God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.) 2 Cor. 9:8, 9
Many are longing to grow in grace; they pray over the matter, and are surprised that their prayers are not answered. The Master has given them a work to do whereby they shall grow. Of what value is it to pray when there is need of work? The question is, Are they seeking to save souls for whom Christ died? Spiritual growth depends upon giving to others the light that God has given to you. You are to put forth your best thoughts in active labor to do good, and only good, in your family, in your church, and in your neighborhood.
In place of growing anxious with the thought that you are not growing in grace, just do every duty that presents itself, carry the burden of souls on your heart, and by every conceivable means seek to save the lost. Be kind, be courteous, be pitiful; speak in humility of the blessed hope; talk of the love of Jesus; tell of His goodness, His mercy, and His righteousness; and cease to worry as to whether or not you are growing. Plants do not grow through any conscious effort. . . . The plant is not in continual worriment about its growth; it just grows under the supervision of God.
The only way to grow in grace is to be interestedly doing the very work Christ has enjoined upon us to do–interestedly engaged to the very extent of our ability to be helping and blessing those who need the help we can give them. . . . Christians who are constantly growing in earnestness, in zeal, in fervor, in love–such Christians never backslide. . . . Their wisdom is increasing, their ability how to work. They seem to comprehend the largest plans. They are ready to engage in the most stirring enterprises, and they have no room for slothfulness; they cannot find a place for stagnation.
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The treasures of grace are absolutely unlimited.
From My Life Today – Page 108
The Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Ps. 84:11
There are many who do not grow in grace because they fail of cultivating home religion.
The members of the family are to show that they are in constant possession of a power received from Christ. They are to improve in every habit and practice, thus showing that they keep constantly before them what it means to be a Christian.
Those who are Christians in the home will be Christians in the church and in the world.
Grace can thrive only in the heart that is being constantly prepared for the precious seeds of truth. The thorns of sin will grow in any soil; they need no cultivation; but grace must be carefully cultivated. The briers and thorns are always ready to spring up, and the work of purification must advance continually.
That which will make the character lovely in the home is that which will make it lovely in the heavenly mansions. If you are . . . to be the light of the world, that light is to shine in your home. Here you are to exemplify the Christian graces, to be lovable, patient, kind, yet firm. . . . You need to seek constantly the highest culture of mind and soul. . . . As a humble child of God, learn in the school of Christ; seek constantly to improve your powers, that you may do the most perfect, thorough work at home, by both precept and example. . . . Let the light of heavenly grace irradiate your character, that there may be sunlight in the home.
The measure of your Christianity is gauged by the character of your home life. The grace of Christ enables its possessors to make the home a happy place, full of peace and rest.
From My Life Today – Page 107
Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18
God requires that every human agent shall improve all the means of grace Heaven has provided, and become more and more efficient in the work of God. Every provision has been made that the piety, purity, and love of the Christian shall ever increase, that his talents may double and his ability increase in the service of his divine Master. But though this provision has been made, many who profess to believe in Jesus do not make it manifest by growth that testifies to the sanctifying power of the truth upon life and character. When we first receive Jesus into our hearts, we are as babes in religion; but we are not to remain babes in experience. We are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; we are to attain to the full measure of the stature of men and women in Him. We are to make advances, to gain new and rich experiences through faith, growing in trust and confidence and love, knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.
The work of transformation from unholiness to holiness is a continuous one. Day by day God labors for man’s sanctification, and man is to cooperate with Him, putting forth persevering efforts in the cultivation of right habits. He is to add grace to grace; and as he thus works on the plan of addition, God works for him on the plan of multiplication. Our Saviour is always ready to hear and answer the prayer of the contrite heart, and grace and peace are multiplied to His faithful ones. Gladly He grants them the blessings they need in their struggle against the evils that beset them. . . . Glorious is the hope before the believer as he advances by faith toward the heights of Christian perfection!
From My Life Today – Page 106
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, . . . and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:4-7
We would never have learned the meaning of this word “grace” had we not fallen. God loves the sinless angels who do His service and are obedient to all His commands, but He does not give them grace. These heavenly beings know naught of grace; they have never needed it, for they have never sinned. Grace is an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings. We did not seek after it, but it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow this grace on everyone who hungers for it, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our need is the qualification which gives us the assurance that we will receive this gift.
