different tasks and of those who say that they do not know how to carry out the will of God. Yet we are told that wisdom is a virtue that none should lack. The Scriptures say: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5–8.

Wisdom (which comes from God) provides us with a sense of confidence, assurance, and peace. Such beautiful benefits can only come from God. Our heavenly Father has designed different means whereby His children can acquire this virtuous gift: a true and accurate knowledge of God’s Word, divinely-appointed experience, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Since “wisdom is the principal thing” and “happy is the man that findeth wisdom,” it is the Master’s will that all His children be wise. Proverbs 4:7; 3:13. Thus, we read: “He is able and willing to bestow upon His servants all the help they need. He will give them the wisdom which their varied necessities demand.

“Said the tried apostle Paul: ‘He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take plea¬sure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.’ 11 Corinthians 12:9, 10.” Ibid., 482. [Emphasis added.]

God’s grace is sufficient for us; however, to really benefit from such abundant grace, we must constantly commune with God and ever keep Him close to us. We must, like Enoch, walk with God. Thus, we can be assured, not only of perfect wisdom, but also of perfect peace. Note: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3. [Emphasis added.]

Let us take the time to memorize this verse. It has become very important to me. I have found in my own experience that this verse is quite beneficial and encouraging from day to day. Furthermore, since I know that this verse was not recorded in God’s Word just for me, I believe that many others can benefit from it today and in the future, if they, too, will recall it to mind frequently.

Perfect Peace

Let us consider the words, “perfect peace.” Do you know what is perfect peace? It is peace without flaw or reservation. This, of course, seems foreign to the inhabitants of this sinful, violent world. Unfortunately, it also is foreign to some professed Christians. Yes, we may feel somewhat okay, but a little anxiety is still present, a little bit of fear. We are not too sure of ourselves or of our situation, yet we may say that we are okay. God, however, is saying that He wants to give all of us “perfect peace.” He wants to give us this gift in this life, and not just in the life to come.

Perfect peace means no uncertainty at all; it is a state of perfect assurance. This blessing is available and possible to all who keep their minds “stayed” on the Lord (Isaiah 26:3); that is, to all who maintain within their minds a sense of God’s presence, those who constantly talk to God and trust in Him. Even though such individuals may be confronted with trials and tests, instead of seeing the problem by itself, they see the Lord either in front of it, behind it, at the side of it, or surrounding it. In other words, they truly believe that God is in control. Such persons do not see things just isolated or by themselves, for they strongly believe that they are not alone and that they never have to handle anything by themselves. It is not just they and the problem anymore; it is they and the Lord, plus the problem, which they talk to God about as soon as it arises. Such Christians have learned how to truly walk with God!

Furthermore, these children of perfect peace are doers of God’s Word. In the strength of the Lord they struggle to gain the victory over sin and Satan. They see that God’s presence in their lives is for a purpose. He is there to help them in their battle to overcome sin and sinfulness in every form, be it in the form of the devil, the world, or the flesh.

This is the kind of outlook God is trying to get us to develop by allowing us to have problems. If we do not have difficulties and challenges, we will not learn how to include this new thought in our carnal minds. We were born with a mind devoid of God; it does not think about God; it does not know God; it is separated from Him; and it must learn to include Him. So the challenges in life are for us to learn and to practice putting Him into every picture we see in our minds.

Minds on the Lord

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.” Isaiah 26:3. [Emphasis added.]

According to this verse, this experience of “perfect peace” is obtained only if our minds are “stayed” on the Lord. This view of abiding in Christ, or allowing our minds to dwell on heavenly and holy things, must not be allowed to die out for convenience sake, but we must strive to keep these things within our hearts at all times and under all circumstances of life, good and bad alike.

Joseph’s mind stayed on God, even when the carnal nature may have wanted to say, “Let me forget God for now; I can bring Him back in my thoughts afterwards.” Instead, his mind was stayed on the Lord even when his emotions or passions were under attack, whether from the wickedness of his brothers or from the seductive attempts of Potiphar’s wife. Said he while under the test of the latter circumstance, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9.

Enoch, Elijah, Moses, Luther, Joseph, Peter, Paul, and many others continually communed with God and maintained a sense of His presence. This protected them from sinning and kept them steadfast in the Lord during their trials. These men of God not only pictured the Lord in their minds and trusted in His mighty power, they also prayed continually for help and cooperated with Him in resisting sin. In return for their prayerfulness, faith, and efforts, God gave them the victory over every temptation and sin.
These men believed that this Almighty Being they saw in their mind’s eye or thoughts was going to help them, and give them wisdom and victory. In this way, God was not just a notion or a fantasy to them; He was a real person with character and purpose.
To all His children He is there to help. He loves us with an everlasting love; He cares for us; He is all powerful, and nothing can withstand Him. This is He with whom we must commune, trust, and see in our mind’s eye.

It is my prayer that we will truly experience what it means to walk with God. Let us therefore develop the mind of Christ, the mind of patri¬archs, prophets, apostles, reformers, and the saints of old. It is a mind of truth and trust that qualifies men of ancient and modern times to be described as champions of truth. May we, too, see and believe with all our hearts that the Lord is with us, morning, noon, and night—every second, every minute, every hour of every day.

We need to encourage continual prayerfulness, trust, and the precious thought that God is with us. May we implement this practice in our lives from this day forward. Then more and more we will see how God makes every problem diminish or disappear when we place it in the Master’s hands. Yes, may we truly believe with all our hearts that because of God’s abundant grace and love for us, we are not alone. Like Enoch, we, too, must not see ourselves alone amidst the duties and challenges of life, but instead we must always walk with God.

Fellow Christians, let us walk with God by praying constantly and resting in the sure promise of our beloved Saviour, Jesus Christ: “And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20.

Pastor Patrick Herbert is the senior pastor of the Tucker-Norcross Adventist Church and Director of the Gilead Institute of America, a medical missionary evangelistic training institution located in Norcross, Georgia. He holds a Doctorate in religion and speaks and writes on a wide range of religious and health topics. He may be contacted by e-mail at:

Biographical Blessings – The Patience of Job

April 14 – 20, 2019

Key Text

“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job” (James 5:11, first part).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 341–348.


“He [God] permitted trials to come upon you, that, through them, you might experience the peaceable fruits of righteousness.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 416.



  • Being human, how did Job feel about his predicament? Job 3:1–3, 9–11, 20–22.
  • What should we all consider in hard times? Job 5:17–19.

Note: “The very time to exercise faith is when we feel destitute of the Spirit. When thick clouds of darkness seem to hover over the mind, then is the time to let living faith pierce the darkness and scatter the clouds.” Early Writings, 72.

“To every stricken one, Jesus comes with the ministry of healing. The life of bereavement, pain, and suffering may be brightened by precious revealings of His presence.

“God would not have us remain pressed down by dumb sorrow, with sore and breaking hearts. He would have us look up and behold His dear face of love. The blessed Saviour stands by many whose eyes are so blinded by tears that they do not discern Him. He longs to clasp our hands, to have us look to Him in simple faith, permitting Him to guide us. His heart is open to our griefs, our sorrows, and our trials. He has loved us with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness compassed us about. We may keep the heart stayed upon Him and meditate upon His loving-kindness all the day. He will lift the soul above the daily sorrow and perplexity, into a realm of peace.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 12.



  •  Why did Job seek to search his heart? Proverbs 26:2; Job 9:1–4; 10:1, 2.

Note: “To a great degree the experiences of life are the fruition of our own thoughts and deeds.” Education, 146.

  • When we fall into unexpected suffering, why is it wise for us to follow Job’s example of self-examination? 2 Corinthians 13:5; Psalm 139:23, 24.

