Lilies in the City - May/June 2018 - Issue 26
best! Goodness & Faith
IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST
Faith Through the
HOW TO EXPERIENCE GOODNESS BY FAITH
See Staff Picks!
6 16 22 2
Lily Lifestyle Lily Eats Practical Lily Social Lily
6 In the Life of Christ: Faith 14 In the Life of Christ: Goodness 16 Faith Through the Ages 10 Blueberry Muffins
18 Taste and See 22 How to Experience Genuine Goodness by Faith
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are taken from the Authorized Version of the Bible (The King James Version). 3
“God cares more about you being happy than your being good.” I still remember those words from a favourite speaker—distinct and full of meaning. There was more however, his sentence didn’t end there: “But God knows that in your being good, you will be happy.” Goodness is best defined as “uprightness of heart and life.” There is a principle found throughout the Bible which tells how the thoughts of the heart (the mind) lay the foundation for the actions of the life (see Prov. 23:7 and Matt. 12:34). Interestingly enough, it’s found throughout psychology too. This principle translates simply to, “You’re sad because you’ve first thought of being sad,” or “you’re happy because you think you’re happy.” True goodness then is an underlying principle of life: it must come from the heart. But as Jesus said unto the rich young ruler, “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mk 10:18). So, how does goodness get in the heart? It must first be born of the Holy Spirit and then implanted there. But being good is not enough: we are not saved by what we do. We’re saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). Faith, another heaven-born gift, needs to be exercised also. The wise King Solomon asked, “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find” (Prov. 20:6)? True happiness comes from being good and faithful. In this issue we explore the practical realities of two more virtues of the fruit of the Spirit: goodness and living faith. May the Lord “fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power” in each of our lives (2 Thess. 1:11).
Almarie Hill Editor-in-Chief
Akilah Ballard Financial Manager
Delnita McDavid Associate Editor
"The lily on the lake strikes its roots down deep beneath the surface of rubbish and slime, and through its porous stem draws those properties that will aid its development, and bring to light its spotless blossom to repose in purity on the bosom of the lake. It refuses all that would tarnish and mar its spotless beauty. We may learn a lesson from the lily, and although surrounded with influences that would tend to corrupt the morals and bring ruin upon the soul, we may refuse to be corrupted, and place ourselves where evil association shall not corrupt our hearts." Have Any Questions For The Lilies Staff? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org Photography: Gladstone Brown (pgs. 2,22, 25) Layout & Design: Abiola Osinjolu
IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST
â€“ Ikemba Balogu
IS EXPECTING THE WORD
OF GOD TO DO PRECISELY WHAT
THAT WORD SAYS IT WILL DO AND
DEPENDING UPON THAT WORD TO DO EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS."
mong Christians, faith is a familiar term often used within various discourses. But sadly, it is increasingly evident that although freely using this term, they do not know what faith is and consequently, do not know how to exercise faith. Therefore, we are led to two inquiries: (1) what is faith? and (2) how do I exercise faith?
First, what is faith? One may say: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). And we agree. That is indeed the definition of faith. But, suffice it to say, just as there is a great difference between knowing the definition of swimming and knowing what swimming itself is, there is also a wide difference between knowing the definition of faith and knowing what faith itself is. One is the description of the thing and the other is the thing itself. Now, it is written: “Faith comes by….the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). And in another place, we read that “Jesus” is the “Author… of our faith” (Heb. 11:2). Therefore, as faith comes by the word of God and as Jesus is the Author of our faith, it inevitably follows that Jesus, as revealed in the word of God, is the only way to know what faith is. Hence, to the Word of God we must look for faith and through Jesus as revealed in that Word we must receive it. Thus, let us look that we may receive it.
– Nadia Agnant
In the eighth chapter of book of Matthew, there is set forth, in grand simplicity, just what faith is. For in that chapter, a centurion approached Jesus and said unto him: “Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed… When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matt. 8:5-10). 7
WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE WORD OF GOD."
