The Review and Herald

162/1902

April 8, 1880

The Trial of Our Faith

EGW

God leads his people on, step by step. He brings them into positions which are calculated to reveal the motives of the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advance step the heart is tested, and tried a little closer. If any find their hearts opposed to the straight work of God, it should convince them that they have a work to do in overcoming, or they will be finally rejected of the Lord. RH April 8, 1880, par. 1

This world is the place in which to prepare to appear in God's presence. Individuals will here show what power affects their hearts, and controls their actions. If it is the power of divine truth, it will lead them to good works, and make them noble-hearted and generous, like their divine Lord. But, on the other hand, selfishness, covetousness, and pride will manifest themselves as the sure result of yielding to evil impulses. RH April 8, 1880, par. 2

All who become connected with the cause of God will have opportunity to know what is in their hearts. If they prize anything higher than the truth, their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus, and he is consequently shut out. If individuals, when tested, refuse to sacrifice their idols, and overcome selfishness, pride, and evil passions, it will be said of them as of Ephraim of old, They are joined to their idols, let them alone; and the Spirit of God will leave them with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. RH April 8, 1880, par. 3

Many who profess to be Christ's followers are unwilling to closely examine their own hearts, to see whether they have passed from death unto life. Some lean upon an old experience, seeming to think a mere profession of the truth will save them; but God's word reveals the terrible fact that all such are cherishing a false hope. It would be more pleasing to God if such professors of religion had never taken his name, since they are a continual stumbling block to unbelievers, and evil angels exult over their crooked course. Such are a curse to the cause at home or abroad. They draw nigh to God with their lips, while their hearts are far from him. When those sins which God hates are subdued, then Jesus will come into their hearts, and they may commune with him; they may increase in divine strength day by day, and be able with holy triumph to say, “Blessed be God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” RH April 8, 1880, par. 4

The people of God should not imitate the fashions of the world. All who do this will gradually lose that peculiar, holy character which should distinguish them as God's people. In these last days some of the fashions are shameful and immodest. If God's professed people had not greatly departed from him, there would now be a marked difference between their dress and that of the world. We are living in a time when earth's inhabitants are growing more and more corrupt, and the line of distinction must be more plain between them and the Israel of God, or the curse which falls upon worldlings will fall on God's professed people. RH April 8, 1880, par. 5

The following scriptures furnish clear and unmistakable directions for those who would learn God's will: “In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9, 10. “Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time, the holy women also who trusted in God, adorned themselves.” 1 Peter 3:3-5. RH April 8, 1880, par. 6

Young and old, God is now testing you. You are now deciding your own eternal destiny. Pride, fashion, empty conversation, and selfishness are evils which, if fostered, will increase, and choke the good seed sown in your hearts, till soon the word will be spoken concerning you, as was said of Eli's house, that your sins shall not be purged with sacrifices nor offerings forever. Oh, that every lukewarm professor could realize what will be required of him, in order to pass the close and searching test of the Judgment. Dear readers, do not deceive yourselves concerning your condition. You cannot deceive God. Says the True Witness, “I know thy works.” RH April 8, 1880, par. 7

The sin of this age is disregard of God's express commands. The power of influence in a wrong direction is very great. Yet there are those who recklessly place themselves in scenes of danger and peril, and expose themselves to temptations, out of which it would require a miracle of God to bring them unharmed and untainted. These are presumptuous acts, with which God is not pleased. Satan's temptation to the Saviour of the world to cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple, was firmly met and resisted. The arch-enemy quoted a promise of God as security, that Christ might with safety do this on the strength of the promise. Jesus met this temptation with Scripture: “It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” In the same way Satan urges men into places where God does not require them to go, presenting Scripture to justify his suggestions. RH April 8, 1880, par. 8

The precious promises of God are not given to strengthen man in a presumptuous course, or for him to rely upon when he rushes needlessly into danger. God requires us to move with a humble dependence upon his providence. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. Nothing can be done prosperously without the permission and blessing of God. He can set his hand to prosper and bless, or he can turn his hand against us. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.” We are required, as children of God, to maintain the consistency of our Christian character. We should exercise prudence, caution, and humility, and walk circumspectly toward them that are without. Yet we are not in any case to surrender principle. RH April 8, 1880, par. 9

Our only safety is in giving no place to the devil; for his suggestions and purposes are ever to injure us, and hinder us from relying upon God. He transforms himself into an angel of purity, that he may, through his specious temptations, introduce his devices in such a manner that we may not discern his wiles. The more we yield, the more powerful will be his deceptions over us. It is unsafe to controvert or to parley with him. For every advantage we give the enemy, he will claim more. Our only safety is to reject firmly the first insinuation to presumption. God has given us grace through the merits of Christ sufficient to withstand Satan, and be more than conquerors. Resistance is success. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Resistance must be firm and steadfast. We lose all we gain if we resist today only to yield tomorrow. RH April 8, 1880, par. 10