Note: “If each will search and see what sins are lurking in his own heart to shut out Jesus, he will find such a work to do that he will be ready to esteem others better than himself. He will no longer seek to pluck the mote out of his brother’s eye while a beam is in his own eye.” Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 213.

  • Why does Jesus warn us against being quick to judge the cause of others’ afflictions? Luke 13:1–5.
  • What was Job’s response when friends misjudged his affliction? Job 16:1–3.

Note: “Still another element of bitterness was added to his [Job’s] cup. His friends, seeing in adversity but the retribution of sin, pressed on his bruised and burdened spirit their accusations of wrongdoing.” Education, 155.

“There is wickedness in our world, but all the suffering is not the result of a perverted course of life. Job is brought distinctly before us as a man whom the Lord allowed Satan to afflict. The enemy stripped him of all he possessed; his family ties were broken; his children were taken from him. For a time his body was covered with loathsome sores, and he suffered greatly. His friends came to comfort him, but they tried to make him see that he was responsible, by his sinful course, for his afflictions. … By seeking to make him guilty before God, and deserving of His punishment, they brought a grievous test upon him, and represented God in a false light.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1140.



  • What should we learn from Job’s attitude toward his friends? Job 16:4, 5.

Note: “Let no Christian be found an accuser of the brethren. Satan is the one who bears this title; he accuses them before God day and night, he stirs up the enemies of our faith to accuse us, and he prompts those of like precious faith to criticize and condemn one another. We are not to take part in his work. These are days of trial and of great peril, the adversary of souls is upon the track of every one; and while we stand out separate from the world, we should press together in faith and love. United, we are strong; divided, we are weak.

“We are exhorted to love as brethren, to be kind, courteous, forbearing, in honor preferring one another.” Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 213, 214.

  • How are we, like the psalmist, to be comforted when no human understands nor sympathizes with our pain or sorrow? Psalm 27:10; 73:25, 26.

Note: “Into the experience of all there come times of keen disappointment and utter discouragement—days when sorrow is the portion, and it is hard to believe that God is still the kind benefactor of His earthborn children; days when troubles harass the soul, till death seems preferable to life. It is then that many lose their hold on God and are brought into the slavery of doubt, the bondage of unbelief. Could we at such times discern with spiritual insight the meaning of God’s providences we should see angels seeking to save us from ourselves, striving to plant our feet upon a foundation more firm than the everlasting hills, and new faith, new life, would spring into being.” Prophets and Kings, 162.

“While we review, not the dark chapters in our experience, but the manifestations of God’s great mercy and unfailing love, we shall praise far more than complain. We shall talk of the loving faithfulness of God as the true, tender, compassionate shepherd of His flock, which He has declared that none shall pluck out of His hand. The language of the heart will not be selfish murmuring and repining. Praise, like clear-flowing streams, will come from God’s truly believing ones.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 367.



  • What perspective helps us develop patience in trial? James 5:10; Lamentations 3:31–33.

Note: “Life is disciplinary. While in the world, the Christian will meet with adverse influences. There will be provocations to test the temper; and it is by meeting these in a right spirit that the Christian graces are developed. If injuries and insults are meekly borne, if insulting words are responded to by gentle answers, and oppressive acts by kindness, this is evidence that the Spirit of Christ dwells in the heart, that sap from the living Vine is flowing to the branches. We are in the school of Christ in this life, where we are to learn to be meek and lowly of heart; and in the day of final accounts we shall see that all the obstacles we meet, all the hardships and annoyances that we are called to bear, are practical lessons in the application of principles of Christian life. If well endured, they develop the Christlike in the character and distinguish the Christian from the worldling.

“There is a high standard to which we are to attain if we would be children of God, noble, pure, holy, and undefiled; and a pruning process is necessary if we would reach this standard. How would this pruning be accomplished if there were no difficulties to meet, no obstacles to surmount, nothing to call out patience and endurance? These trials are not the smallest blessings in our experience. They are designed to nerve us to determination to succeed. We are to use them as God’s means to gain decided victories over self instead of allowing them to hinder, oppress, and destroy us.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 344, 345.

  • How does Scripture connect trials with patience? Romans 5:3, 4.

Note: “The Lord frequently places us in difficult positions to stimulate us to greater exertion. In His providence special annoyances sometimes occur to test our patience and faith. God gives us lessons of trust. He would teach us where to look for help and strength in time of need. Thus we obtain practical knowledge of His divine will, which we so much need in our life experience. Faith grows strong in earnest conflict with doubt and fear.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 116, 117.



  • Why are today’s trials essential for the conflict ahead? Zechariah 13:9.

Note: “God’s love for His children during the period of their severest trial is as strong and tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed, that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.

“The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. … Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God.

“We should now acquaint ourselves with God by proving His promises. Angels record every prayer that is earnest and sincere. We should rather dispense with selfish gratifications than neglect communion with God. The deepest poverty, the greatest self-denial, with His approval, is better than riches, honors, ease, and friendship without it. We must take time to pray. If we allow our minds to be absorbed by worldly interests, the Lord may give us time by removing from us our idols of gold, of houses, or of fertile lands.” The Great Controversy, 621, 622.



1     Where is God when people such as Job are suffering?

2    How might I be guilty of the error of Job’s friends?

3    What should we do when there seems to be no answer to our suffering?

4    How do our trials develop patience?

5    Describe the type of experience we need in preparation for the final events.

Bible Study Guides – Patience

September 28, 2008 – October 4, 2008

Key Text

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:36.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 723–739.


“Patience pours the balm of peace and love into the experiences of the home life. … Patience will seek for unity in the church, in the family, and in the community. This grace must be woven into our lives.” The Review and Herald, February 21, 1888.

1 Why does temperance precede patience? II Peter 1:6.

Note: “Any habit or practice which will weaken the nerve and brain power or the physical strength disqualifies for the exercise of the next grace which comes in after temperance—patience.” Our High Calling, 69.

“It is next to an impossibility for an intemperate person to be patient.

“Some of us have a nervous temperament, and are naturally as quick as a flash to think and to act; but let no one think that he cannot learn to become patient. Patience is a plant that will make rapid growth if carefully cultivated.” My Life Today, 97.

“When we lie down to rest, the stomach should have its work all done, that it, as well as the other organs of the body, may enjoy rest. For persons of sedentary habits, late suppers are particularly harmful. With them the disturbance created is often the beginning of disease that ends in death.

“In many cases the faintness that leads to a desire for food is felt because the digestive organs have been too severely taxed during the day. After disposing of one meal, the digestive organs need rest. At least five or six hours should intervene between the meals, and most persons who give the plan a trial will find that two meals a day are better than three.” The Ministry of Healing, 304.

2 How can temperance help children develop sweet tempers? Proverbs 22:6.

Note: “The first education children should receive from the mother in infancy, should be in regard to their physical health. They should be allowed only plain food, of that quality that would preserve to them the best condition of health, and that should be partaken of only at regular periods, not oftener than three times a day, and two meals would be better than three. If children are disciplined aright, they will soon learn that they can receive nothing by crying or fretting. A judicious mother will act in training her children, not merely in regard to her own present comfort, but for their future good.” A Solemn Appeal, 137.

3 What did Sister White confirm in her own experience with helping various children in her home? I Corinthians 10:31.

Note: “For more than twelve years we have taken only two meals each day, of plain, unstimulating food. During that time, we have had almost constantly the care of children, varying in age from three to thirteen years. We worked gradually and carefully to change their habit of eating three times a day to two; we also worked cautiously to change their diet from stimulating food, as meat, rich gravies, pies, cakes, butter, spices, etc., to simple, wholesome fruits, vegetables, and grains. The consequence has been that our children have not been troubled with the various maladies to which children are more or less subject. They occasionally take cold by reason of carelessness, but this seldom makes them sick.” The Health Reformer, May 1, 1877.

