The Review and Herald

840/1902

August 25, 1896

Our Battle With Evil

EGW

The will of man is aggressive, and is constantly striving to bend all things to its purposes. If it is enlisted on the side of God and right, the fruits of the Spirit will appear in the life; and God has appointed glory, honor, and peace to every man that worketh good. RH August 25, 1896, par. 1

When Satan is permitted to mold the will, he uses it to accomplish his ends. He often works under cover as an angel of light. He has synagogues for worship, and an immense number of followers. But with all his high professions, he is at enmity with God. He instigates theories of unbelief, and stirs up the human heart to war against the word of God. With persistent, persevering effort, he seeks to inspire men with his own energies of hate and antagonism to God, and to array them in opposition to the institutions and requirements of Heaven and the operations of the Holy Spirit. He enlists under his standard all evil agencies, and brings them into the battle-field under his generalship to oppose evil against good. RH August 25, 1896, par. 2

It is Satan's work to dethrone God from the heart, and to mold human nature into his own image of moral deformity. He stirs up the evil propensities, awakening unholy passions and ambitions. He says, “All this power, these honors, and riches, and sinful pleasures, will I give thee;” but his conditions are that integrity shall be yielded, conscience blunted. Thus he degrades the human faculties, and brings them into captivity to sin. RH August 25, 1896, par. 3

God calls upon men to oppose the powers of evil. He says: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” RH August 25, 1896, par. 4

The Christian life is a warfare. But “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” In this conflict of righteousness against unrighteousness, we can be successful only by divine aid. Our finite will must be brought into submission to the will of the Infinite; the human will must be blended with the divine. This will bring the Holy Spirit to our aid; and every conquest will tend to the recovery of God's purchased possession, to the restoration of his image in the soul. RH August 25, 1896, par. 5

The Lord Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit; for it is his representative. Through it he infuses spiritual life into the soul, quickening its energies for good, cleansing from moral defilement, and giving it a fitness for his kingdom. Jesus has large blessings to bestow, rich gifts to distribute among men. He is the wonderful Counselor, infinite in wisdom and strength; and if we will acknowledge the power of his Spirit, and submit to be molded by it, we shall stand complete in him. What a thought is this! In Christ “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him.” Never will the human heart know happiness until it is submitted to be molded by the Spirit of God. The Spirit conforms the renewed soul to the model, Jesus Christ. Through its influence, enmity against God is changed into faith and love, and pride into humility. The soul perceives the beauty of truth, and Christ is honored in excellence and perfection of character. As these changes are affected, angels break out in rapturous song, and God and Christ rejoice over souls fashioned after the divine similitude. RH August 25, 1896, par. 6

It is by contemplating Christ, by exercising faith in him, by experiencing for ourselves his saving grace, that we are qualified to present him to the world. When the soul is renovated through the truth and brought into harmony with God, the Lord will accept us as workers together with himself, for the salvation of others. Jesus will be our theme; his love burning upon the altar of our hearts, will reach the hearts of the people. The truth will be presented, not as a cold, lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. But the power is of God through his Holy Spirit, which works effectually on hearts and minds. When Jesus left to his disciples the work which he had begun, he charged them: “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” And he promised, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” And the disciples “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,” waiting for the fulfillment of the promise. RH August 25, 1896, par. 7

We should pray as earnestly for the descent of the Holy Spirit as the disciples prayed on the day of Pentecost. If they needed it at that time, we need it more today. All manner of false doctrines, heresies, and deceptions are misleading the minds of men; and without the Spirit's aid, our efforts to present divine truth will be in vain. RH August 25, 1896, par. 8

We are living in the time of the Holy Spirit's power. It is seeking to diffuse itself through the agency of humanity, thus increasing its influence in the world. For if any man drinks of the water of life, it will be in him “a well of water springing up into everlasting life;” and the blessing will not be confined to himself, but will be shared by others. RH August 25, 1896, par. 9

On occasions when the Holy Spirit has manifested its power among our churches or in our schools, some have given it a mere formal acknowledgment; others have met it with unbelief and resistance; and still others have given the heavenly Guest a confined range, limiting its power and its operations. It has been looked upon as an element to be restricted, controlled. The Spirit of God has unconfined range of the heavenly universe; and it is not the province of finite human minds to limit its power or prescribe its operations. Let no one pronounce judgment upon the Holy Spirit; for it will pronounce judgment upon those who do this. RH August 25, 1896, par. 10

To reject the Holy Spirit, through whose power we conquer the forces of evil, is the sin that surpasses all others; for it cuts us off from the source of our power,—from Christ and communion with him. When there is a manifest awakening in church or school, and it is evident that the Holy Spirit is working, the first intimation of the heavenly influence should be honored. Let the routine of study or work be secondary, and let every one co-operate with the divine agency, with hearty thanksgiving that God has visited his people. RH August 25, 1896, par. 11

The warfare between good and evil has not grown less fierce than it was in the days of the Saviour. The path to heaven is no smoother now than it was then. All our sins must be put away. Every darling indulgence that hinders our religious life must be cut off. The right eye or the right hand must be sacrificed, if it causes us to offend. Are we willing to renounce our own wisdom, and to receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child? Are we willing to part with our self-righteousness? Are we willing to sacrifice the approbation of men? The prize of eternal life is of infinite value. Are we willing to welcome the Holy Spirit's aid, and co-operate with it, putting forth efforts and making sacrifices proportionate to the value of the object to be obtained? RH August 25, 1896, par. 12

The exhortation of the Spirit of God is of peculiar force at this time: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” RH August 25, 1896, par. 13