Gospel Workers 1915

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Self-Examination

There is much in the conduct of ministers that they can improve. Many see and feel their lack, yet they seem to be ignorant of the influence they exert. They are conscious of their actions as they perform them, but suffer them to pass from their memory, and therefore do not reform. GW 275.1

Let ministers make the actions of each day a subject of careful thought and deliberate review, with the object of becoming better acquainted with their own habits of life. By a close scrutiny of every circumstance of the daily life, they would know better their own motives and the principles which govern them. This daily review of our acts, to see whether conscience approves or condemns, is necessary for all who wish to reach perfection of Christian character. Many acts which pass for good works, even deeds of benevolence, will, when closely investigated, be found to be prompted by wrong motives. GW 275.2

Many receive applause for virtues which they do not possess. The Searcher of hearts weighs the motives, and often deeds highly applauded by men are recorded by Him as springing from selfishness and base hypocrisy. Every act of our lives, whether excellent and praiseworthy, or deserving of censure, is judged by the Searcher of hearts according to the motives which prompted it. GW 275.3

Many neglect to look at themselves in the mirror which reveals the defects in the character; therefore deformity and sin exist, and are apparent to others, if not understood by those who are in fault. The hateful sin of selfishness exists to a great degree, even in some who profess to be devoted to the work of God. If they would compare their character with His requirements, especially with the great standard, God's holy law, they would ascertain, if earnest, honest searchers, that they are fearfully wanting. But some are not willing to look far enough or deep enough to see the depravity of their own hearts. They are wanting in very many respects, yet they remain in willing ignorance of their guilt. GW 275.4

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He who understands well his own character, who is acquainted with the sin that most easily besets him, and the temptations that are the most likely to overcome him, should not expose himself needlessly, and invite temptation by placing himself on the enemy's ground. If duty calls him where circumstances are not favorable, he will have special help from God, and can thus go fully girded for a conflict with the enemy. GW 276.1

Self-knowledge will save many from falling into grievous temptations, and prevent many an inglorious defeat. In order to become acquainted with ourselves, it is essential that we faithfully investigate the motives and principles of our conduct, comparing our actions with the standard of duty revealed in God's word. GW 276.2