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Early Writings

by Ellen G. White

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Church Difficulties 1

Do we church members rely too much on our pastors?
Do we church members rely too much on our pastors?

Illustration © Review and Herald Publ. Assoc.

1From the Review of August 11, 1853.

Dear brethren and sisters: As error is fast progressing, we should seek to be awake in the cause of God, and realize the time in which we live. Darkness is to cover the earth, and gross darkness the people. And as nearly all around us are being enveloped in the thick darkness of error and delusion, it becomes us to shake off stupidity and live near to God, where we can draw divine rays of light and glory from the countenance of Jesus. As darkness thickens and error increases, we should obtain a more thorough knowledge [105] of the truth and be prepared to maintain our position from the Scriptures. {EW 104.2}

We must be sanctified through the truth, be wholly consecrated to God, and so live out our holy profession that the Lord can shed increasing light upon us, and that we may see light in His light, and be strengthened with His strength. Every moment that we are not on our watch we are liable to be beset by the enemy and are in great danger of being overcome by the powers of darkness. Satan commissions his angels to be vigilant and overthrow all they can; to find out the waywardness and besetting sins of those who profess the truth, and throw darkness around them, that they may cease to be watchful, take a course that will dishonor the cause they profess to love, and bring sorrow upon the church. The souls of these misguided, unwatchful ones grow darker, and the light of heaven fades from them. They cannot discover their besetting sins, and Satan weaves his net about them, and they are taken in his snare. {EW 105.1}

God is our strength. We must look to Him for wisdom and guidance, and keeping in view His glory, the good of the church, and the salvation of our own souls, we must overcome our besetting sins. We should individually seek to obtain new victory every day. We must learn to stand alone and depend wholly upon God. The sooner we learn this the better. Let each one find out where he fails, and then faithfully watch that his sins do not overcome him, but that he gets the victory over them. Then can we have confidence toward God, and great trouble will be saved the church. {EW 105.2}

The messengers of God, as they leave their homes to labor for the salvation of souls, spend much of their time in laboring for those who have been in the truth for years, but who are still weak, because they needlessly let loose the reins, cease watching over themselves, [106] and, I sometimes think, tempt the enemy to tempt them. They get into some petty difficulty and trial, and the time of the servants of the Lord is spent to visit them. They are held hours and even days, and their souls are grieved and wounded by hearing little difficulties and trials talked over, each magnifying his own grievances to make them look as serious as possible, for fear the servants of God will think them too small to be noticed. Instead of depending on the Lord's servants to help them out of these trials, they should break down before God and fast and pray until the trials are removed. {EW 105.3}

Some seem to think that all that God has called messengers into the field for, is to go at their bidding and to carry them in their arms; and that the most important part of their work is to settle the petty trials and difficulties which they have brought upon themselves by injudicious moves, and by giving way to the enemy, and indulging an unyielding, faultfinding spirit toward those around them. But where are the hungry sheep at this time? Starving for the bread of life. Those who know the truth and have been established in it, but obey it not—if they did, they would be saved many of these trials—are holding the messengers, and the very object for which God has called them into the field is not accomplished. The servants of God are grieved and their courage taken away by such things in the church, when all should strive not to add a feather's weight to their burden, but by cheering words and the prayer of faith, should help them. How much more free would they be if all who profess the truth would look about them and try to help others, instead of claiming so much help themselves. As it is, when the servants of God enter dark places, where the truth has not yet been proclaimed, they carry a wounded spirit caused by the needless trials of their brethren. [107] In addition to all this, they have to meet the unbelief and prejudice of opposers and be trampled upon by some. {EW 106.1}

How much easier it would be to affect the heart and how much more would God be glorified if His servants were free from discouragement and trial, that they might with a free spirit present the truth in its beauty. Those who have been guilty of requiring so much labor of God's servants and burdening them with trials which belong to themselves to settle, will have to give account to God for all the time and means that have been spent to gratify themselves, thereby satisfying the enemy. They should be in a situation to help their brethren. They should never defer their trials and difficulties to burden a whole meeting, or wait until some of the messengers come to settle them; but they should get right before God themselves, have their trials all out of the way, and be prepared when laborers come to hold up their hands instead of weakening them. {EW 107.1}

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