Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists


The Christian's Strength

“With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10. HS 129.4

According to this, there is something to believe, also something to confess. The heart must first accept the truth as it is in Jesus. This is the foundation of true religion. Conviction of sin then begins to be felt; the sin-sick soul, feeling his need of a physician, comes to Jesus of Nazareth for pardon. Taking up the warfare against the enemy, he looks to Jesus for strength to resist temptation. He watches unto prayer, and searches the Scriptures. The truths of the Bible are seen in a new and intensely interesting light, and the Spirit of God opens to him their solemn importance. He studies the life of Christ, and the more clearly he discerns the spotless purity of the Saviour's character, the less confidence he has in his own goodness; the more steadily and closely he views Jesus, the less he discovers of perfection in himself. His self-righteousness disappears, and he falls, all helpless and broken, upon the Rock, Christ Jesus. He will be sorely pressed by the tempter, and at times may have feelings of discouragement, and be tempted to think that God will not accept him; but, taking God at his word, and pleading his sure promises, he presses through the darkness into the clear sunlight of Christ's love. HS 129.5

“And with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” If the heart is indeed the treasure-house of grace and the love of Christ, these will be expressed in the words and deportment. There will be a constant attraction to Christ. All will be tested; hence the need of divine grace, and of sound religious faith and principles. The lips should be sanctified, that the words spoken may be few and well chosen. HS 129.6

Oftentimes professed Christians bring upon themselves great spiritual weakness by dwelling upon their trials and grievances. Not only does the matter become magnified by every repetition, but they as surely separate from Jesus as they allow themselves to transgress in this particular. Satan seeks to draw their attention to themselves, and to fasten upon them the idea that they are not appreciated. They begin to pity and sympathize with themselves, and to lose faith and confidence in Jesus; and as the result they walk apart from him who asks them to cast their burdens upon him. HS 130.1

To such we would say, Recount what God has done for you. Tell Satan that you do not trust in your own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ. Keep the mind filled with the precious promises found in the Bible, and when Satan comes in like a flood to overwhelm you, meet him with the weapon which the word of God has provided, “It is written.” This will break his power and give you the victory. HS 130.2

Do not make it appear to any one that the road to heaven is an unpleasant path. Show by your words and actions that although this road is too straight and narrow to be entered with the burden of the world and of pride and self-importance, it is a precious way, cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. Although marked with trials and discouragements, it may be made, through faith and determined effort to defeat the enemy, a victorious, triumphant way. HS 130.3

We are pilgrims and strangers in this world; but we are traveling to a heavenly country. We shall meet with disappointments; but it is our privilege to turn every apparent defeat into a victory. Satan will contend for our souls every step of the way; but if we look over to Jesus, our present help in every time of need, he will lift up for us a standard against the enemy. Instead of complaining at every difficulty, we are to fight the good fight of faith, enduring hardness as good soldiers of the cross of Christ. The wounds and scars of our warfare will be to us, as to Paul, the trophies of victory. HS 130.4

I feel so thankful this morning that we can commit the keeping of our souls to God as unto a faithful Creator. Sometimes the enemy presses me the hardest with his temptations and darkness when I am about to speak to the people. I have such a sense of weakness that it seems like an impossibility to stand before the congregation. But if I should give up to my feelings, and say that I could not speak, the enemy would gain the victory. I dare not do this. I move right forward, take my place in the desk, and say, “Jesus, I hang my helpless soul on thee; thou wilt not suffer me to be brought to confusion,” and the Lord gives me the victory. HS 130.5

This was the case last Sabbath, and it has been my experience over and over again. Why is this? God honors my faith. I plead his promises, and he helps me. I have felt sometimes that I should fall in death while speaking, and perhaps this is the way I shall go. However this may be, I want to die at my post. I am not going to talk doubt and unbelief; neither will I dwell upon my infirmities. I will talk of Jesus and his power to save. It is “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” HS 130.6

Oh that I could impress upon all the importance of exercising faith moment by moment, and hour by hour! We are to live the life of faith; for “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Our spiritual strength depends upon our faith. When I know this, how can I keep silent upon this subject? The world's Redeemer says, “According to your faith be it unto you.” When you settle down in gloom and despondency, you sin against God; because it shows that you have not faith in Jesus. It shows to those around you that you do not take God at his word. When he has done so much to evince his love for you, how great this sin must appear in his sight! “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” HS 130.7

We do not know what faith really is until we try to exercise it. We all need more of that firm, persevering faith that Jacob manifested while wrestling with the angel on that eventful night. Few realize how severely his faith was tested at that time. He had separated himself from all earthly friends, that he might be alone with God. All who made life dear to him were exposed to danger and death. The bitterest drop in his cup of anguish was the thought that his own sin had brought this great peril upon his wives and children, who were innocent of the sin of which he was guilty. He had decided to spend the night in humiliation and prayer. God could soften the heart of his brother. God was his only refuge and strength. In a desolate place, infested by robbers and murderers, he bowed in deep distress upon the earth. His soul was rent with anguish, and with earnest cries mingled with tears he made his prayer before God. A strong hand is suddenly laid upon his shoulder. He immediately grapples his assailant, for he feels that this attack is a design upon his life; that he is in the hands of a robber or murderer. HS 131.1