“Children reared in this way are much more easily controlled than those who are indulged in eating everything their appetite craves, and at all times. They are usually cheerful, contented, and healthy. Even the most stubborn, passionate, and wayward, have become submissive, patient, and possessed of self-control by persistently following up this order of diet, united with a firm but kind management in regard to other matters.” The Health Reformer, May 1, 1877.

4 What did God say about Job’s character? Job 1:1, 8.

5 What should we learn from Job’s reaction to Satan’s first devastating attack against his children and properties? Job 1:13–22.

Note: “Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer.” Counsels on Health, 460.

6 Having destroyed Job’s children and their possessions, how did Satan further try to discourage the patriarch? Job 2:3–8.

Note: “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.” Job 1:12. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he [is] in thine hand; but save his life.” Job 2:6.

“Thus permitted, Satan swept away all that Job possessed—flocks and herds, menservants and maidens, sons and daughters; and he ‘smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown’ Job 1:8-12; 2:5-7.” Education, 155.

7 What did Job’s wife suggest he should do and what was his response? Job 2:9, 10.

Note: “Job was deprived of his worldly possessions, and so afflicted in body that he was abhorred by his relatives and friends; yet he maintained his integrity.” The Acts of the Apostles, 575.

8 How does Isaiah’s prophecy describe Christ’s attitude before His enemies? Isaiah 53:7. What should we learn from the way this prophecy was fulfilled? Mark 14:60–62.

9 What was Christ’s procedure before Pilate’s and Herod’s courts? Matthew 27:11–14; Luke 23:6–9.

Note: “Standing behind Pilate, in view of all in the court, Christ heard the abuse; but to all the false charges against Him He answered not a word. His whole bearing gave evidence of conscious innocence. He stood unmoved by the fury of the waves that beat about Him. It was as if the heavy surges of wrath, rising higher and higher, like the waves of the boisterous ocean, broke about Him, but did not touch Him. He stood silent, but His silence was eloquence. It was as a light shining from the inner to the outer man.

“Pilate was astonished at His bearing.” The Desire of Ages, 726.

10 How did Christ react during His crucifixion? Luke 23:33–47.

Note: “Arriving at the place of execution, the prisoners were bound to the instruments of torture. The two thieves wrestled in the hands of those who placed them on the cross; but Jesus made no resistance. The mother of Jesus, supported by John the beloved disciple, had followed the steps of her Son to Calvary. She had seen Him fainting under the burden of the cross, and had longed to place a supporting hand beneath His wounded head, and to bathe that brow which had once been pillowed upon her bosom. But she was not permitted this mournful privilege. …

“The Saviour made no murmur of complaint. His face remained calm and serene, but great drops of sweat stood upon His brow. There was no pitying hand to wipe the death dew from His face, nor words of sympathy and unchanging fidelity to stay His human heart. While the soldiers were doing their fearful work, Jesus prayed for His enemies, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ [Luke 23:34.] His mind passed from His own suffering to the sin of His persecutors, and the terrible retribution that would be theirs. No curses were called down upon the soldiers who were handling Him so roughly. No vengeance was invoked upon the priests and rulers, who were gloating over the accomplishment of their purpose. Christ pitied them in their ignorance and guilt. He breathed only a plea for their forgiveness,—‘for they know not what they do.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 744.

11 What is the only way we can develop patience? Romans 5:1–5.

Note: “All who stand unshrinkingly in the forefront of the battle must feel the special warfare of Satan against them. As they realize his attacks, they will flee to the Stronghold. They feel their need of special strength from God, and they labor in His strength; therefore the victories they gain do not exalt them, but lead them in faith to lean more securely upon the Mighty One. Deep and fervent gratitude to God is awakened in their hearts, and they are joyful in the tribulation which they experience while pressed by the enemy. These willing servants are gaining an experience and forming a character which will do honor to the cause of God.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 510.

12 How does patience promote our missionary efforts? II Corinthians 6:3–10.

Note: “Patience as well as courage has its victories. By meekness under trial, no less than by boldness in enterprise, souls may be won to Christ. The Christian who manifests patience and cheerfulness under bereavement and suffering, who meets even death itself with the peace and calmness of an unwavering faith, may accomplish for the gospel more than he could have effected by a long life of faithful labor.” The Acts of the Apostles, 465.

13 What is one identification of God’s remnant people? Revelation 14:12.

Additional Reading

“The Saviour’s manner of dealing with Peter had a lesson for him and his brethren. Although Peter had denied his Lord, the love which Jesus bore him had never faltered. And as the apostle should take up the work of ministering the word to others, he was to meet the transgressor with patience, sympathy, and forgiving love. Remembering his own weakness and failure, he was to deal with the sheep and lambs committed to his care as tenderly as Christ had dealt with him.” The Acts of the Apostles, 516.

“In the life of the disciple John true sanctification is exemplified. During the years of his close association with Christ, he was often warned and cautioned by the Saviour; and these reproofs he accepted. As the character of the Divine One was manifested to him, John saw his own deficiencies, and was humbled by the revelation. Day by day, in contrast with his own violent spirit, he beheld the tenderness and forbearance of Jesus, and heard His lessons of humility and patience. Day by day his heart was drawn out to Christ, until he lost sight of self in love for his Master. The power and tenderness, the majesty and meekness, the strength and patience, that he saw in the daily life of the Son of God, filled his soul with admiration. He yielded his resentful, ambitious temper to the molding power of Christ, and divine love wrought in him a transformation of character.” The Acts of the Apostles, 557.

“All should cultivate patience by practicing patience. By being kind and forbearing, true love may be kept warm in the heart, and qualities will be developed that Heaven will approve.” The Adventist Home, 106.

“Do not, I beg of you, correct your children in anger. That is the time of all times when you should act with humility and patience and prayer. Then is the time to kneel down with the children and ask the Lord for pardon. Seek to win them to Christ by the manifestation of kindness and love, and you will see that a higher power than that of earth is co-operating with your efforts.” Child Guidance, 245, 246.

“And he brings forth fruit with patience. [Luke 8:15.] None who receive God’s word are exempt from difficulty and trial; but when affliction comes, the true Christian does not become restless, distrustful, or despondent. Though we cannot see the definite outcome of affairs, or discern the purpose of God’s providences, we are not to cast away our confidence. Remembering the tender mercies of the Lord, we should cast our care upon Him, and with patience wait for His salvation.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 60, 61.

“I pray the Lord that you may understand this subject in its length and breadth and depth, and that you may feel your responsibility to represent the character of Christ by patience, by courage, and by steadfast integrity. ‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:7, R. V.—Testimonies, vol. 6, 320.” Colporteur Ministry, 80.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

The Passing of the Time

The tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish year of 1844, came and passed, and left impressions upon the minds of believers not easily effaced; and although a quarter of a century has passed since that memorable period, yet that work has not lost its interest and force upon the minds of those who participated in it. Even now, when one who shared in that blessed work, and who feels its hallowed influence rekindling upon his mind—if in obedience to the injunction of the apostle when he says, “Call to remembrance the former days in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions, partly whilst ye were made a gazing stock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.”—shall speak of that solemn work, of that consecration of all, made in full view of eternal scenes, and of that sweet peace and holy joy which filled the minds of the waiting ones, his words will not fail to touch the feelings of all who shared the blessings of that work and have held fast.

