The Signs of the Times


April 3, 1893

Growth in Christian Experience



Through vital connection with Christ, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven will be unfolded, and according to your capacity to receive, the Lord will bless you, if you are willing and obedient. But the young Christian may often be brought into strait places, and into trying circumstances, as were the children of Israel. Of old the Lord brought his people into these trying places that he might finally bring them blessing. He says: “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” God knew what was in the hearts of his people before he brought trial upon them; but they were ignorant of the condition of their own hearts. Under trial and test their deficiencies were made manifest, and they felt indeed that they had not understood themselves. But the fierce flames of trial and temptation did not consume them, but rather worked for their purification and refinement, and aided them in the development of Christlike character. ST April 3, 1893, par. 1

Let the young Christian seek to fulfill all the responsibilities that devolve upon him, and meet obstacles and difficulties with courage, keeping an eye single to the glory of God, that his profiting may appear unto all. In whatever circumstances you may be placed, the Lord designs that you shall find his grace sufficient, that your love may abound more and more, that you may approve things that are excellent, and be filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Christ Jesus, unto the glory and praise of God. But unless the Christian continues to grow, he will retrograde, and his experience will become sickly and be fruitless of good. Jesus says, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” ST April 3, 1893, par. 2

In order to bear much fruit, we must make the most of our privileges and opportunities, becoming more and more spiritually minded. We must put away all commonness, all pride, all worldliness, and daily receive divine aid. If you grow spiritually, you must employ all the means which the gospel provides, and be prepared to gain in piety by the influence of the Holy Spirit; for the seed is developed from blade to full corn by unseen and supernatural agencies. The promise with which Jesus consoled his disciples just before his betrayal and crucifixion was that of the Holy Spirit; and in the doctrine of divine influence and agency, what riches were revealed to them; for this blessing would bring in its train all other blessings. The Holy Spirit breathes upon the soul who humbly rests on Christ, as the author and finisher of his faith; and from such a believer fruit will come forth unto life eternal. His influence will be fragrant, and the name of Jesus will be music in his ears, and melody in his heart. ST April 3, 1893, par. 3

The Christian will be a savor of life unto life to others, although he may not be able to explain the mysteries of his experience. But he will know that when clouds and darkness compassed him about, and he cried unto the Lord, the darkness was dispersed, and peace and joy were in the temple of the soul. He will know what it is to have the pardoning love of God revealed to the heart, to experience the peace that passeth all understanding, to have praise and thanksgiving and adoration welling up in the soul unto him who has loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. He has peace through Jesus Christ, and joy in the Holy Ghost. One with Christ, his soul is filled with submission to his will, and heaven is enshrined in his heart while he is enfolded in the bosom of infinite love. Christians of this order will bear much fruit to the glory of God. They will rightly interpret the character of God, and manifest his attributes unto the world. ST April 3, 1893, par. 4

Jesus illustrated the compassionate mercy and tender love of God in many of the parables that he uttered, and in his own life and character he gave us an exhibition of infinite love. He represents himself as the life of the world. He says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” There is no growth where there is no life. Where there is no life, there is no fruit. ST April 3, 1893, par. 5

But how shall we know that we are in Christ?—We may know it by the character of our fruit. The fruit borne on the Christian tree is holiness of heart,—wholeness to Christ. God will be in the thoughts of the Christian, and he will love those for whom Christ has died. He will follow in the path of self-denial, and his life will be fragrant with the love of Jesus. He will delight more in contemplation of the love of God than in anything earth can offer. He will prefer his plain, homely duties rather than romantic novelties, and will be satisfied with the place God has appointed him. When the heart is renewed by the Spirit of God, when consecration to God is maintained, there can be only love and thankfulness and praise in the heart, because Jesus is within, the hope of glory, and they live as seeing him who is invisible. Christ is in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life, and the true follower of Christ strengthens the good purposes of everyone with whom he comes in contact. Such believers are living, growing Christians. They carry with them the fragrance of holiness, and are reaching on to the measure of the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. ST April 3, 1893, par. 6