There is where Jesus declared what faith is. Therefore, by finding what Jesus calls “faith,” even “great faith,” we may know what faith is. What, then, was it that Jesus declared as “faith”? The centurion wanted the Lord to heal his servant. So the Lord said, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion, instead of accepting this offer of the Lord to come and heal his servant, said: “Speak the word ONLY and my servant shall be healed.” Then, what did the centurion expect to do the work of healing his servant? “The word ONLY.” And what did the centurion depend on for the healing of his servant? “The word ONLY.” Thus, faith is expecting the word of God to do precisely what that word says it will do and depending upon that word to do exactly what it says. This, and this alone, is “the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). Secondly, how do I exercise faith? The answer is found in the Word of God as revealed in the same discourse between Christ and the centurion. As mentioned earlier, the centurion desired that the Lord would do for him a certain thing. The centurion expected that “the word only” would do the work and he depended upon “the word only” to do the work. And Jesus called that “faith,” even “great faith.” Mark that. The centurion did not expect within himself to do the thing that the Lord had spoken. No, that is not faith and therefore, that is not how faith is to be exercised. Because to expect to do what the Lord had spoken of himself and by himself, would be to deny the life and power in the 8
word and would have been to depend completely upon himself to do that thing... But time and time again, have not you expected to do what the word says? And have you not depended upon yourself to do what the word says, instead of depending upon the word itself to do what it says? Then have you not directly denied the life and power in that word to do what it says? Thus, you did not exercise faith because it was altogether of yourself and not of God. Furthermore, the centurion did not even expect the Lord to do the thing that the Lord had spoken. That is to say, he did not expect the Lord to speak the word, and then, apart from the word and by some other way, do what that word said. This, just like the other, is not faith and therefore, that is not how faith is to be exercised. Because to expect the Lord to do, apart from His word and by some other way, the very thing that He had spoken would be to deny the life and power in the word itself and even further, deny that the Lord is capable of doing what He desires, solely by His word. But time and time again, have you not, while reading the word of God and desiring what the word says, turned away from that word and asked the Lord to do, for you and in you, what the word says? Then have you not directly denied the life and power in that word to do what it says? Consequently again, you did not exercise faith because you would not exercise it by the only means by which God would have it exercised and that is by His word. Thus, faith is exercised when you receive the word of God, “as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). This, and this alone, is how to exercise faith. Now, would you be faithful, full of faith? Would you exercise faith? For “the fruit of the Spirit is… faith”; and as Jesus Christ was given the Spirit without measure, we beseech you: “ask, and it shall be given you.” “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” “for every one that asketh receiveth.” “Be filled with” “the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Gal. 5:22, 23; Matt. 7:7; Jn. 20:22; Matt. 7:8; Eph. 5:18; 4:30).
Blueberry Muffins – Angelique Manning DRY INGREDIENTS
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour ¾ cup organic cane sugar 2 teaspoons Ener-G baking powder ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
¾ cup non-dairy milk (I used almond but any non-dairy milk is fine. Use more milk if needed) ½ cup light oil (I used coconut but you can use any that you have on hand) 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup blueberries (frozen works best)
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Lightly grease the cups of a muffin pan or fill it with liners. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients except for the blueberries. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the blueberries and lightly fold them in, being careful not to over mix. It’s ok if there are lumps. However, if its too thick, add more milk to thin it out. For large bakery-style muffins, fill 8–9 muffin cups right to the top with batter, then bake for 18–22 minutes until lightly golden on top or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. For small muffins, divide the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups and bake for 15–20 minutes until lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan. The muffins can be stored on a plate covered with a clean tea towel for 2 to 3 days. The texture of the muffins will be kept best this way. If you want them to last longer, store them in a large resealable plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week. Adapted from https://sweetsimplevegan.com/2018/03/blueberry-bliss-muffins/ 10
Spring is upon us! THIS MEANS DELICIOUS FRESH PRODUCE FROM LOCAL FARMS LIKE BERRIES, PEACHES ETC. WITH THIS ANTICIPATION I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU THIS DELICIOUS, FLUFFY AND SWEET BLUEBERRY MUFFIN RECIPE MADE FROM SCRATCH AND LOVE. FRIENDS, THIS CAN BE MADE FOR BREAKFAST OR DESSERT AND LITERALLY TAKES 30 MINUTES OR LESS WITH MINIMAL CLEAN-UP. HOPE YOU ENJOY!
IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST
â€“ Ikemba Balogu
"...IN ORDER TO DO GOOD WE MUST FIRST
“The fruit of the Spirit is… goodness” (Gal. 5:22). As this fruit is of the Spirit, it can never be produced any other way but by the Spirit. For the Spirit is the only source by which this fruit may be borne. Nevertheless, in the life of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit was borne in great abundance. And more than this, it was borne without measure, that is to say, in boundless abundance. Thus, the Spirit being the only source by which this fruit is borne and the fruit being borne in the life of Christ without measure, it evidently follows that Jesus Christ received the Spirit without measure. “For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him” (Jn. 3:34). The Spirit, therefore, not being given to Christ by measure demonstrates that Christ indeed received the Spirit without measure. And having received the Spirit without measure, “the fruit” which He bore was without measure. Hence, in the life of Jesus, “goodness,” being “the fruit of the Spirit,” was manifested without measure, “leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps” “because as He is, so are we in this world” and “it is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master” (1 Pet. 2:21; 1 Jn. 4:17; Matt. 10:25). With this in mind, let us thoughtfully consider and carefully reflect upon the life of Christ as He manifested that fruit of “goodness” “not by might, nor by power, but by [His] Spirit” (Zec. 4:6). GOODNESS: As a result of the entrance of sin, man, although desiring to be good, is inherently bad. For it is written: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9). In another place, Christ affirms this truth by declaring to his disciples: “Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him,” etc? “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, 13
commandments” (Matt. 19:16, 17).
TO ATTAIN GOODNESS IS TO RECEIVE GOODNESS FROM
GOD; AND THE ONLY WAY TO RECEIVE GOODNESS FROM GOD IS TO RECEIVE GOD HIMSELF
out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts” (Mk. 7:18-21). Again, consider the words of Jesus when He inquired: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke 11:13). And the words of that faithful apostle, Paul, perfectly corresponds with the words of Christ when he wrote in his epistle “to all that be in Rome” (Rom. 1:7): “There is none righteous, no, not one… There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10, 12). These preceding passages of Scripture testify that the great ethical problem of the day is the problem of how to make good that which is bad. There is only one true way in which that which is bad can ever be made to give place to good. And that way is found in none other than Jesus Christ. Thus, it would be expedient to all who desire the true way to goodness to heed the instruction of this great Teacher.
There is one instance where a rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Jesus replied: “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, THAT IS, GOD: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the
And after Jesus enumerated the commandments, the ruler affirmed that he had kept them all. “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest:” “go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.” And “when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions” (Mk. 10:21; Matt. 19:21, 22). Now, the rich young ruler supposed that he could attain goodness by doing good works. But Christ had replied that God alone is good. Thus, the only true way to attain goodness is to receive goodness from God; and the only way to receive goodness from God is to receive God Himself. For “there is none good but one, that is, God.” Therefore, “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). Furthermore, as God is good and as “God is a Spirit” (Jn. 4:24), it certainly follows that the Spirit is good. For concerning Israel in the wilderness, it is written that God “gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not Thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst” (Neh. 9:20). And in another place, David exclaimed unto the Lord: “Teach me to do Thy will; for thou art my God: Thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness” (Ps. 143:10). Hence, in His life, Jesus Christ stood as the supreme example of this glorious truth. For “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). That is to say, Jesus “went about doing good” because He was anointed “with the Holy Ghost.” In other words, Christianity teaches that in order to do good we must first be good. This is the only true way to goodness. For “every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” “A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit”; Therefore, “a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil trea-
sure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil” (Matt. 7:17; Lk. 6:43, 45). Whereas, heathenism teaches that in order to be good we must first do good. But this can never be; for “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matt. 7:18). And “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one” (Job 14:4). For this reason, “either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit” and “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 12:33). And this brings us precisely to this all-important question: By what fruits are you known? “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,” yea, “the fruit of the Spirit is…goodness” (Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9); and as Jesus Christ was given the Spirit without measure, we beseech you: “ask, and it shall be given you.” “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” “for every one that asketh receiveth.” “Be filled with” “the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Gal. 5:22, 23; Mt. 7:7; Jn. 20:22; Mt. 7:8; Eph. 5:18; 4:30). 15
Faith Through the
Ages – Aniza Moore
—BELIEVING THAT HE
LOVES US AND KNOWS BEST WHAT IS FOR OUR
GOOD” FAITH AND PRAYER GO HAND IN HAND.