And those who participated in that movement are not the only ones who can now go back in their experience, and feast upon the faith-reviving, soul-inspiring realities of the past. Those who have since embraced the Advent faith and hope, and who have seen in the three messages, of Revelation 14, the past consecration and blessedness, the present work of preparation, and the future glory, may go back with us to the autumn of 1844, and with us share the rekindling of the heavenly illumination. Was that our Jerusalem, where we waited for, and enjoyed, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Then as all Christians, as well as Christ’s first disciples who were present on the occasion, looked back to the day of Pentecost with pleasure and profit, so may these who have embraced the doctrine of the Second Advent since the memorable seventh-month movement, look back to that period with all that interest those can who participated in it.

The impressions made and left upon the minds of believers were deep and lasting. However far one has since departed from God and his truth, there still remains upon the soul of the apostate traces of the work. Let him hear the subject afresh; let the simple facts be again brought before his mind, and he will feel upon this subject as he can feel upon no other. And those who took part in that work, who are far backslidden from God, yet cherish regard for the word of God and Christian experience, will yet feel deeply over this subject, and the faith of many of them will be resurrected to new life. God grant that these pages may prove a blessing to many such.

The disappointment at the passing of the time was a bitter one. True believers had given up all for Christ, and had shared His presence as never before. They had, as they supposed, given their last warning to the world, and had separated themselves, more or less, from the unbelieving, scoffing multitude. And with the divine blessing upon them, they felt more like associating with their soon-expected Master and the holy angels, than with those from whom they had separated themselves. The love of Jesus filled every soul, and beamed from every face, and with inexpressible desires they prayed, “Come Lord Jesus, and come quickly.” But He did not come. And now to turn again to the cares, perplexities, and dangers of life, in full view of the jeers and revilings of unbelievers who now scoffed as never before, was a terrible trial of faith and patience. When Elder Himes visited Portland, ME, a few days after the passing of the time, and stated that the brethren should prepare for another cold winter, my feelings were almost uncontrollable. I left the place of meeting and wept like a child.

But God did not forsake His people. His Spirit upon them still abode, with all who did not rashly deny and denounce the good work in the Advent movement up to that time. And with especial force and comfort did such passages as the following, to the Hebrews, come home to the minds and hearts of the tried, waiting ones: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:35–39. The points of interest in this portion of Scripture are—

Those addressed are in danger of casting away their confidence in that in which they had done right.

They had done the will of God, and were brought into that state of trial where patience was necessary.

The just at this time are to live by faith, not by doubting whether they had done the will of God, but faith, in that in which they had done the will of God.

Those who should not endure the trial of faith, but should cast away their confidence in the work in which they did the will of God, and draw back, would take the direct road to perdition.

But why apply all this to the subject of the second advent? Answer: Because Paul applies it there. His words, in the very center of the foregoing quotation from his epistle to the Hebrews, forbid any other application: “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” No one will for a moment question that the second advent is the subject upon which the apostle treats. The peculiar situation of those who should be looking for the second appearing of Jesus, is the burden of his exhortation. And how wonderfully applicable to those who were sadly disappointed, tempted and tried, in the autumn of 1844, are his words. With great confidence had they proclaimed the coming of the Lord, with the assurance that they were doing the will of God. But as the time passed, they were brought into a position exceedingly trying to the faith and patience. Hence the words of Paul to them, just then, and just there. “Cast not away therefore your confidence . . . Ye have need of patience . . . Ye have done the will of God.” To the decision of the apostle every true Adventist, who tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, in the movement of 1844, will respond, Amen.

But how fearful the words which follow: “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” As Adventists have came up to the point of expectation in the blazing light of unsealed prophecy, and the rapidly-fulfilling signs that Christ’s coming was at the doors, they walked, as it were, by sight. But now they stand with disappointed hopes, and stricken hearts, and live by faith in the sure word, and the work of God in their Second-Advent experience. With these who hold fast, God is well pleased; but in those who draw back He has no pleasure. These believe to the saving of the soul; while those who become impatient, cast away their confidence in the way God has led them, and give it up as the work of man, or of Satan, and draw back to perdition.

This and many other portions of Scripture of like import, having a direct application to the condition of believers at that time, served not only as an encouragement to them to hold fast their faith, but as a warning to them not to apostatize. And a general impression remained upon the minds of the believers for some time after the disappointment, that the seventh-month movement was in the direct providence of God, and that those who had been engaged in this work and done His will.


The Patience of Christ

There are various reasons given for the apparent delay of the second return of Jesus.

Justifiably, most if not all reasons given may very well be correct. However, I would like to highlight one most important reason that could very well be the reason of all reasons why Jesus has not returned. So just to make us think a little I would ask, What is Jesus waiting for to return to this earth? Will He wait forever? Some Christians constantly say they need time to change or to give up sin. How does this attitude influence the return of Jesus or the individual’s salvation? This waiting attitude of Christ as a question forms the substance of this message!

In reference to Christianity in general and more specifically as a religion, Jesus Christ the founder has been looking for a revelation, a demonstration of something from its inception, and might I say for well over two thousand years. He has been waiting, expecting, anxiously looking for, but He has been grossly disappointed. What is He waiting and looking for with great longing?

The Nature of the Problem and the Problem

Jesus identifies the problem and spells out its nature in His address to the end time church—Laodicea. We read of this in the last book of the Holy Scriptures. “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:14–17.

He provides the solution as recorded: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Revelation 3:18–21.

The Laodicean message is for Seventh day Adventists—God’s servant in Manuscript 33, 1894, puts it this way, “The message to the Laodicean church is highly applicable to us as a people. It has been placed before us for a long time, but has not been heeded as it should have been. When the work of repentance is earnest and deep, the individual members of the church will buy the rich goods of heaven. Oh, how many behold things in a perverted light, in the light in which Satan would have them see.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 961.

“The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to our condition. How plainly is pictured the position of those who think they have all the truth, who take pride in their knowledge of the Word of God, while its sanctifying power has not been felt in their lives. The fervor of the love of God is wanting in their hearts, but it is this very fervor of love that makes God’s people the light of the world.” Faith and Works, 82, 83.

The Problem

God’s end time church is seriously affected by self-deception and being self-conceited. We do not understand ourselves. The faithful and true witness states, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:15–17.

Like the Ephesian Christians, the Laodiceans have experienced a great loss tantamount to spiritual death. They lost their first love—the love of Jesus. Her problem is that she is devoid of the character of Jesus which can easily be identified when an individual possesses faith and love, the righteousness of Christ and the spirit to discern between right and wrong, good and evil.

Often times Christians are caught up with the externals, which often reflect significantly that they are destitute inwardly. We may note this important quotation, “You may manifest great zeal in missionary effort, and yet because it is corrupted with selfishness, and tastes strongly of self, it is nought in the sight of God; for it is a tainted, corrupted offering. Unless the door of the heart is open to Jesus, unless He occupies the soul temple, unless the heart is imbued with His divine attributes, human actions when weighed in the heavenly balances, will be pronounced ‘Wanting [Daniel 5.27].’ The love of Christ would make you rich; but many do not realize the value of His love. Many do not realize that the spirit which they cherish is destitute of the meekness and lowliness of Christ, destitute of the love that would constitute them channels of light.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 961.

The Solution

We read the priceless advice given to the Laodiceans, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:18.

Who is the faithful and true witness?

He is the vendor of priceless treasures. This thought is brought out clearly in the following statement: “The great Vendor of spiritual riches is inviting your recognition. The Saviour comes with jewels of truth of the richest value in distinction from all counterfeits, all that is spurious. He comes to every house, to every door; He is knocking, presenting His priceless treasure, urging, ‘Buy of me.’ ” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 964.

Jesus says, “Buy of me”—“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

“Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Isaiah 55:1, 2.

What are the goods being sold?

