How to Live the Divine Life - part 2

By Ray Foster

 

Outline:

K. Lay Hold on the Throne of God/ the Divinity of God

  1.  
    1. The role of self-examination
    2. The role of gardening and daily living
    3. Understand and Accept our Commission
    4. Walking with God as Enoch did
    5. Walking with God as Jesus did

3. Conclusion

A. The Role of Self-examination

1 Corinthians 11:28 - 31 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

The great reason why so many professed disciples of Christ fall into grievous temptation and make work for repentance is that they are deficient in a knowledge of themselves. Here is where Peter was so thoroughly sifted by the enemy. Here is where thousands will make shipwreck of faith. You do not take your wrongs and errors to heart, and afflict your souls over them. I entreat you to purify your souls by obeying the truth. Connect yourselves with heaven. And may the Lord save you from self-deception. {4T 246.2}

The Bible is full, clear, and explicit; the character of the true disciple of Christ is marked out with exactness. We must search the Scriptures with humble hearts, trembling at the word of the Lord, if we would not be in any way deceived in regard to our true character. There must be persevering effort to overcome selfishness and self-confidence. Self-examination must be thorough, that there be no danger of self-deception. A little catechizing of self on special occasions is not sufficient. Daily examine the foundation of your hope, and see whether you are indeed in the love of Christ. Deal truly with your own hearts, for you cannot afford to run any risk here. Count the cost of being a wholehearted Christian, and then gird on the armor. Study the Pattern; look to Jesus, and be like Him. Your peace of mind, your hope of eternal salvation, depend on faithfulness in this work. As Christians we are less thorough in self-examination than in anything else; it is no wonder, then, that we make such slow advancement in understanding self. {5T 332.2}

I am writing these things to you because I want you to be saved. I do not want to discourage you, but to urge you to more earnest, vigorous effort. Self-love will prompt you to make a superficial work of self-examination; but let no vain confidence cheat you out of eternal life. Do not build yourself up on the mistakes and errors of others, but between God and your own soul settle the important question upon which hangs your eternal destiny. {5T 333.1}

Provision has been made whereby every soul that is struggling under sinful practices may be made free from sin. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The Christian is not to retain his sinful habits and cherish his defects of character, but he is to be renewed in the spirit of his mind after the divine similitude. Whatever may be the nature of your defects, the Spirit of the Lord will enable you to discern them, and grace will be given you whereby they may be overcome. Through the merits of the blood of Christ you may be a conqueror--yes, more than a conqueror. . . .{TMK 237.2} That I May Know Him

 

Ask the Lord to reveal to you yourself; place your life under His searching eye, and when He lays hold upon your case you will see that you have made grievous mistakes, and what you supposed was of little importance was offensive in the sight of Heaven. You will see that there is a decided need of thorough transformation of character. You will realize that you must put away the evil of your doings, and cooperate with God and heavenly angels who are sent to minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation. . . . {TMK 237.3}

 

Self must die. Every practice, every habit, that has a harmful tendency, however innocent it may be regarded by the world, must be battled with until overcome, that the human agent may perfect a character after the divine Pattern. . . . {TMK 237.4}

The crooked ways, the perverse doings of those around us, are not to dim the luster of our piety or to lead us to conform our habits to, and assimilate our customs and practices with, the world's. Let the prayer go forth from the lips of those who claim to be the sons and daughters of God, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps. 139:23, 24). {TMK 237.5}

 

Let ministers make the actions of each day a subject of careful thought and deliberate review, with the object of becoming better acquainted with their own habits of life. By a close scrutiny of every circumstance of the daily life, they would know better their own motives and the principles which govern them. This daily review of our acts, to see whether conscience approves or condemns, is necessary for all who wish to reach perfection of Christian character. Many acts which pass for good works, even deeds of benevolence, will, when closely investigated, be found to be prompted by wrong motives. {GW 275.2}

After Christ's ascension, the disciples were gathered together in one place to make humble supplication to God. And after ten days of heart searching and self-examination, the way was prepared for the Holy Spirit to enter the cleansed, consecrated soul temples. Every heart was filled with the Spirit, as though God desired to show His people that it was His prerogative to bless them with the choicest of heaven's blessings. . . . The sword of the Spirit flashed right and left. Newly edged with power, it pierced even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow. The idolatry that had been mingled with the worship of the people was overthrown. New territory was added to the kingdom of God. Places that had been barren and desolate sounded forth His praises.--Review and Herald, June 10, 1902. {Ev 698.2}