But God does not use this grace to make His law of none effect or to take the place of His law. “The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honorable.” His law is truth. . . .
God’s grace and the law of His kingdom are in perfect harmony; they walk hand in hand. His grace makes it possible for us to draw nigh to Him by faith. By receiving it, and letting it work in our lives, we testify to the validity of the law; we exalt the law and make in honorable by carrying out its living principles. . . .
How may we witness for God? . . . By rendering pure, wholehearted obedience to God’s law. If we will let Him, He will manifest Himself in us, and we shall be witnesses, before the universe of heaven and before an apostate world who are making void the law of God, to the power of redemption.
There is but one power that can bring us into conformity to the likeness of Christ, that can make us steadfast and keep us constant. It is the grace of God that comes to us through obedience to the law of God.
From My Life Today – Page 105
By the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Cor. 15:10
There are those who attempt to ascend the ladder of Christian progress; but as they advance, they begin to put their trust in the power of man, and soon lose sight of Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith. The result is failure–the loss of all that has been gained. Sad indeed is the condition of those who, becoming weary of the way, allow the enemy of souls to rob them of the Christian graces.
The love of God in the soul will have a direct influence upon the life and will call the intellect and the affections into active, healthful exercise. The child of God will not rest satisfied until he is clothed with the righteousness of Christ and sustained by His life-giving power. When he sees a weakness in his character, it is not enough to confess it again and again; he must go to work with determination and energy to overcome his defects by building up opposite traits of character. He will not shun this work because it is difficult. Untiring energy is required of the Christian; but he is not obliged to work in his own strength; divine power awaits his demand. Everyone who is sincerely striving for the victory over self will appropriate the promise, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
Through personal effort joined with the prayer of faith the soul is trained. Day by day the character grows into the likeness of Christ. . . . It may cost a severe conflict to overcome habits which have been long indulged, but we may triumph through the grace of Christ. . . .
If we are true to the promptings of the Spirit of God, we shall go on from grace to grace and from glory to glory until we shall receive the finishing touch of immortality.
From My Life Today – Page 104
But thou, O man of God, . . . follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 1 Tim. 6:11
We must have a close and intimate connection with heaven, if we bear the grace of godliness. Jesus must be a guest in our homes, a member of our households, if we reflect His image and show that we are sons and daughters of the Most High. Religion is a beautiful thing in the home. If the Lord abides with us, we shall feel that we are members of Christ’s family in heaven. We shall realize that angels are watching us, and our manners will be gentle and forbearing. We shall be fitting up for an entrance into the courts of heaven by cultivating courtesy and godliness. . . .
Enoch walked with God. He honored God in every affair of life. In his home and in his business he inquired, “Will this be acceptable to the Lord?” And by remembering God and following His counsel, he was transformed in character, and became a godly man, whose ways pleased the Lord. We are exhorted to add to godliness, brotherly kindness. O how much we need to take this step, to add this quality to our characters! . . . We should have that love for others that Christ has had for us. A man is estimated at his true value by the Lord of heaven. If he is unkind in his earthly home, he is unfit for the heavenly home. If he will have his own way, no matter whom it grieves, he would not be content in heaven, unless he could rule there. The love of Christ must control our hearts. . . . Seek God with a broken and contrite spirit, and you will be melted with compassion toward your brethren. You will be prepared to add to brotherly kindness, charity, or love. . . .
It will bring heaven nearer to us. We may have the sweet peace and consolation of God in doing this work. These steps will take us into the atmosphere of heaven.
From My Life Today – Page 103
Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:4
“And to knowledge, temperance.” This is the third step in the path toward perfection of character. On every side there is indulgence and dissipation, and the result is degeneration and corruption. The inhabitants of our earth are depreciating in mental, moral, and physical power, because of the intemperate habits of society. Appetite, passion, and love of display are carrying the multitudes into the greatest excesses and extravagance. . . . The people of God must take an opposite course from the world. They must take up the warfare against these sinful practices, deny appetite, and keep the lower nature in subjection. . . . It is for us to “search the Scriptures,” and bring our habits into harmony with the instruction of the Bible. . . .
“And to temperance, patience.” The need of becoming temperate is made manifest as we try to take this step. It is next to an impossibility for an intemperate person to be patient.