Gold tried in the fire

White raiment


What do these represent?

“Gold tried in the fire” represents love or faith that works by love which ultimately purifies the soul. This is the primary merchandise being offered to professing Christians!

“The gold tried in the fire is faith that works by love. Only this can bring us into harmony with God. We may be active, we may do much work; but without love, such love as dwelt in the heart of Christ, we can never be numbered with the family of heaven.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 158.

Spelled out even clearer, “The gold here recommended as having been tried in the fire is faith and love. It makes the heart rich; for it has been purged until it is pure, and the more it is tested the more brilliant is its luster.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 88.

Once again God’s messenger explains that this “gold tried in the fire,” is indeed the love of Jesus. The following is recorded, “The Lord knocks at the door of your heart, desiring to enter, that he may impart spiritual riches to your soul. He would anoint the blind eyes, that they may discover the holy character of God in his law, and understand the love of Christ, which is indeed gold tried in the fire.” The Review and Herald, February 25, 1890.

This gold tried in the fire has almost disappeared from the church of God. You see, this love is not superficial, spasmodic, earthly, or governed by circumstances. It is free from everything that savors of being human. It is pure and holy. It is of heavenly origin. It has diminished from the church because it cannot prosper where self reigns.

“Love of self excludes the love of Christ. Those who live for self are ranged under the head of the Laodicean church who are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. The ardor of the first love has lapsed into a selfish egotism. The love of Christ in the heart is expressed in the actions. If love for Christ is dull, the love for those for whom Christ has died will degenerate. There may be a wonderful appearance for zeal and ceremonies, but this is the substance of their self-inflated religion. Christ represents them as nauseating to His taste.” Our High Calling, 348.

Consequently, because self is so prominent in the church today, when trials come, which, in the providence of God, will come, many are affected and end up defecting.

Ellen White makes this very clear. She tells us, “I was pointed to the providence of God among His people and was shown that every trial made by the refining, purifying process upon professed Christians proves some to be dross. The fine gold does not always appear. In every religious crisis some fall under temptation. The shaking of God blows away multitudes like dry leaves. Prosperity multiplies a mass of professors. Adversity purges them out of the church. As a class, their spirits are not steadfast with God. They go out from us because they are not of us; for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, many are offended.

“Let these look back a few months to the time when they were sitting on the cases of others who were in a condition similar to that which they now occupy. Let them carefully call to mind the exercise of their minds in regard to those tempted ones. Had anyone told them then that notwithstanding their zeal and labor to set others right, they would at length be found in a similar position of darkness, they would have said, as did Hazael to the prophet: ‘Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?’ II Kings 8:13.

“Self-deception is upon them. During the calm, what firmness they manifest! what courageous sailors they make! But when the furious tempests of trial and temptation come, lo! their souls are shipwrecked. Men may have excellent gifts, good ability, splendid qualifications; but one defect, one secret sin indulged, will prove to the character what the worm-eaten plank does to the ship—utter disaster and ruin!” Testimonies, vol. 4, 89, 90.

This “gold tried in the fire” is what plants a person in Christ. As the apostle Paul puts it, “rooted and grounded in Him.” Ephesians 3:17. This love is the stabilizing element that keeps the Christian permanently connected to Jesus.

A question that really requires our prayerful attention is, “Why is it that many who profess to have faith in Christ have no strength to stand against the temptations of the enemy?—It is because they are not strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. The apostle prays ‘that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.’ Ephesians 3:17–19. If we had this experience, we should know something of the cross of Calvary. We would know what it means to be partakers with Christ in His sufferings. The love of Christ would constrain us, and though we would not be able to explain how the love of Christ warmed our hearts, we would manifest His love in fervent devotion to His cause.” Our High Calling, 365.

Faith and love enables us to do something very important. What is it?

“Buy faith and love, the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer, which will enable us to find our way into the hearts of those who do not know Him, who are cold and alienated from Him through unbelief and sin.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 964. [Emphasis supplied.]

The power of Christ’s love is revealed: “The love that was in the heart of Christ is to be in our hearts, that we may reveal it to those around us. We need to be daily strengthened by the deep love of God, and to let this love shine forth to those around us.” The Upward Look, 159.

Therefore, when Laodicea’s condition is critically analyzed, the verdict is that the church is devoid of the love of God, thus the heavenly merchant man who has been waiting and longing has declared, “You are neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, and if you do not ‘buy of Me gold,’ I will spew you out of my mouth or I will reject you!” Revelation 3:15, 16.

The white raiment represents the righteousness of Jesus Christ. “Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. ‘I counsel thee,’ He says, ‘to buy of Me … white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.’ Revelation 3:18.

“This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. ‘All our righteousness are as filthy rags.’ Isaiah 64:6.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 311.

What does it mean to be clothed with Christ’s robe of righteousness?

“When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.” Ibid., 312.

How do we receive Christ’s righteousness?

“By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like Him. The image of Christ is cherished, and it captivates the whole being.” God’s Amazing Grace, 96.

It is evident that self must be surrendered to Christ, and the Holy Spirit be allowed to do the work of cleansing so that which is the soul’s need may be met.

What does the righteousness of Christ consist of?

“Righteousness of Christ imputed to men means holiness, uprightness, purity. Unless Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us we could not have acceptable repentance. The righteousness dwelling in us by faith consists of love, forbearance, meekness, and all the Christian virtues. Here the righteousness of Christ is laid hold of and becomes a part of our being. All who have this righteousness will work the works of God.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 134.

“The righteousness of Christ consists in right actions and good works from pure, unselfish motives. Outside righteousness, while the inward adorning is wanting, will be of no avail.” This Day With God, 182.

We can conclude on this point by agreeing that “the white raiment is purity of character, the righteousness of Christ imparted to the sinner. This is indeed a garment of heavenly texture, that can be bought only of Christ for a life of willing obedience.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 88.

“The eyesalve [represents, or] is that wisdom and grace which enables us to discern between the evil and the good, and to detect sin under any guise. God has given His church eyes which He requires them to anoint with wisdom, that they may see clearly; but many would put out the eyes of the church if they could; for they would not have their deeds come to the light, lest they should be reproved. The divine eyesalve will impart clearness to the understanding.” Ibid., 88, 89.

I must make this point clear to our understanding that according to the Faithful and True witness—Jesus Christ—the Laodicean Christians are not totally blind. “The Laodiceans,” Ellen White states, “were not entirely blind, else the eyesalve would have done nothing to restore their sight, and enable them to discern the true attributes of Christ. Says Christ, By renouncing your own self-sufficiency, giving up all things, however dear to you, you may buy the gold, the raiment, and the eyesalve that you may see.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 965.

Why anoint the eyes? “He would anoint the blind eyes, that they may discover the holy character of God in His law, and understand the love of Christ, which is indeed gold tried in the fire.” Ibid., 965.

This is important because while we are blessed with 20/20 vision to see about our self-interest and to glorify self, at the same time we are blind to see Christ and His wonderful love which we so desperately need. Because we are so focused on self we are totally destitute of the love of Jesus; therefore, when our love for God and our fellowman is tested, we utterly fail. We give up on Christ and we abandon our fellow human beings.

What we need to understand is that the more we promote self, the more we fail to realize how wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked and lukewarm we are.

But, let us not forget or be confused that there is love in the church, but Christ, the owner of the church still says to us, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire.” This conveys the fact that what the church calls love is not the genuine love. Jesus’ love holds up under all circumstances; it remains unchanged no matter how severely tried or unkindly treated! This is the gold tried in the fire.

