God the Dependence of His People

February 22, 2010

Those who bear the message of mercy to perishing souls must themselves be under the discipline of God. The Lord is waiting to qualify men to carry his word to those that are afar off and to those that are nigh. He speaks to his people, warning them not to corrupt their simplicity and their trust in the Lord by sinking their individuality in any living person. The Lord will teach all who will seek him for wisdom, whatever their calling or profession. "Obey them that have the rule over you," he says, "and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief." Those who give evidence that they are chosen of God will fulfill these specifications. The soul that is imbued with the Spirit of Christ becomes one with Christ in his deep, unresting love for perishing souls. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, and he works through the human instrument.

Human beings desire too much power. They desire to control, and the Lord God, the mighty worker, is left out of their work. The workmen feel qualified to hold the highest place. Let no man attempt to manage that work which should be left in the hands of the great I AM, who, in his own way, is planning how the work shall be done. The Lord says to the unfaithful stewards, Stand out of the way, and let the Lord's voice be heard. He waits not for the human voice to be heard before he works by his might and power. The message of the third angel will be proclaimed, and those who do not advance with it in knowledge and consecration will be left behind. God is the instructor of his servants, and he speaks through whom he will.

At the taking of Jericho the mighty General of armies planned the battle in such simplicity that no human being could take the glory to himself. No human hand must cast down the walls of the city, lest man should take to himself the glory of the victory. So today no human being is to take to himself glory for the work he accomplishes. The Lord alone is to be magnified. Oh that men would see the necessity of looking to God for their orders! The Holy Spirit will descend, and take up his abode in the heart of the sincere suppliant as he comes to the footstool of mercy. We are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace, believing that God hears and answers prayer. We have a great High Priest, who is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God. His promise to the children of men is, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." His dwelling-place is in every locality where men are seeking with honest hearts to do his work. "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them," Christ prayed; "that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."

The world's Redeemer worked in dependence upon the Father. "I came down from heaven," he said, "not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."

The eternal Father is waiting for us to take our eyes off finite man, and place our dependence on him. Then look not to man for your light and strength. Put not your trust in the arm of flesh. All your love and praise and exaltation are to be given to him who loved you and gave himself for you. Strive to be one with Christ as he was one with the Father; but in no case exalt man, not even the ablest speaker that ever lived. Lift up Jesus. Talk of him, extol his name, and by so doing your own hearts will be warmed and encouraged and strengthened. As the believer studies the word and beholds Christ, he will become more and more like Christ. Searching the Scriptures, he will learn of Christ, whom to know aright is life eternal.

The office work of the minister is not to attract people to himself. Christ declares, "Without me ye can do nothing." Then to whom do all your words of praise belong? Not to man. He may have talent and ability, but these are only lent him by God. He is not to take the place of the great power of God, for at best he is only God's instrumentality; God does his work through him. John the Baptist declared of himself that he was not that Light, but that he came to bear witness of the Light. To that Light he was ever pointing. His voice proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Let the minister of Christ direct every word of praise away from self; put self out of sight, and never feel that his work is well done until the mind's eye can see only Jesus, the crucified One.

Self-esteem and self-love are eating out the vitals of true godliness in the church. Many whose names are on the church books are not truly converted. They do not realize the necessity of having a personal connection with Christ. The heart that has not fallen on the Rock, Christ Jesus, is proud of its wholeness. Men desire a dignified religion; they would walk in a path wide enough to take in their own attributes. Their self-love, their love of praise, excludes the precious Saviour from the heart; for God can not accept any heart that is not wholly his.
How many there are who are ignorant of what it means to be a child of God, an heir of heaven! They have a sneer on their countenances, and in their hearts, for the simplicity of true godliness. They suppose that they have advanced beyond such weakness. To such the preaching of the cross is foolishness. They have no experience in it. It is unintelligible to them. They are wise in their own conceits, and know not that they are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." The True Witness says to them, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." To those who think that they have so great knowledge that they do not need to learn anything, God says, "I will bring to naught the understanding of the prudent." Those who are full of self-conceit, and think themselves wise should read the words of Inspiration through the apostle Paul: "Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. . . . Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
The Lord's ways are not man's ways. Our minds are often attracted to the great deeds of men; but who is it that gives to any man the capability to do? Is it not the divine Teacher? And should not all praise and honor flow back to him? Just as long as the praise of man is in your mind and on your lips, you place him where God should be. You are weak in moral power, and every time you utter one word of praise of man you become the agent of Satan to destroy. Let heaven register the praises of men. It is not safe for you to do it.

The words of the psalmist, "O God, thou hast taught me from my youth," may be true of every soul. God delights to teach those who will learn of him. The entrance of his word gives light and understanding to the simple. To all who will open their minds to comprehend the precious truths of his word, God will give knowledge that will make them wise unto salvation. We are to strike a keynote that will vibrate to every soul, and bring joy to the heavenly intelligences. Presenting the cross of Calvary, we are to cry, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." When we shall cease to trust in man, and shall make God our efficiency, we shall see the earth filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. {Review and Herald, October 16, 1900}


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