Some of us have a nervous temperament, and are naturally as quick as a flash to think and to act; but let no one think that he cannot learn to become patient. Patience is a plant that will make rapid growth if carefully cultivated. By becoming thoroughly acquainted with ourselves, and then combining with the grace of God a firm determination on our part, we may be conquerors, and become perfect in all things, wanting in nothing.
Patience pours the balm of peace and love into the experiences of the home life. . . . Patience will seek for unity in the church, in the family, and in the community. This grace must be woven into our lives.
From My Life Today – Page 102
His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. 2 Peter 1:3
After receiving the faith of the gospel, our first work is to seek to add virtuous and pure principles, and thus cleanse the mind and heart for the reception of true knowledge.
The apostle has presented before us the importance of making continual advancement in the Christian life. There is no excuse for our lack of spiritual understanding. . . .
Faith is the first round in the ladder of advancement. Without faith it is impossible to please God. But many stop on this round and never ascend higher. They seem to think that when they have professed Christ, when their names are on the church record, their work is completed. Faith is essential; but the Inspired Word says, “Add to your faith, virtue.” Those who are seeking for eternal life and a home in the kingdom of God must lay for their character building the foundation of virtue. Jesus must be the chief cornerstone. The things that defile the soul must be banished from the mind and life. When temptations are presented, they must be resisted in the strength of Christ. The virtue of the spotless Lamb of God must be woven into the character till the soul can stand in its integrity. . . . Joseph is an example of how the youth may stand unspotted, amid the evil of the world, and add to their faith, virtue. . . .
Every moment of our lives is intensely real, and charged with solemn responsibilities. Ignorance will be no excuse for lack of spiritual understanding and attainment; for we are exhorted to add to virtue, knowledge. . . . The uncultured fishermen became men of refinement and ability; and the lessons that they were privileged to learn are written for our admonition and instruction. We are invited to become learners in the school of Christ. We need to acquire all the knowledge possible.
From My Life Today – Page 101
Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8
These words are full of instruction, and strike the keynote of victory. The apostle presents before the believers the ladder of Christian progress, every step of which represents advancement in the knowledge of God, and in the climbing of which there is to be no standstill. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity are the rounds of the ladder. We are saved by climbing round after round, mounting step after step, to the height of Christ’s ideal for us. Thus He is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
All these successive steps are not to be kept before the mind’s eye, and counted as you start; but fixing the eye upon Jesus, with an eye single to the glory of God, you will make advancement. . . .
By taking one step after another, the highest ascent may be climbed, and the summit of the mount may be reached at last. Do not become overwhelmed with the great amount of work you must do in your lifetime, for you are not required to do it all at once. Let every power of your being go to each day’s work, improve each precious opportunity, appreciate the helps that God gives you, and make advancement up the ladder of progress step by step. Remember that you are to live but one day at a time, that God has given you one day, and heavenly records will show how you have valued its privileges and opportunities. May you so improve every day given you of God that at last you may hear the Master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
From My Life Today – Page 100
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Cor. 10:13
Christ will never abandon the soul for whom He has died. The soul may leave Him, and be overwhelmed with temptation; but Christ can never turn from one for whom He has paid the ransom of His own life. Could our spiritual vision be quickened, we should see souls bowed under oppression and burdened with grief, pressed as a cart beneath sheaves, and ready to die in discouragement. We should see angels flying swiftly to aid these tempted ones, who are standing as on the brink of a precipice. The angels from heaven force back the hosts of evil that encompass these souls, and guide them to plant their feet on the sure foundation. The battles waging between the two armies are as real as those fought by the armies of this world, and on the issue of the spiritual conflict eternal destinies depend.
To us, as to Peter, the word is spoken, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Thank God, we are not left alone.
We are coming to the crisis. Let us stand the test manfully, grasping the hand of Infinite Power. God will work for us. We have only to live one day at a time, and if we get acquainted with God, He will give us strength for what is coming tomorrow, grace sufficient for each day, and every day will find its own victories, just as it finds its trials. We shall have the power of the Highest with us, for we shall be clad with the armor of Christ’s righteousness. We have the same God that has worked for His people in ages past. Jesus stands by our side, and shall we falter?–No, as the trials come, the power of God will come with them. God will help us to stand in faith on His Word, and when we are united, He will work with special power in our behalf.
From My Life Today – Page 99