The current love present in the church, which makes God nauseated, is a love that is destructive, which cultivates evil and only more evil, and which originates in the synagogue of Satan; it’s a love that cherishes hate, resentment, pride, jealousy, fault-finding, gossiping, envy, evil-surmising, strife, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, deception, hypocrisy, unbelief and all manner of unchristlike attitudes and behavior! It’s a love that is pretentious. So Christ once again says, buy of me gold tried in the fire. Buy the genuine article, for this is the only one that will endure when all else fails. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” I Corinthians 13:13.

Ellen White reminds us, “It is difficult for us to understand ourselves, to have a correct knowledge of our own characters. The word of God is plain, but often there is an error in applying it to one’s self. There is liability to self-deception and to think its warnings and reproofs do not mean me. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’ Jeremiah 17:9. Self-flattery may be construed into Christian emotion and zeal. Self-love and confidence may give us assurance that we are right when we are far from meeting the requirements of God’s word.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 332.

So, having said all this, I would like to go back to my original question and provide the answer. What is it that Christ is waiting for and longing for before He returns to this earth? We read in the Gospel of Mark, “But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Mark 4:29.

What fruit is Christ here referring to? The apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatian Christians identifies this fruit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” “This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 68, 69.

“Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.

“It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel.” Ibid.

Satan knows this; consequently, this is what he has been doing: “The enemy well knows that if we do not have love one for another, he can gain his object, and wound and weaken the church, by causing differences among brethren. He can lead them to surmise evil, to speak evil, to accuse, condemn, and hate one another. In this way the cause of God is brought into dishonor, the name of Christ is reproached, and untold harm is done to the souls of men.” This Day with God, 165.

So Jesus has been waiting, longing to see His love manifested in the lives of all His followers, and this in turn would hasten His coming. Will He wait forever? No!

In closing I leave these words with you: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” I John 3:1–3.

Jesus pleads to you and me, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. Will you open to the heavenly merchant man? “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:15, 16.

Pastor Ivan Plummer ministers through the Emmanuel Seventh Day Church Ministries in Bronx, New York. He may be contacted by telephone at: 718-822-3900.

Pen of Inspiration – The Precious Promises

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” II Peter 1:4

If we escape the contaminating influences of this degenerate age, we have earnest work before us, and we must have a living connection with Christ. We must have a knowledge of his life and character, and a desire to be like him. Then we must seek earnestly to overcome the temptations that are around us, and have faith to believe that his promises will be verified unto us. “And besides this,” says the apostle, “giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue [I Peter 1:5].” The sinner who comes to Christ for pardon, hope, and salvation, must lay the foundation in a pure, virtuous character. Christ will not accept a polluted offering. The soul-temple must be cleansed from all defilement. Then the work of character building is begun aright. He that clings to cherished sins and continues to indulge sinful habits, cannot be a partaker of the divine nature; for he has not escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The apostle continues, “And to virtue, knowledge [Verse 5].” The Lord is not pleased to have any of us remain in ignorance. He would have us put to the best use the talents of reason and intelligence that he has given us. We are not excusable if we allow things of minor consequence to so occupy our God-given time that the mind will not be stored with useful knowledge. The mental powers should be taxed to think, and thus we will gain strength to reach any height in knowledge. We must not be satisfied with reaching a low level. There are high and holy attainments for us to reach. But we shall never make that advancement that God would have us until we have an experimental knowledge of Christ and his work of redemption. We must not allow earthly, temporal interests to absorb our minds and steal our affections from our Creator. Although the world with its customs, maxims, and amusements intrudes itself upon the mind, Christians will show by their words and deportment that they have chosen Christ as their portion; they have chosen to be partakers with him of his self-denying, self-sacrificing life, that they may one day be partakers of his glory.

The great temptation of this age is the indulgence of pride, the love of praise, and the love of the world. Time is golden; and a day spent in selfish gratification is a day lost to all eternity. But time employed in searching the Scriptures with a desire to learn the truth, will bring everlasting riches. Angels come near to pour light and knowledge into the darkened understanding, and the light thus given, strengthens the intellect, and quickens the perception to discern the precious gems of truth. Knowledge thus gained is not left to perish with common, earthly things, but will be carried with us into the eternal world, and through the ceaseless ages of eternity the riches of God’s word will be continually unfolding. …

To “knowledge” we are commanded to add “temperance” [Verse 6, first part]. It is the duty of true Christians to practice temperance in eating, in drinking, and in dressing. The Lord wants us to be examples of piety to those who know not Jesus and his matchless love. My sisters, we need a better knowledge of ourselves, a better understanding of this wonderful house in which the Lord has placed us. We want to know how to keep it in a healthful condition, so that the human machinery may act harmoniously. The better health of body and mind we possess, the more acceptable service can we render to God. Great evils follow the indulgence of perverted appetite. The blood becomes feverish and diseased, and impatience is the sure result.

The apostle adds: “And to temperance, patience [Verse 6, last part].” Who ever saw an intemperate man or woman that exercised the grace of patience? How much unhappiness might be avoided if all would eat, and drink, and dress with an eye single to the glory of God! We cannot afford to make the world our criterion. We want to be right because it is right. It is the Bible standard that we are to reach. The Lord tells us to come out from the world and be separate, and his promise is, “I will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters [II Corinthinians 6:18].” What an exalted position is here offered us! The privilege of becoming members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. Some seem to think that it is demeaning to become a Christian. Not so. The religion of Christ never degrades. It refines, purifies, and ennobles the receiver, and fits him for the society of heavenly angels. The work of overcoming is a grand, a noble work. It is a hand to hand battle with the powers of darkness, and in this battle we must individually engage.

“And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity [II Peter 1:5-7].” Here Peter presents to us the ladder of true sanctification, the base of which rests upon the earth, while the topmost round reaches to the throne of the Infinite. We cannot with one effort reach the topmost round of this ladder. We must climb round after round. It is in this struggle that we are in danger of becoming dizzy, and fainting and falling, unless we keep our eyes upward, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We see the heights to be reached, and become discouraged over future difficulties when it is present duties that demand all the power of our being. But we have the promise that divine aid will be combined with our human effort. We may be more than conquerors through Him that hath loved us and given his life a ransom for us.

Jesus has made an infinite sacrifice in behalf of the race. He stepped down from the eternal throne, laid aside his robes of royalty, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to a world all seared and marred by the curse, that the lost race might one day be restored to their glorious Eden home. He has become the representative and surety for the race. He has brought the treasures of heaven within our reach, and it remains for us to say whether or not we will avail ourselves of them. It is only by the light reflected from the cross of Calvary that we can know the value of the human soul, or the depth of degradation from which man was rescued. It was to restore man to the perfection in which he was first created that this great sacrifice was made. With his human arm Jesus encircles the race, while with his divine arm he grasps the throne of the Infinite, thus uniting finite man with the infinite God and connecting earth with heaven. How can we neglect so great salvation? It is natural for man to cling to life. Some live through years of intense suffering, and still desire to have their lives prolonged. But when Jesus offers us life, immortal life in the mansions he has prepared for us, why do we turn from it and devote our time and energy to securing earthly treasures?

We all need Jesus to be our comfort and hope in affliction, suffering, and death. He has brightened the tomb for all who center their hopes in him. Through him life and immortality are brought to light. He is the Life-giver, and he it is who will break the fetters of the tomb when he shall come in power and great glory. Shall we, in view of the shortness of this life, neglect to secure that life which runs parallel with the life of God? Every day it is our privilege to live for Jesus. Commence the day with prayer; morning, noon, and night let your prayers ascend for wisdom and grace to overcome every device of Satan. Jesus is your only hope; upward to God be the soul’s adoration. Christians should be the happiest people upon the earth. In the eyes of the world, houses, lands, and money make men honored and respected. Not so in the sight of God. He measures them according to their moral worth. If they live for display, to receive the praise of men, they will receive no other reward. Their names will be written in the earth to perish with all things perishable. If they live to honor and glorify God, if true goodness, benevolence, and the love of God are seen in their connection with their fellow-men, their names will be immortalized among the heavenly host, and Jesus declares that he will not blot their names out of the book of life.

