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Sketches From The Life of Paul

by Ellen G. White

Chapter 27: Caesar's Household

Contents  Preface.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  ...

The Christian should not array before his imagination all the trials which may occur before the end of the race. He has but to begin to serve God, and each day live and labor for the glory of God that day, and obstacles which appeared insurmountable will gradually grow less and less; or, should he encounter all that he has feared, the grace of Christ will be imparted to him according to his need. Strength increases with the difficulties met and overcome.

Daniel, the Hebrew captive, the prime minister of a royal realm, encountered great obstacles to a life of fidelity to God. But at the very beginning of his career, he determined that whatever might oppose, he would make the law of God his rule of action. As he maintained his [p. 298] steadfastness amid the lesser trials which he daily met in the court of a heathen king, his faith, courage, and firmness grew stronger; and when the royal decree went forth forbidding him to offer supplication to his God, he was able, with the den of lions open before him, to stand true to principle and to God.

He whose heart is fixed to serve God, will find opportunity to serve him. He will pray, he will read the word of God, he will seek virtue and forsake vice. He can brave contempt and derision while looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who endured the contradiction of sinners against himself. Help and grace are promised by Him whose words are truth. God will not fail to fulfill his promise to all who trust in him.

Are any tempted to make their circumstances an excuse for neglecting the religion of Christ? Let them remember that Satan can frame one difficulty after another to bar the way of those who will permit themselves to be thus hindered. Let them consider the situation of the disciples in Caesar's household, the fierce depravity of the emperor, the profligacy of the court. It was like rushing into the fire to accept of Christ under such circumstances. If those Christian converts could maintain their fidelity amid all the difficulties and dangers of such surroundings, no one can offer a sufficient reason for neglecting the claims of duty. There is no such thing as an impossibility to obey God.

There is another fact concerning those disciples which is worthy of our attention. Not only were converts won to the truth in Caesar's household, but they remained in that household after [p. 299] their conversion. They did not feel at liberty to abandon their post of duty. The truth had found them where they were, and there they would remain, and by their life and character testify of its transforming power. The example of those Christians has great weight, from the fact that they had direct intercourse with Paul, and therefore enjoyed the benefit of his instruction and counsel. It teaches that believers are not always to withdraw from positions of difficulty and trial, and place themselves where there would be less temptation or opposition.

Let us ever bear in mind that our Saviour left the heavenly courts, and came to a world polluted by sin. By his own life he has shown his followers how they can be in the world, and yet not be of the world. He came not to partake of its delusive pleasures, to be swayed by its customs, or to follow its practices, but to seek and to save the lost. With this object, and this only, can the Christian consent to remain in the company of the ungodly.

No one who is seeking to save his soul should without good reason place himself in an uncongenial atmosphere, or where he will be surrounded by hindrances to a religious life; but if in such a position he has received the truth, he should diligently inquire if God has not there a work for him to do for the saving of other souls. That one Christian in the midst of unbelievers, may, in the providence of God, be like the piece of leaven "hid in three measures of meal," that is to do its work until the whole mass is leavened. A consistent Christian life will accomplish more good than could be accomplished by many sermons. Whatever the Christian's station, be it [p. 300] exalted or humble, he will manifest the power of true religion by the faithful performance of the duties of that station.

It is not the absence of temptation or trial that is most favorable for the development of Christian character. Where there are fewest difficulties to meet, the Christian is in the greatest danger of spiritual slothfulness. The God of all grace has promised that his people shall not be tempted above that which they are able to bear, but that with the temptation he will make a way of escape. Constant exposure to rebuffs and opposition, will lead the Christian to greater watchfulness and more earnest prayer to the mighty Helper. Extraordinary trials, endured through the grace of God, will give him a deeper experience and greater spiritual strength, as vigilance, patience, and fortitude are called into exercise.

The followers of Christ should expect to be regarded by the world with no more favor than was their Master. But he who has God for his friend and helper can afford to spend a long winter of chilling neglect, abuse, and persecution. By the grace which Christ imparts, he can maintain his faith and trust in God under the sorest trials. He recalls the Saviour's example, and he feels that he can endure affliction and persecution if he may thus gain simplicity of character, lowliness of heart, and an abiding trust in Jesus. The triumph of Christian faith is to suffer, and be strong; to submit, and thus conquer; to be killed all the day long, and yet to live; to bear the cross, and thus win the crown of immortal glory.

Contents  Preface.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  ...


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