Gospel Workers (1892/1893 ed.)


Christ Our Source of Strength

In every crowd that gathered about Jesus, there were souls hungering and thirsting for light and knowledge. The truths that came from the lips of the Divine Teacher were wholly unlike the traditions and dogmas taught by the rabbis. There was a freshness, a life and vigor, in his sayings; they came home to the mind with a clearness and power that captivated his hearers. God's workers are to learn the same manner of teaching. They are to bring to men truths full of fragrance, like fresh flowers from the garden of God's word. GW92 309.1


Never think that even when you do your best you are of yourself capable of winning souls to Christ. You must cultivate the habit of discerning a power beyond that which you can see with human vision,—a power that is constantly at work upon the hearts and minds of men. When you approach the stranger, when you stand face to face with the impenitent, with the afflicted, the soul-needy, the Lord is by your side, if you have indeed surrendered yourself to him. Through the living agent he makes the impression on the heart. Your words must not be a mere parrot-like speech, but the expression of a personal experience. If you cheer hearts with words of courage and hope, it is because the grace of Christ is to you a living reality. It is God's likeness, not your own, that is to be impressed on the heart. But if the worker has not himself been refined and transformed, he cannot present the truth with a freshness, a power, that awakens responsive feelings in those who hear the word of life. GW92 309.2

The advocates of truth must hide in Jesus. He is their greatness, their power and efficiency. They must represent Christ, love souls as he loved them, be obedient as he was, be courteous, full of sympathy. Let Christ appear, and self be hid in him. Now, as in the days of Christ, traditional prejudice, custom and fashion, have barricaded souls against the truth. He who presents the truth to others must in his own character give evidence of its transforming power. GW92 309.3

There are some who will accept the truth on its merits, even though the one who presents it to them does not rightly represent it in his own character. One who is unsanctified in heart may, to a certain extent, know the truth, although he fails to practice it; he may bring forward sound evidence in its favor, and those whose hearts the Lord has been moving upon by his Holy Spirit, who have been led to hunger and thirst for truth, will, through the influence of the same Spirit, be impressed with the validity of the truth. GW92 310.1

The impression was not made by the power or influence of the man, but by the Comforter, of whom Jesus said, “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” [John 16:13.] The Holy Spirit is called both the Comforter and the Spirit of truth, because there is comfort and hope in the truth. A falsehood cannot give genuine peace; but through the truth we become partakers of the peace that passeth understanding. GW92 310.2

But although he may appear to win some honest souls to the truth, the unsanctified worker is a false and dangerous guide. The new converts naturally expect that the one who can explain the word of life, who has presented to them the beautiful gems of truth, has right ideas of what constitutes Christian character. When associating with him, they are often led to do as he does. Almost imperceptibly they imbibe his ideas and partake of his narrowness and selfishness. Thus through the unchristian course of him who brought them the truth, their souls are constantly exposed to deception. If those ministers who constantly “hold down the truth in unrighteousness,” [Romans 1:18; Rev. Ver.] could know the evil that has been wrought because of their defective characters, they would be filled with horror. GW92 310.3

There are too many who profess to accept the truth, and even to teach others, while they cling to the same old habits, manifest the same self-esteem, the same perverted ideas and motives. Although they claim to have been converted, it is plain to be seen that they have tried to join the truth to their untransformed characters, instead of submitting themselves to be transformed by the truth. GW92 311.1

Every one who accepts the present truth should make the fullest possible surrender of himself to God. He should fall upon the Rock, and be broken. Old habits, hereditary and cultivated traits of character, must all be broken up; we must yield ourselves to be moulded by the divine Spirit if we would become vessels unto honor. Do not seek to conform the truth to your peculiarities and imperfections. But as the Comforter shall come, and reprove you of sin and of righteousness and of judgment, be careful lest you resist the Spirit, and be left in darkness. Be willing to see your errors and yield up your self-will. Submit yourself to God, that he may work in you to will and to do according to his good pleasure.—MS. GW92 311.2