Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 8: Growing Up Into Christ
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The change of heart by which we become children
of God is in the Bible spoken of as birth.
Again, it is compared to the germination of the
good seed sown by the husbandman. In like manner
those who are just converted to Christ are, "as
new-born babes," to "grow up" to the stature of men and
women in Christ Jesus. 1 Peter 2:2; Ephesians 4:15.
Or like the good seed sown in the field, they are to
grow up and bring forth fruit. Isaiah says that they
shall "be called trees of righteousness, the planting
of the Lord, that He might be glorified." Isaiah 61:3.
So from natural life, illustrations are drawn, to help
us better to understand the mysterious truths of spiritual
Not all the wisdom and skill of man can produce
life in the smallest object in nature. It is only through
the life which God Himself has imparted, that either
plant or animal can live. So it is only through the
life from God that spiritual life is begotten in the
hearts of men. Unless a man is "born from above,"
he cannot become a partaker of the life which Christ
came to give. John 3:3, margin.
As with life, so it is with growth. It is God who
brings the bud to bloom and the flower to fruit. It
is by His power that the seed develops, "first the
blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the
ear." Mark 4:28. And the prophet Hosea says of
Israel, that "he shall grow as the lily." "They shall
revive as the corn, and grow as the vine." Hosea
14:5, 7. And Jesus bids us "consider the lilies how [p. 68] they grow." Luke 12:27. The plants and flowers grow
not by their own care or anxiety or effort, but by
receiving that which God has furnished to minister
to their life. The child cannot, by any anxiety or
power of its own, add to its stature. No more can
you, by anxiety or effort of yourself, secure spiritual
growth. The plant, the child, grows by receiving
from its surroundings that which ministers to its life
—air, sunshine, and food. What these gifts of nature
are to animal and plant, such is Christ to those who
trust in Him. He is their "everlasting light," "a sun
and shield." Isaiah 60:19; Psalm 84:11. He shall be
as "the dew unto Israel." "He shall come down like
rain upon the mown grass." Hosea 14:5; Psalm 72:6.
He is the living water, "the Bread of God . . . which
cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the
world." John 6:33.
In the matchless gift of His Son, God has encircled
the whole world with an atmosphere of grace
as real as the air which circulates around the globe.
All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere
will live and grow up to the stature of men
and women in Christ Jesus.
As the flower turns to the sun, that the bright
beams may aid in perfecting its beauty and symmetry,
so should we turn to the Sun of Righteousness, that
heaven's light may shine upon us, that our character
may be developed into the likeness of Christ.
Jesus teaches the same thing when He says, "Abide
in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear
fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more
can ye, except ye abide in Me. . . . Without Me ye [p. 69] can do nothing." John 15:4, 5. You are just as
dependent upon Christ, in order to live a holy life, as
is the branch upon the parent stock for growth and
fruitfulness. Apart from Him you have no life. You
have no power to resist temptation or to grow in grace
and holiness. Abiding in Him, you may flourish.
Drawing your life from Him, you will not wither nor
be fruitless. You will be like a tree planted by the
rivers of water.
Many have an idea that they must do some part
of the work alone. They have trusted in Christ for
the forgiveness of sin, but now they seek by their
own efforts to live aright. But every such effort must
fail. Jesus says, "Without Me ye can do nothing."
Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness,—all
depend upon our union with Christ. It is by
communion with Him, daily, hourly,—by abiding in Him,
—that we are to grow in grace. He is not only the
Author, but the Finisher of our faith. It is Christ first
and last and always. He is to be with us, not only
at the beginning and the end of our course, but at
every step of the way. David says, "I have set the
Lord always before me: because He is at my right
hand, I shall not be moved." Psalm 16:8.
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