Examine me, O Lord, and prove me. Ps. 26:2. {AG 330.1}

The Lord in His providence brings men where He can test their moral powers and reveal their motives of action, that they may improve what is right in themselves and put away that which is wrong. God would have His servants become acquainted with the moral machinery of their own hearts. In order to bring this about, He often permits the fire of affliction to assail them that they may become purified. . . . {AG 330.2}

If you were a devotional, godly man, in the pulpit and out, a mighty influence would attend your preaching. You do not closely search your own heart. You have studied many works to make your discourses thorough, able, and pleasing; but you have neglected the greatest and most necessary study, the study of yourself. A thorough knowledge of yourself, meditation and prayer, have come in as secondary things. Your success as a minister depends upon your keeping your own heart. You will receive more strength by spending one hour each day in meditation, and in mourning over your failings and heart corruptions and pleading for God's pardoning love and the assurance of sins forgiven, than you would by spending many hours and days in studying the most able authors, and making yourself acquainted with every objection to our faith, and with the most powerful evidences in its favor. {1T 433.1}

More:

{GW 275.1}

{CT 67.1}

{OHC 305.5}

{TMK 242.2}

{ML 97.4}

The Review and Herald, May 14, 1901. {2SM 318.2}

{OHC 21.4}

{OHC 21.5}

It is not wise to look to ourselves and study our emotions. If we do this, the enemy will present difficulties and temptations that weaken faith and destroy courage. Closely to study our emotions and give way to our feelings is to entertain doubt and entangle ourselves in perplexity. We are to look away from self to Jesus. {MH 249.4}

 

B. The role of gardening and daily living

"The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden." Genesis 2:8,9. Here, amidst the beautiful scenes of nature untouched by sin, our first parents were to receive their education. {Ed 20.3}

In His interest for His children, our heavenly Father personally directed their education. Often they were visited by His messengers, the holy angels, and from them received counsel and instruction. Often as they walked in the garden in the cool of the day they heard the voice of God, and face to face held communion with the Eternal. His thoughts toward them were "thoughts of peace, and not of evil." Jeremiah 29:11. His every purpose was their highest good. {Ed 21.1}

 

To Adam and Eve was committed the care of the garden, "to dress it and to keep it."Genesis 2:15. Though rich in all that the Owner of the universe could supply, they were not to be idle. Useful occupation was appointed them as a blessing, to strengthen the body, to expand the mind, and to develop the character. {Ed 21.2}

The book of nature, which spread its living lessons before them, afforded an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. On every leaf of the forest and stone of the mountains, in every shining star, in earth and sea and sky, God's name was written. With both the animate and the inanimate creation--with leaf and flower and tree, and with every living creature, from the leviathan of the waters to the mote in the sunbeam--the dwellers in Eden held converse, gathering from each the secrets of its life. God's glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, "the balancings of the clouds" (Job 37:16), the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night--all were objects of study by the pupils of earth's first school. {Ed 21.3}

The laws and operations of nature, and the great principles of truth that govern the spiritual universe, were opened to their minds by the infinite Author of all. In "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" (2 Corinthians 4:6), their mental and spiritual powers developed, and they realized the highest pleasures of their holy existence. {Ed 22.1}

The Garden of Eden was a representation of what God desired the whole earth to become, and it was His purpose that, as the human family increased in numbers, they should establish other homes and schools like the one He had given. Thus in course of time the whole earth might be occupied with homes and schools where the words and the works of God should be studied, and where the students should thus be fitted more and more fully to reflect, throughout endless ages, the light of the knowledge of His glory. {Ed 22.2}

Now, as in the days of Israel, every youth should be instructed in the duties of practical life. Each should acquire a knowledge of some branch of manual labor by which, if need be, he may obtain a livelihood. This is essential, not only as a safeguard against the vicissitudes of life, but from its bearing upon physical, mental, and moral development. Even if it were certain that one would never need to resort to manual labor for support, still he should be taught to work. Without physical exercise no one can have a sound constitution and vigorous health; and the discipline of well-regulated labor is no less essential to the securing of a strong, active mind and a noble character. {CT 307.2}

 

Students who have gained book knowledge without gaining a knowledge of practical work cannot lay claim to a symmetrical education. The energies that should have been devoted to business of various lines have been neglected. Education does not consist in using the brain alone. Physical employment is a part of the training essential for every youth. An important phase of education is lacking if the student is not taught how to engage in useful labor. {CT 307.3}