The contest is severe; neither utters a word; but Jacob puts forth all his strength, and does not relax his efforts for a moment. Thus the struggle continues, until nearly the break of day, when the stranger places his finger upon Jacob's thigh and he is crippled instantly. The patriarch now discerns the character of his great antagonist. He knows that he has been in bodily conflict with a heavenly messenger, and that this is why his almost superhuman efforts did not gain for him the victory. He is now disabled, and suffering the keenest pain; but he will not loosen his hold. He falls, a conquered foe, all penitent and broken, upon the neck of the angel. HS 131.2

The divine messenger tries to release himself from the grasp of Jacob. He pleads with him, “Let me go, for the day breaketh.” But Jacob has been pleading the promises of God; he has been urging his pledged word, which is as unfailing as his throne; and now, through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal can make terms with the heavenly messenger: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” What boldness is here manifested! What lofty faith! what perseverance and holy trust! Had this been a boastful, presumptuous claim, Jacob would have been instantly destroyed. But his was the assurance of one who realizes his weakness and unworthiness, yet trusts the faithfulness of God to fulfill his promise. The mistake which had led to Jacob's sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud was now open before him. He had not trusted God and his promises as he should have done. He had become impatient, and had sought by his own efforts to bring about that which God was abundantly able to perform in his own time and way. HS 131.3

The angel inquired of Jacob, “What is thy name?” And when Jacob answered, he said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob [the supplanter], but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Jacob received the blessing for which his soul had longed; his sin as a supplanter and deceiver was pardoned. The crisis in his life had passed. God shows, in his dealing with Jacob, that he will not sanction the least wrong in any of his children; neither will he cast off and leave to despair and destruction those who are deceived and tempted and betrayed into sin. Doubt, perplexity, and remorse had imbittered Jacob's life; but now all was changed, and how sweet was the rest and peace in God, in the assurance of his restored favor. HS 132.1

It is the privilege of every one of us, like Jacob, to prevail with God. But the query arises, How can we believe that we shall receive the things we ask for, when we have no evidence that we shall? God's word is pledged. Is not that sufficient evidence? If we grasp the promises by living faith, trusting entirely in Jesus, the blessing will come in due time. It may not come in the way we expect; but it will come in the way that God directs, and by the means that he chooses to employ. Satan may tempt you to think that the Lord has forgotten you; but tell him that the word of the Lord standeth sure, having this seal, “The Lord knoweth them that are his;” and keep on praying. HS 132.2

Again: Satan may try to tempt you by saying that God will not have pity upon you and hear your prayers, because you are such a sinner. Do not listen to his story; but throw right into his face the words of our Saviour, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” If we were not sinners, we would have no need of a Saviour. We are sick with sin from the crown of our head to the sole of our feet, and this is why we need a Physician. While we are not to approach the throne of God in self-righteousness and self-sufficiency, thinking that we have any goodness to recommend us to him; while we are not to forget our weakness and sinfulness, it is at the same time our duty to believe that Jesus will impart to us of his healing, strengthening power. Our faith must grasp the eternal. We must move from principle, looking not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen. HS 132.3

It is difficult to exercise living faith when we are in darkness and discouragement. But this of all others is the very time when we should exercise faith. “But,” says one, “I do not feel at such times like praying in faith.” Well, then, will you allow Satan to gain the victory, simply because you do not feel like resisting him? When he sees that you have the greatest need of divine aid, he will try the hardest to beat you back from God. If he can keep you away from the Source of strength, he knows that you will walk in darkness and sin. There is no sin greater than unbelief. And when there is unbelief in the heart, there is danger that it will be expressed. The lips should be kept in as with bit and bridle, lest by giving expression to this unbelief you not only exert an injurious influence over others, but place yourselves upon the enemy's ground. HS 132.4

If we believe in God, we are armed with the righteousness of Christ; we have taken hold of his strength. The promise is, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” We want to talk with our Saviour as though he were right by our side. We should have our minds stayed upon him. We should hold communion with him while we walk by the way, and while our hands are engaged in labor. If you will do this, you will not dishonor your Redeemer by talking to every one about your darkness and unworthiness. Go, tell it to Jesus; and he will lift up for you a standard against the enemy, and will cause the light of joy and gladness to come into your hearts. HS 132.5

It is our privilege to carry with us the credentials of our faith,—love, joy, and peace. When we do this, we shall be able to present the mighty arguments of the cross of Christ. When we learn to walk by faith and not by feeling, we shall have help from God just when we need it, and his peace will come into our hearts. It was this simple life of obedience and trust that Enoch lived. If we learn this lesson of simple trust, ours may be the testimony that he received, that he pleased God. Then instead of mourning and bitter repining, we shall make melody in our hearts to the Lord. “In the world,” says Christ, “ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” HS 133.1

Tuesday morning, September 22.