The apostle continues: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.” The Christian’s life is one of progression, not of backsliding. “For if ye do these things, ye shall never fall [Verse 10].” I once knew a man in the State of Maine whose religious life was very consistent, but who seemed greatly depressed at times, fearing that he might become a backslider, and that through his example others might fall. One day he came to the prayer-meeting, his face radiant with hope and joy, and said: “I have found the way; I need never fall and dishonor my Saviour. By constantly adding grace to grace we may go straight forward in the Christian course. The apostle says, ‘If ye do these things ye shall never fall.’ ” Let those trembling souls who constantly fear lest they shall fall, fear no longer. Let them live upon the plan of addition, and God will work for them upon the plan of multiplication. The apostle has presented the only true sanctification. There are many today who claim that they are holy and cannot sin. The only correct standard of sanctification is the law of God. By it is the knowledge of sin. Genuine sanctification is the work of a life-time. It is climbing the ladder round after round. …

Now is the time to wash our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb.

The Review and Herald, December 1, 1885.

The Essential Character Traits of the Saved

The most important things for us to think about are practical things for our lives. There are many character traits that the Bible commends very highly that are important and necessary, but particularly one that I would call the essential character trait. It is singled out as a defining mark of the people of God throughout history and in the last days. What is this essential character trait?

All character traits can blend into one in the exemplification of our Savior’s life.

In Revelation 13:10 it says, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” John has just described in symbolic terms the Dark Ages and the persecutions that were to take place during that era. He then described the closing of that era. He says, “The one that kills with the sword will be killed with the sword; the one that leads into captivity will be led into captivity.” Then he looks away from the persecution and the difficulties of the ages and he says, “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

The description of the people that give the Three Angels’ Messages and experience these messages in the last days is found in Revelation 14:12 which says, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

One essential character trait of the saved is faith. I have often wondered about the meaning of the verse in Philippians 4:5. Paul was a prisoner while he was writing this book; however, his theme for this book was to rejoice. Jails are not usually a place of rejoicing but Paul, as a prisoner, rejoiced. Paul says in Philippians 4:4, 5, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Paul insists on the importance of rejoicing. Then he says, “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”

What does Paul mean? Elsewhere in the Bible the word moderation can be translated patience or gentleness. I believe this is the only place it is translated moderation. Here Paul is in prison and he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice; and let your moderation be known unto all men.” Doesn’t it make a lot more sense for him to say, “Let your rejoicing, your moderation, your gentleness, your patience be made known unto all men in all things?”

Patience is the specifically singled out character trait necessary for the saved and Paul says it is to be known by all men.

Patience is a learned characteristic. In Romans 15:4, 5 it states, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.” God is a God of patience. Peter tells us in II Peter 3:15, “We account the patience of God to be salvation.” Without the patience of God there would be no salvation and this is something He wants His people to exhibit. The greatest call to patience that God has given was in the life of Jesus. We never find a time in which Jesus became impatient with those around Him. In circumstances to teach lessons, as in the driving out of the money changers, etc., He exhibited an attitude of authority, but not impatience. He desired God’s glory to be seen but He was not giving way to irritation.

Jesus had many opportunities to exhibit impatience in His life. He had at least four older brothers and two older sisters, and His brothers were constantly giving Him some trouble. There were opportunities to manifest impatience with the priests, the rulers and the leaders as they were tracking Him and trying to find fault. There would have been opportunity to manifest impatience with the dullness of His disciples and their incomprehension of what was going to take place, but Jesus’ patience was never ruffled.

Considering the word ruffled I think of a bird getting its feathers out of order or something like that. Jesus never allowed His feathers to get ruffled. Peter tells us how to learn patience in I Peter 2:20, 21. He says, “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” We are to follow Jesus’ direct example in patience. In verse 20 He says that if you are at fault and you suffer patiently for it, what is that? But if you do well, and you suffer for it patiently, that is acceptable to God because even Jesus gave us an example of this and we are to follow in His steps. Jesus is to be our example in everything, and as pointed out here, He is to be our example in patience.

How serious is impatience? “The man who yields to impatience is serving Satan.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 607. “Would that you could understand that all this impatience and irritability must be overcome, or your life will prove an utter failure, you will lose heaven, and it would have been better had you never been born.” Ibid., 84. That is a very strong statement!

We can manifest impatience by a raised voice or unkind words or by becoming irritated at something or someone by never opening the mouth. Often it is better to keep the mouth shut, but in some instances that still manifests impatience. In I Corinthians 13:5 it says that, “Love is patient” or “love is not easily irritated or provoked.” That is something worth contemplating. Patience is waiting without worrying, not being on pins and needles worrying about what may never happen. Sometimes rushing without waiting on God can be a manifestation of impatience.

Abraham, who had proved to be so faithful to God, became impatient. He and Sarah wanted a child; they had waited for maybe 50 years. Abraham was 86 and Sarah was 76, long past the age of child- bearing. God had promised that they would receive what they had been hoping and praying for, but their patience ran out and they decided to help God. Sarah came up with the plan that her handmaid could bear the promised child for her. Here we see an important principle. Whenever we decide to help God out it always causes problems. Abraham and Sarah did not wait on the Lord to fulfill His promise in His time and in His manner. As soon as Hagar conceived, her relationship with Sarah changed. No longer did she see herself as just the handmaid, and Sarah’s behavior also changed to one of irritation and impatience.

Waiting is never easy. Waiting for years is especially not easy. God asks us to wait on Him. This waiting is necessary to develop an experience in our lives to teach us patience. In Gethsemane Jesus said to His disciples, “Tarry ye here and pray” (Mark 14:34, 38). Before he ascended to heaven He said to “tarry in Jerusalem” (Luke 24:49). Jesus says to “go ye” (Mark 14:13), and He also says to wait. As Jesus was ascending into heaven He told the disciples to “go ye into all the world; but first tarry ye in Jerusalem.” Jesus wanted them to realize that no matter how big the task, there was a more essential task of waiting upon God for His power and blessing to make it take place. Throughout the Psalms, over and over again, it says to “wait on the Lord.”

We need to wait on God and to trust in the fulfillment of His promises. There is a time for action but we also need to learn to patiently wait with God.

To find out why there is so much impatience today, it would be beneficial to identify our own impatient triggers and guard against them. Some people are adversely affected by loud noises, or continual noises, or bumper to bumper traffic. There does not need to be anybody else in the car for you to get impatient. You can be silent and still be impatient. It could be others’ tardiness or maybe our will is crossed that triggers impatience.

Most of us are very good at justifying the reasons for our impatience e.g., that guy cut me off in a line of traffic! But that is not the real reason for the impatience; it was just the stimulus that led to it.

When we are impatient, what are we doing? Abraham and Sarah became impatient waiting for the promised heir because they took their eyes off God. Impatience is a form of discontent of the situation around us. We are impatient with someone because we are discontent with what they said or what they did. We are impatient with the bumper-to-bumper traffic because we are discontent with the situation we are in. We are impatient waiting on God’s promise because we want it now. Impatience is a manifestation of discontentment. So what is the root cause of impatience? In Isaiah 26:3 it says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Perfect peace is perfect contentment. Patience is having complete peace and trust in God at all times. Impatience is losing that contentment, peace and trust in God. When somebody says something and we want to respond with impatient words, it means that, in reality, somebody has done something or said something that we are discontent with. Impatience is a lack of complete trust in God.