The healthful exercise of the whole being will give an education that is broad and comprehensive. Every student should devote a portion of each day to active labor. Thus habits of industry will be formed and a spirit of self-reliance encouraged, while the youth will be shielded from many evil and degrading practices that are so often the result of idleness.And this is all in keeping with the primary object of education; for in encouraging activity, diligence, and purity, we are coming into harmony with the Creator. {CT 308.1}

More:

{2MR 74.1}

{SpM 357.4}

{Ed 220.2}

{TDG 255.2}

C. Understand and Accept our Commission

Christ came to the world to meet the wily foe, and to dispute his claim of sovereignty over the earth. He came to the world as a man, veiling his majesty and glory, clothing his divinity with humanity, in order that he might not extinguish the sinful race, but stand where man stood, to endure the temptations under which Adam failed. {YI, October 10, 1895 par. 3}

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

 

[Assume and use all God has given you today! What you do not use today, you may not get a chance to use ever again!] 2 Kings 13:17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened [it]. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed [them].

13:18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took [them]. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed.

13:19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed [it]: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria [but] thrice.

The great moral powers of the soul are faith, hope, and love. If these are inactive, a minister may be ever so earnest and zealous, but his labor will not be accepted by God, and cannot be productive of good to the church. A minister of Christ who bears the solemn message from God to the people, should ever deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. The spirit of Christ in the heart will incline every power of the soul to nourish and protect the sheep of his pasture, like a faithful, true shepherd. {GW92 91.2}

More:

{FE 229.2}

{Gospel Herald, April 1, 1905 par. 14}

{RH, December 2, 1875 par. 14}

D. Walking with God as Enoch did

Did he [Enoch] see God by his side? Only by faith. He knew that the Lord was there, and he adhered steadfastly to the principles of truth. We, too, are to walk with God. When we do this, our faces will be lighted up by the brightness of His presence, and when we meet one another, we shall speak of His power, saying, Praise God. Good is the Lord, and good is the word of the Lord (MS 17, 1903). {1BC 1087.5}

 

We can have what Enoch had. We can have Christ as our constant companion. Enoch walked with God, and when assailed by the tempter, he could talk with God about it. He had no "It is written" as we have, but he had a knowledge of his heavenly Companion. He made God his Counsellor, and was closely bound up with Jesus. And Enoch was honored in this course. He was translated to heaven without seeing death. And those who will be translated at the close of time, will be those who commune with God on earth. Those who make manifest that their life is hid with Christ in God will ever be representing Him in all their life- practices. Selfishness will be cut out by the roots (MS 38, 1897). {1BC 1087.6}

 

Let us realize the weakness of humanity, and see where man fails in his self-sufficiency. We shall then be filled with a desire to be just what God desires us to be,-- pure, noble, sanctified. We shall hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Christ. To be like God will be the one desire of the soul. {1BC 1087.7}

 

This is the desire that filled Enoch's heart. And we read that he walked with God. He studied the character of God to a purpose. He did not mark out his own course, or set up his own will, as if he thought himself fully qualified to manage matters. He strove to conform himself to the divine likeness (Letter 169, 1903). {1BC 1087.8}

While trusting in your heavenly Father for the help you need, He will not leave you. God has a heaven full of blessings that He wants to bestow on those who are earnestly seeking for that help which the Lord alone can give. It was in looking in faith to Jesus, in asking of Him, in believing that every word spoken would be verified, that Enoch walked with God. He kept close by the side of God, obeying His every word. . . . His was a wonderful life of oneness. Christ was his Companion. He was in intimate fellowship with God (MS 111, 1898). {1BC 1087.9}

 

He [Enoch] did not make his abode with the wicked. He did not locate in Sodom, thinking to save Sodom. He placed himself and his family where the atmosphere would be as pure as possible. Then at times he went forth to the inhabitants of the world with his God-given message. Every visit he made to the world was painful to him. He saw and understood something of the leprosy of sin. After proclaiming his message, he always took back with him to his place of retirement some who had received the warning. Some of these became overcomers, and died before the Flood came. But some had lived so long in the corrupting influence of sin that they could not endure righteousness (MS 42, 1900). {1BC 1087.10}

Enoch walked with God, while of the world around him sacred history records, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Enoch's righteous life was in marked contrast with the wicked people around him. His piety, his purity, his unswerving integrity were the result of his walking with God, while the wickedness of the world was the result of their walking with the deceiver of mankind. There never has been and never will be an age when the moral darkness will be so dense as when Enoch lived a life of irreproachable righteousness(MS 43, 1900). {1BC 1088.1}

 

Pray in your closet, and as you go about your daily labor let your heart be often uplifted to God. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. These silent prayers rise like precious incense before the throne of grace. Satan cannot overcome him whose heart is thus stayed upon God. {SC 98.3}

 

It was through constant conflict and simple faith that Enoch walked with God. You may all do the same. You may be thoroughly converted and transformed, and be indeed children of God, enjoying not only the knowledge of His will, but, by your example, leading others in the same path of humble obedience and consecration. Real godliness is diffusive and communicative. The psalmist says: "I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy loving-kindness and Thy truth from the great congregation." Wherever the love of God is, there is always a desire to express it. {3T 543.1}

More:

{5T 535.2}

{AG 304}

{OHC 61.2}

{PK 486}

{COL 159.4}

{RH, April 15, 1909 par. 1,2,5,8,10-13}

{7T 155.1}

{YI, February 25, 1897 par. 2}

{OHC 278.2}

{OHC 278.3}

{OHC 278.6}

E. Walking with God as Jesus did

The love revealed in the Saviour's life of self-denial and self-sacrifice is to be seen in the lives of his followers. We are called upon "so to walk, even as he walked." The cause of our weakness lies in our refusal to obey this command. On every side there are opportunities to work for our fellow men. It is our duty to lead souls to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. It is important that we fill aright our position in the world, in society, and in the church; but we can not do this unless we have a firm hold on Heaven. Our faith must reach within the veil, whither our Forerunner has for us entered. It is possible for us to take hold by faith of the eternal promises of God; but to do this we must have a faith that will not be denied,--a steadfast, immovable faith that will take hold of the unseen. {RH, April 15, 1909 par. 14}

 

Take Jesus as your standard. Imitate His life. Fall in love with His character. Walk as Christ walked. A new spring will be given to your intellectual faculties, a large scope to your thoughts, when you bring your powers into vigorous contact with eternal things which are intrinsically grand and great. {OHC 59.5}

The religion of Jesus Christ means something more than talk. The righteousness of Christ consists in right actions and good works from pure, unselfish motives....Christ came to do His Father's will. Are we following in His steps? All who have named the name of Christ should be constantly seeking for a more intimate acquaintance with Him, that they may walk even as He walked, and do the works of Christ. . . . {ML 217.2}

3. Conclusion:

a. There are some popular lies that we must dismiss from our minds as lies:

     
  1. The idea that Jesus lived a perfect life so we do not need to be "perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect" is a lie that needs to be identified as a lie of the Devil and dismissed. Jesus lived a perfect life in order for us to become partakers of the Divine Nature and live the same perfect life of total dependence upon the power of Jesus that Jesus lived in total dependence on His Father’s power.
  2. The idea that the perfect life that Jesus lived was related to some power or some nature that we do not have is a lie of the Devil that needs to be recognized as a lie and dismissed. We are repeatedly told "In his humanity, he laid hold of the divinity of God; and this every member of the human family has the privilege of doing. Christ did nothing that human nature may not do if it partakes of the divine nature." {ST, June 17, 1897 par. 8}

 

b. It is belief to the point of obedience in God’s promises and all of His word that transforms us into the Divine character likeness. Beholding Jesus in His Word, and in nature, and in the daily providences of life by faith motivated by love and gratitude, we are changed from one degree of character-likeness to another.

c. It is through constant prayer that we partake by faith of the life of Jesus made available to us through the Holy Spirit. It was thus that Enoch walked with God.

  1. We need regular times and places for Bible study and prayer in addition to being constantly in an attitude of prayer and asking God by faith through prayer: "Is this the way of the Lord?"
  2. When we fall and fail to live the Christ-life – we should immediately come to Jesus by faith; take hold of His merits; place our sins on the Sin Bearer; and accept His pardon. Then get up and continue in the blood-stained pathway of self-denial and doing the will of God to His glory.

d. What is at stake is the honor of God and the success of the plan of salvation. "Now God would demonstrate to the universe the falsity of Satan's charge that men could not keep God's law. He would demonstrate that though man had sinned, he could so relate himself to God that he would have the mind and spirit of God. This holy man was selected to denounce the wickedness of the world, and to give evidence that man can keep the law." {RH, April 15, 1909 par. 2}

e. The timing of the second coming is related to character development in God’s followers. "When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. {COL 69.1}

"It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain." {COL 69.2}