Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 13: Rejoicing in the Lord
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It is not the will of God that His people should
be weighed down with care. But our Lord does not
deceive us. He does not say to us, "Do not fear;
there are no dangers in your path." He knows there
are trials and dangers, and He deals with us plainly.
He does not propose to take His people out of a world
of sin and evil, but He points them to a never-failing [p. 123] refuge. His prayer for His disciples was, "I pray
not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world,
but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
"In the world," He says, "ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 17:15, 16:33.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught His
disciples precious lessons in regard to the necessity
of trusting in God. These lessons were designed to
encourage the children of God through all ages, and
they have come down to our time full of instruction
and comfort. The Saviour pointed His followers to
the birds of the air as they warbled their carols of
praise, unencumbered with thoughts of care, for "they
sow not, neither do they reap." And yet the great
Father provides for their needs. The Saviour asks,
"Are ye not much better than they?" Matthew 6:26.
The great Provider for man and beast opens His hand
and supplies all His creatures. The birds of the air
are not beneath His notice. He does not drop the food
into their bills, but He makes provision for their needs.
They must gather the grains He has scattered for
them. They must prepare the material for their little
nests. They must feed their young. They go forth
singing to their labor, for "your heavenly Father
feedeth them." And "are ye not much better than
they?" Are not you, as intelligent, spiritual worshipers,
of more value than the birds of the air? Will not
the Author of our being, the Preserver of our life, the
One who formed us in His own divine image, provide
for our necessities if we but trust in Him?
Christ pointed His disciples to the flowers of the [p. 124] field, growing in rich profusion and glowing in the
simple beauty which the heavenly Father had given
them, as an expression of His love to man. He said,
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow."
The beauty and simplicity of these natural flowers
far outrival the splendor of Solomon. The most
gorgeous attire produced by the skill of art cannot bear
comparison with the natural grace and radiant beauty
of the flowers of God's creation. Jesus asks, "If God
so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and
tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much
more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" Matthew 6:
28, 30. If God, the divine Artist, gives to the simple
flowers that perish in a day their delicate and varied
colors, how much greater care will He have for those
who are created in His own image? This lesson of
Christ's is a rebuke to the anxious thought, the
perplexity and doubt, of the faithless heart.
The Lord would have all His sons and daughters
happy, peaceful, and obedient. Jesus says, "My peace
I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto
you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it
be afraid." "These things have I spoken unto you,
that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy
might be full." John 14:27; 15:11.
Happiness that is sought from selfish motives, outside
of the path of duty, is ill-balanced, fitful, and
transitory; it passes away, and the soul is filled with
loneliness and sorrow; but there is joy and satisfaction
in the service of God; the Christian is not left
to walk in uncertain paths; he is not left to vain
regrets and disappointments. If we do not have the [p. 125] pleasures of this life we may still be joyful in looking
to the life beyond.
But even here Christians may have the joy of
communion with Christ; they may have the light of His
love, the perpetual comfort of His presence. Every
step in life may bring us closer to Jesus, may give us
a deeper experience of His love, and may bring us
one step nearer to the blessed home of peace. Then
let us not cast away our confidence, but have firm
assurance, firmer than ever before. "Hitherto hath
the Lord helped us," and He will help us to the end.
1 Samuel 7:12. Let us look to the monumental pillars,
reminders of what the Lord has done to comfort us
and to save us from the hand of the destroyer. Let
us keep fresh in our memory all the tender mercies
that God has shown us,—the tears He has wiped away,
the pains He has soothed, the anxieties removed, the
fears dispelled, the wants supplied, the blessings
bestowed,—thus strengthening ourselves for all that is
before us through the remainder of our pilgrimage.
We cannot but look forward to new perplexities
in the coming conflict, but we may look on what is
past as well as on what is to come, and say, "Hitherto
hath the Lord helped us." "As thy days, so shall thy
strength be." Deuteronomy 33:25. The trial will not
exceed the strength that shall be given us to bear it.
Then let us take up our work just where we find it,
believing that whatever may come, strength proportionate
to the trial will be given.
And by and by the gates of heaven will be thrown
open to admit God's children, and from the lips of
the King of glory the benediction will fall on their [p. 126] ears like richest music, "Come, ye blessed of My
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from
the foundation of the world." Matthew 25:34.
Then the redeemed will be welcomed to the home
that Jesus is preparing for them. There their
companions will not be the vile of earth, liars, idolaters,
the impure, and unbelieving; but they will associate
with those who have overcome Satan and through
divine grace have formed perfect characters. Every
sinful tendency, every imperfection, that afflicts them
here has been removed by the blood of Christ, and
the excellence and brightness of His glory, far exceeding
the brightness of the sun, is imparted to them.
And the moral beauty, the perfection of His character,
shines through them, in worth far exceeding this
outward splendor. They are without fault before
the great white throne, sharing the dignity and the
privileges of the angels.
In view of the glorious inheritance that may be
his, "what shall a man give in exchange for his
soul?" Matthew 16:26. He may be poor, yet he
possesses in himself a wealth and dignity that the world
could never bestow. The soul redeemed and cleansed
from sin, with all its noble powers dedicated to the
service of God, is of surpassing worth; and there is joy
in heaven in the presence of God and the holy angels
over one soul redeemed, a joy that is expressed in
songs of holy triumph.
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