As young as I am, I’ve had several experiences with exercising my faith. Reading the stories from the Old and New Testament has helped me to strengthen my faith to endure trials in my own life. Seeing how God has led people in the past is a great reminder that He will be sure to lead me in the future. When we give God our burdens and trials of life, He will work to ensure that all things go according to His perfect will. What is faith you ask? Notice this: “Faith is trusting God—believing that He loves us and knows best what is for our good. Thus, instead of our own, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership and accepts its blessing. Truth, uprightness, purity, have been pointed out as secrets of life's success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these principles.”1 I wanted to take some time to look at how God has intervened in the lives of His people from century to century. Keep a Bible nearby because we are going to look at several texts that highlight the faith of those of old. First let’s turn to Genesis 22:7-19. These verses tell the story of when Abraham was told to kill his only son, even though God promised Abraham that the Redeemer would descend from this same son. What an interesting excerpt! Do you realize how much faith it took for Abraham to do this act? He had to have complete trust in the Lord that He would fulfill the promise He made—even if all hope seemed lost. Not only does this story cover lessons in faith but we also learn about the importance of submission and surrender. Abraham had to yield his will to God and follow the instructions that were given to him. That meant giving up his most prized possession—his only son—if it meant that God’s name would be glorified. Thankfully, Abraham passed the test: God saw Abraham’s willing heart and saved Isaac from an early death. When we surrender all to God, He will be sure to see us through. Now let’s turn to Exodus 2:2-10. These verses talk about the faith of Moses’ mother as she tried an unconventional way of saving her child from the hands of Pharaoh.
That had to have been a Holy Spirit-led encounter. It must have taken immense faith to trust in God for divine protection over her son. Keep in mind that Jochebed’s faith didn’t grow overnight. In order to have a faith like that, it must have been exercised daily while being coupled with prayer. Faith and prayer go hand in hand! You can’t have one without the other. Think about it: when we pray to the Father, we have faith that He will accept our prayers through Jesus as our intercessor. If we believe, our Father will be sure to hear our earnest plea. Take some time to read and study more on faith and prayer. Now let’s turn to Hebrews 11:1-11. In this chapter we see that the Bible records several stories of faith. This is for us to look back and study so that we can be encouraged when our faith is tested. God is so good to us! He didn’t leave us to wonder how we can grow our faith. Instead, He provided ways in which we can see how He has led in the past. In addition to these Bible stories, there are countless stories of faith and persistence found among the Reformers! As you read the stories of Wycliffe, Luther, Knox and the many other individuals of this time period, you’ll notice an overwhelming theme of having faith, even when facing death. The lives of these great men have been an encouragement to me, and I pray that they will have the same effect for those who are reading. God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8)! I pray that this exploration strengthened your faith in the One from whom all blessings flow. Although we only reviewed a couple stories, it is very clear that God truly is faithful and just to help us in our times of need. Sometimes, we will have to go through trials, but we must have faith that God will be with us every step of the way. Believe in the everlasting promises of the Lord! Remember the words in that beautiful hymn, “Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed, thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me.”2 Amen! 1. Ellen G. White, Education (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1903), 254. 2. Runyan, William M. "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." 100-Great Is Thy Faithfulness \\ Lyrics \\ Adventist Hymns. Accessed March 14, 2018. http://adventisthymns.com/lyrics/100-great-is-thy-faithfulness.
Taste and See â€“ Jai Hewlett
“O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). Taste is defined as “trying or testing the quality of something or receiving a slight experience.” At what stage does one begin tasting food? Is it enough to have it sit on the table and looked upon? Is it enough to have it enter the mouth and sit on the tongue? No! The food must be chewed as this stimulates the molecules that are responsible for taste. Verily, the very quality of the food being sampled would be more accurately tasted if chewing is thorough. A taste requires an experience. A simple appeal to sample the gospel is seen in this Psalms (34:8), signifying that there is an initial sampling both future and current Christians must begin with. This sample bite lays the foundation for their decision for or against the Gospel or, for the majority of those who are already Christians, is the door to which they entered their gospel journey. It’s not a sample but an experimental religion that we need. The Word of God outlines the goodness of God-a part of His character--with the statement “how sweet are thy words unto my taste, yea sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Ps. 119:103). Yet, to solely read the Word and have it sit inside the mouth does not constitute tasting the Lord’s goodness. No one can say that it is enough to be even considered an experience. Yet the majority of individuals today are satisfied with a sample gospel rapidly eaten, without chewing. With such a poor commencement can any say that they truly tried the LORD? Should we now wonder why there is such a famine of true Christians? Many are missing out on that proclamation stated in the Book of Matthew: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (5:6). When food is thoughtlessly and swiftly eaten, digestion takes place but the body is taxed and burdened as it is now required to further break down the food. Improper digestion causes improper nutrition even if the meal itself was healthy. Thus it is with the tasting of the Word. The Word itself is healthy but is too often digested by the mind in such a hasty manner with little thought of receiving its true flavor. Due to this lack of correctly “tasting” the Word of God,
DUE TO THIS LACK OF CORRECTLY “TASTING” THE
Word of God,
MANY ARE LEFT WITH AN IMPROPER UNDERSTANDING AND A MALNOURISHED EXPERIENCE many are left with an improper understanding and a malnourished experience, and this they hope to label as Christianity--setting a low standard of a true Christian experience. Sadly, these have never tasted and learned God’s goodness from a personal experience. So, how does one taste or experience God’s goodness? Spend time eating His every Word. As you would chew the natural food, so allow your mind to process each word and every passage until it becomes a part of yourself. As one cannot chew for another, so must this experience be uniquely between you and the Lord. Let the Holy Spirit guide your dining. Examine His handwriting in nature. In addition to taking time early in the morning to seek the Lord in His Word, examine His handwriting in nature. He promises that you will find Him (Prov. 8:17). Christ who is our example would often retire to nature, and there find tokens of God’s love. Pray for a blessing. As one would pray for a blessing with gratitude over their meal, remember to first pray for His blessing on the Word that you will study for that day. The true blessing is received from the nutrients assimilated within not just one but multiple passages. Ask the Lord to unlock the benefits. 19
“It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb. 5:4-6). How sad it is that the Master Chef, out of His love, has given to all an invitation to come and sup with Him (See Rev. 22:17) and yet many still don’t truly taste the Bread of Life. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). We have given the Lord a cheap, unsatisfying relationship. He wishes to provide us with the food that shall sustain us for eternity (Jn. 6:51). In His mercy, God himself comes searching for us, longing for us to be His guests at the supper table. “Behold,” he says, “I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him and him with me” (Rev. 3:20). Now is the acceptable time of God. If any man hears his voice, harden not your hearts before it is too late (Heb. 3:15). For we are told “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying Lord, Lord, open unto to us…we have eaten and drunk in thy presence…but he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence you are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity” (Lk.13:25-27). Dear reader, my prayer for you is to have this experience of coming to the Lord’s table. The Savior is hungry for a relationship with you. He is willing, nay, longing to feed you. For if you eat daily of this food on earth, you shall hunger again; but if you eat of that living bread from heaven, you shall at last find the satisfaction of your soul. Thus doing, you shall taste and see that the Lord is good.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE
GOODNESS BY FAITH
â€“ Samuel Tucker 22
The ministration and successful work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of the sinner is evidenced by a new experience in Christ. Day by day the willing heart is transformed into the image of his Maker and the attributes of Christ are revealed from glory to glory. The fruits of the Spirit are made manifest in the life which are these, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22,23). Two attributes in specific, that of goodness and faith, will be our study. The Word of God states, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas.1:17). Everything that is good and perfect in nature is from God. It is safe to conclude that God himself being the author of perfect good is thus good Himself. A further description of this important point is given in the book of Exodus, exhibited in God’s close and intimate relationship with the prophet Moses. Moses’ experience had become such that he asked to see God’s glory. This was the response of the Eternal, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Ex. 33:19). As the Lord continued in conversation with the Patriarch, a brief and concise description of God’s name is given in the proceeding chapter. “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Ex. 34:6,7). An abundance
of characteristics are here mentioned, describing the name of the Lord, which was at first said to be His goodness. In short, true goodness is an upright character molded after the likeness of Christ. How this goodness is received into the life as a transforming influence is the work of faith. Faith, as described by the words of inspiration, “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). So faith is “to put aside feeling and selfish desires, to walk humbly with the Lord, to appropriate His promises, and apply them to all occasions, believing that God will work out His own plans and purposes in your heart and life by the sanctification of your character.”1 True faith believes that God will work out the plans He has promised, thus ultimately perfecting the character of the Christian “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26). There are many patriarchs and prophets whose example of valiant faith and goodness have inspired many but the experience of Moses strikingly stands out. The future leader of Israel was called to the greatest work ever committed to man outside of Christ. His burden was heavy and his mission large but Moses trusted in his Mater. While still in Egypt, before his time in Midian, Moses attempted to accomplish his life’s mission by force of arms but this left him a fugitive and an outcast. Providence counteracted this foul blot upon his character and it was in those forty years in the wilderness that Moses learned true dependence upon God which laid the foundation for the development of that most illustrious character. “To Moses faith was no guesswork; it was a reality. He believed that God ruled his life in particular; and in all its details he acknowledged Him. For strength to withstand every temptation, he trusted in Him. The great work assigned him he desired to make in the highest degree successful, and he placed his whole dependence upon divine power. He felt his need of help, asked for it, by faith grasped it, and in the assurance of sustaining strength
went forward.”2 If we are to have the same experience with Heaven as Moses did, we must trust God as implicitly as Moses trusted the guiding of His providence. We are faced with many practical challenges in our lives, whether it be the initial surrender of the soul, the choosing of a life’s work, or the choice of a life’s companion. All of these decisions, if to be used for the advancement of God’s kingdom and a blessing in our own personal lives, must be decisions God’s word has outlined for us. Without a surrender of our wills to the will of God there can be no true peace in the heart. But with surrender comes perfect rest and blessed assurance. Allowing God to manage our day to day lives will be the true measuring stick of our faith in Christ and our likeness to Him in character. This step by step management was most perfectly seen in the life of Christ. Towards the close of His earthly experience, Christ was faced with a very pressing decision, whether to leave condemned man to suffer the full penalty of transgression or to take upon His sinless soul the iniquity of us all, thus making the way of salvation open to all would accept its free gift. Though sweating as it were great drops of blood and tried and tempted sore, His submission was “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42). Our simple submission to God will be the pledge that His promises, abundant and grandiose in nature, to us will be realized. May this firm reliance upon Divine strength, even in the smallest details of our life, develop that true Heaven born goodness which is the fruition of trusting and humble faith. 1. Ellen G. White, Fundamentals of Christian Education (Nashville, TN: Southern Pub. Assn., 1923), 341. 2. Ellen G. White, Education (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1903), 63.
"TRUE FAITH BELIEVES
THAT GOD WILL WORK
OUT THE PLANS HE HAS PROMISED, THUS ULTIMATELY PERFECTING
THE CHARACTER OF THE CHRISTIAN."
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“God cares more about you being happy than your being good.” In this issue we explore the practical realities of two more virtues of the fru...
Published on May 15, 2018
“God cares more about you being happy than your being good.” In this issue we explore the practical realities of two more virtues of the fru...