Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 7: Like Unto Leaven
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Often the question arises, Why, then, are there so many,
claiming to believe God's word, in whom there is not seen
a reformation in words, in spirit, and in character? Why
are there so many who cannot bear opposition to their
purposes and plans, who manifest an unholy temper, and
whose words are harsh, overbearing, and passionate? There
is seen in their lives the same love of self, the same selfish
indulgence, the same temper and hasty speech, that is seen in
the life of the worldling. There is the same sensitive
pride, the same yielding to natural inclination, the same
perversity of character, as if the truth were wholly
unknown to them. The reason is that they are not converted.
They have not hidden the leaven of truth in the heart.
It has not had opportunity to do its work. Their natural
and cultivated tendencies to evil have not been submitted [p. 100] to its transforming power. Their lives reveal the absence
of the grace of Christ, an unbelief in His power to
transform the character.
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of
God." Rom. 10:17. The Scriptures are the great agency
in the transformation of character. Christ prayed, "Sanctify
them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth." John
17:17. If studied and obeyed, the word of God works in
the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy
Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs
up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us
in body, soul, and spirit to His own image. Then God can
use us to do His will. The power given us works from
within outwardly, leading us to communicate to others the
truth that has been communicated to us.
The truths of the word of God meet man's great practical
necessity—the conversion of the soul through faith.
These grand principles are not to be thought too pure
and holy to be brought into the daily life. They are truths
which reach to heaven and compass eternity, yet their vital
influence is to be woven into human experience. They are [p. 101] to permeate all the great things and all the little things of
Received into the heart, the leaven of truth will regulate
the desires, purify the thoughts, and sweeten the disposition.
It quickens the faculties of the mind and the energies
of the soul. It enlarges the capacity for feeling, for loving.
The world regards as a mystery the man who is imbued
with this principle. The selfish, money-loving man lives
only to secure for himself the riches, honors, and pleasures
of this world. He loses the eternal world from his
reckoning. But with the follower of Christ these things will
not be all-absorbing. For Christ's sake he will labor and
deny self, that he may aid in the great work of saving
souls who are without Christ and without hope in the
world. Such a man the world cannot understand; for he
is keeping in view eternal realities. The love of Christ with
its redeeming power has come into the heart. This love
masters every other motive, and raises its possessor above
the corrupting influence of the world.
The word of God is to have a sanctifying effect on our
association with every member of the human family. The
leaven of truth will not produce the spirit of rivalry, the
love of ambition, the desire to be first. True, heaven-born
love is not selfish and changeable. It is not dependent on
human praise. The heart of him who receives the grace [p. 102] of God overflows with love for God and for those for whom
Christ died. Self is not struggling for recognition. He
does not love others because they love and please him,
because they appreciate his merits, but because they are
Christ's purchased possession. If his motives, words, or
actions are misunderstood or misrepresented, he takes no
offense, but pursues the even tenor of his way. He is kind
and thoughtful, humble in his opinion of himself, yet full of
hope, always trusting in the mercy and love of God.
The apostle exhorts us, "As He which hath called you
is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because
it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15, 16.
The grace of Christ is to control the temper and the voice.
Its working will be seen in politeness and tender regard
shown by brother for brother, in kind, encouraging words.
An angel presence is in the home. The life breathes a
sweet perfume, which ascends to God as holy incense.
Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and
The countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the
heart shines out in the faces of those who love Him and
keep His commandments. Truth is written there. The
sweet peace of heaven is revealed. There is expressed a
habitual gentleness, a more than human love.
The leaven of truth works a change in the whole man,
making the coarse refined, the rough gentle, the selfish
generous. By it the impure are cleansed, washed in the
blood of the Lamb. Through its life-giving power it brings
all there is of mind and soul and strength into harmony
with the divine life. Man with his human nature becomes
a partaker of divinity. Christ is honored in excellence and
perfection of character. As these changes are effected,
angels break forth in rapturous song, and God and Christ
rejoice over souls fashioned after the divine similitude.
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