We live in an impatient society. In the ’80s there was an interview with a president in which a reporter asked this former president, “Do you think this will have an effect on the state of affairs?” This former president said, “We as Americans have many virtues; patience is not one of them. The Russians think in terms of decades, the Chinese think in terms of centuries and we think in terms of months or maybe a year.” Statistics show that if people have to wait too long at a store, 50% of them will not go back to that store.

Sometimes we think that this is just the way I am, I was born this way; some are born patient and others impatient, and that is true to an extent. Some are born with more placid natures than others and some do have a tendency to be more impatient; but, can patience be learned? Not only can it be learned, but it must be learned. This is one of the characteristics of those who are waiting for the Lord to come. “Here is the patience of the saints.” Revelation 14:12.

There is another story in the Bible of a very impatient man who became very patient. While still living in Pharaoh’s palace, Moses was out riding one day and he saw an Egyptian beating one of his Israelite people. He was so angry that he murdered the Egyptian. Afterwards he said we have a job to do; we have to free the captive people of Israel, so let’s start it right now. We are told that Moses was naturally impatient before God took him to the university of patience where he graduated after 40 years working with sheep. This was to prepare him for the next 40 years leading the children of Israel through the wilderness. The Bible records that Moses was meek above every man upon the face of the earth. This is a real testimony to the power of God to bring forth meekness out of impatience.

Many have heard the statement or quip that says, “I want patience, and I want it now!” This statement is not totally wrong. Read the following statement: “Some of us have a nervous temperament, and are naturally as quick as a flash to think and to act; but let no one think that he cannot learn to become patient. Patience is a plant that will make rapid growth if carefully cultivated.” My Life Today, 97. If you want patience to rapidly grow in your life, then you need to carefully cultivate it. Ellen White continues: “By becoming thoroughly acquainted with ourselves, and then combining with the grace of God a firm determination on our part, we may be conquerors, and become perfect in all things, wanting in nothing.” Ibid.

How can we carefully cultivate the plant of patience that it may make that rapid growth in our lives? The patience chapters in the Bible are found in Hebrews 12 and James 5. “… let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:11. Job is an example of patience. The two Bible characters named in the Bible as examples of patience are Abraham and Job.

There are seven points in the Bible on how to learn patience. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” James 5:7. The Father has patience.

God’s original occupation for man was farming. God knew that mankind would have a problem with patience so He gave them something to help them. This does not mean that we all need to become farmers to become patient but there is strong evidence that gardening and other similar activities are beneficial for man. Could it be that God wants us to learn patience by working with the soil? You have to learn patience when planting a garden and be even more patient when planting an orchard, as there are never immediate results. God has given us this activity to help us to learn patience.

Most farmers today have to go into debt just to buy their seeds, and then their entire year’s livelihood as well as the repayment of their loan depends upon that crop. In any other occupation there are other ways to make income if something goes wrong but when you are farming and there is no rain, the only thing you can do about it is to learn to wait upon God. Job was involved in agriculture and livestock on a big scale with 500 yoke of oxen (equivalent to 250 tractors) that were plowing.

In II Peter 1:5, 6 it says: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.” Temperance comes before patience. If you have ever experienced being hungry you will know that it is a little bit more difficult to be patient during those times. When you become very hungry it is very difficult to eat slowly, because you are even impatient to eat the good food. Also when you become very tired, it is easy to become impatient, something you often see with children. Adults are just grown up children and when we become tired, overworked and hungry or when we eat the wrong types of food, that affects our mental state, giving us a tendency to become impatient.

In Job’s experience, though he was not feasting himself, the Bible says that Job prayed and offered sacrifices for his children in case they cursed God while they were feasting. Job understood the principle of temperance in order to be patient. We do not know how long of a time period the story of Job spans, but we do know that when his friends arrived they sat silently for at least a week. Basically the whole book of Job is a test on patience. All of Job’s friends accused him of doing wickedly. Nobody wants to listen to their friends tell them how bad they are while suffering with sickness and in great pain, but notice what Job says in Job 16:1, “Then Job answered and said, I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.” That was an understatement. The point made here is that Job patiently listened even though he did not want to listen to them. One way we can learn patience is by listening even though we do not want to listen.

The second point necessary in learning patience is temperance.

The third point is listening.

The fourth point is found in Job 42:10: “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” The Lord turned Job’s captivity when he prayed for his miserable comforters, his friends. Would you feel like praying for somebody who had just spent days or weeks trying to convince you that you were a wicked person? Patience is learned as others who have wronged you are forgiven. The very crux of all of Job’s friends was: “We don’t know what you have done, but the very fact that you are suffering this entire calamity is proof positive that you have sinned.” He was wrongly accused again and again. Job had much opportunity to learn patience.

God has instructed us that gardening, temperance, listening even when we do not want to, forgiving when others wrong us or doing good and suffering for it or being wrongly accused teaches patience. Look in Job 19:25–27 to see why Job could endure here: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job saw his Redeemer by faith and hoped for what he did not see. We need to hope for what we do not see.

Job certainly went through some trials! When we think we have a bad day, consider Job and see that our day is not as bad as Job’s day was. Job 13:15 says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Trusting in God through trials will develop patience. No trials, no patience!

Moses endured with the children of Israel for 40 years. He had practice with the sheep for the first 40 years, but the sheep were easy in comparison with the people of Israel. The secret of Moses’ success was that every time he was wrongfully accused, He went into the tabernacle, fell on his face and sought counsel before the Lord. When accused of bringing the Israelites out into the desert to die, he does not say, “Look, I did not do this,” but he went and he fell on his face before the Lord. Before he responded to his accusers he made it a matter of prayer. Tragically, due to one manifestation of impatience and lack of faith toward the end of his life he was prohibited from leading his people into the Promised Land.

Impatience is serious. Moses realized he had done wrong striking the rock when told to talk to it and pled for forgiveness and that his sentence would be reversed but the Lord said, “Don’t ask me another time.” If Moses had not repented it would have cost him eternity. Once impatient words are spoken their damage is done and cannot be taken back.

There are disastrous consequences with impatience. Where Moses failed, Jesus overcame. Where Moses failed, the final generation who will be saved will, at last, overcome. The final generation will not get to the borders of the Promised Land and be guilty of impatience. They will have overcome. In Revelation 14:5, in speaking of that final generation, it says there shall be no guile in their mouths. God is going to have a patient people. When we come to the close of the third angel’s message, God says, “Here is the patience of the saints.” Revelation 14:12. Patience will be manifested under every circumstance by this group of people who will have been bombarded by the devil with every imaginable trial.

“Here is the patience of the saints.” In order to be among that group we have to allow God to develop patience in our characters now.

Lest we become discouraged, in Messages to Young People, 136, it says: “Under its [the Holy Spirit’s] influence the hasty temper is subdued, and the heart is filled with patience and gentleness.

“Hold firmly to the One who has all power in heaven and in earth. Though you so often fail to reveal patience and calmness, do not give up the struggle. Resolve again, this time more firmly, to be patient under every provocation. And never take your eyes off your divine Example.”

God wants to teach us patience. Though we fall ever so many times, let us never give up the struggle. Let us strive to demonstrate our patience and that it be known to all men that God may say of us, “Have you seen my servant Job?” In the final generation He can say, “Here is the patience of the saints.”

May the Lord grant to each of us a patient-building experience now so that we can be among the patient saints of the final generation.

Cody Francis is currently engaged in public evangelism for Mission Projects International. He also pastors the Remnant Church of Seventh-day Adventist Believers in Renton, Washington. He may be contacted by e-mail at: