Fanaticism Hard to Quench — Fanaticism, once started and left unchecked, is as hard to quench as a fire which has obtained hold of a building. Those who have entered into and sustained this fanaticism [holy flesh] might far better be engaged in secular labor, for by their inconsistent course of action they are dishonoring the Lord and imperiling His people. Many such movements will arise at this time when the Lord’s work should stand elevated, pure, unadulterated with superstition and fables. We need to be on our guard, to maintain a close connection with Christ, that we be not deceived by Satan’s devices.
Fine-drawn Theories That Fill the Mind
Satan is working in many ways that the very men who ought to preach the message may be occupied with fine-drawn theories which he will cause to appear of such magnitude and importance as to fill the whole mind; and while they think they are making wonderful strides in experience, they are idolizing a few ideas, and their influence is injured and tells but little on the Lord’s side.
Let every minister make earnest efforts to ascertain what is the mind of Christ. There are those who pick out from the Word of God, and also from the Testimonies, detached paragraphs or sentences that may be interpreted to suit their ideas, and they dwell upon these and build themselves up in their own positions, when God is not leading them. Now all this pleases the enemy. We should not needlessly take a course that will make differences or cause dissension. We should not give the impression that if our particular ideas are not followed, it is because the ministers are lacking in comprehension.
There are in the lessons of Christ subjects in abundance that you can speak upon, and mysteries which neither you nor your hearers can understand or explain might better be left alone. Give the Lord Jesus Christ Himself room to teach; let Him by the influence of His Spirit open to the understanding the wonderful plan of salvation.
Turn Away From the Negative Side
If you could see the result of always occupying the negative side, as you have done for years to a greater or less extent, you would have a better understanding of the words of the Savior, recorded in the 18th chapter of Matthew. The disciples came to Jesus with the question, At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were handed about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! [Matthew 18:1-7].
My brother, cast away all evil thinking. Humble your heart before God. Then, your eyes being opened, you will no longer stand on the negative side. “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting life” [Matthew 18:8]. Cut away your defective attributes, however painful to human nature it may be to do this. “And if thine eye” — so sharp to see something to criticize or oppose — “offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire” [Matthew 18:9].
Faith Overcomes Negativism — We shall have success if we move forward in faith, determined to do the work of God intelligently. We must allow ourselves to be hindered by men who love to stand on the negative side, showing very little faith. God’s missionary work is to be carried forward by men of much faith and is steadily to grow in force and efficiency.
The Peril of Individual Independence — There have ever been in the church those who are constantly inclined toward individual independence. They seem unable to realize that independence of spirit is liable to lead the human agent to have too much confidence in himself and to trust in his own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly esteem the judgment of his brethren, especially of those in the offices that God has appointed for the leadership of His people. God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for he who does this despises the voice of God.
Peace Found in Cherishing Meekness — The soul finds rest only in cherishing meekness and lowliness of heart. The peace of Christ is never found where selfishness reigns. The soul cannot grow in grace when it is self-centered and proud. Jesus assumed the position that man must take in order that the peace of Christ may abide in the heart. Those who have offered themselves to Christ to become His disciples must deny self daily, must lift up the cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. They must go where His example leads the way.
The Virtue of Christian Courtesy
Paul, though firm as a rock to principle, yet ever preserved his courtesy. He was zealous for the vital points and was not regardless of the grace and politeness due to social life. The man of God did not absorb the man of humanity.
Some persons speak in harsh, uncourteous manner that wounds the feelings of others, and then they justify themselves by saying, “It is my way; I always tell just what I think”; and they exalt this wicked trait of character as a virtue. Their uncourteous deportment should be firmly rebuked.