Passive in God’s Hands

By John Thiel, mp3, pdf

Scripture reading: Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. 9 Be ye not as the horse, [or] as the mule, [which] have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mould me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

As we sing these beautiful words, it is essential that they become real in our lives, to be clay in the Potter’s hand. For a human being who has such a strong personality, such strong convictions of their own, to be totally clay in the hands of the Lord is a real challenge. To just let Him search us and try us until we become whiter than snow—that is the call. The realities of life, when we are in God’s school, are a challenge that calls for a willingness to submit, as this song expresses.

We are living in times now that are very vividly times of preparation to enter the heavenly Canaan. We desire to be ready for Jesus to come, and He is coming exceedingly soon, as we can see from looking at the signs around us. And we know that those things that are happening around us are more intense now than they were in Sister White’s time, much more intense. Remarkably, Sister White wrote the following statement in 1914; how intensely is it now applicable?

The great controversy is nearing its end. Every report of calamity by sea or land is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is at hand. {OHC 346.2}

Today it is also by air and land.

Wars and rumors of wars declare it. Is there a Christian whose pulse does not beat with quickened action as he anticipates the great events opening before us? The Lord is coming. We hear the footsteps of an approaching God. {OHC 346.2}

This knowledge of the nearness of Christ’s coming should not be allowed to lose its force, and we become careless and inattentive, and fall into slumber–into an insensibility and indifference to realities. In slumber we are in an unreal world, and not sensible of the things which are taking place around us. {OHC 346.3}

Dangerous Insensibility

Now comes a very important message just for us:

There are those who have the blazing light of truth shining all around them, and yet are insensible to it. {OHC 346.4}

I have really come to appreciate this fact. Even though I have often been preaching blazing truth, I have had to wake up more and more intently to become more sensible to it. This is the danger:

They are enchanted by the enemy, held under a spell by his bewitching power. They are not preparing for that great day which is soon to come to our world. They seem utterly insensible to religious truth. {OHC 346.4}

This is a real challenging meditation. Then as we come to the reality of awaking to this, we know that when Jesus comes we must be perfect, without sin; and that is a challenge which has become obscured in the minds of the people of today. They teach a doctrine that it matters not whether you are doing it or not; just believe, they say—the Nicolaitan doctrine, the doctrine that puts people to sleep, making them think, We’re going to be alright when Jesus comes. But when Jesus comes, the closing scenes will be so intense that they will discover they will not be alright. They will cry out, The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved! They will be gnashing their teeth. This is why this message is so important.

Deny Self, Step Fast

Heaven will be cheap enough, if we obtain it through suffering. We must deny self all along the way, die to self daily, let Jesus alone appear, and keep His glory continually in view. I saw that those who of late have embraced the truth would have to know what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake, that they would have trials to pass through that would be keen and cutting, in order that they may be purified and fitted through suffering to receive the seal of the living God, pass through the time of trouble, see the King in His beauty, and dwell in the presence of God and of pure, holy angels. {EW 67.1}

Then it talks of the importance of obtaining this rich inheritance through Christ’s sufferings, and the angel then speaks to her:

Said the angel, “Deny self; ye must step fast.” Some of us have had time to get the truth and to advance step by step, and every step we have taken has given us strength to take the next. But now time is almost finished, and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months. {EW 67.2}

It takes a lifetime to develop a character, and those who lived in Sister White’s time had a lifetime. But do we? We have to learn fast.

They will also have much to unlearn and much to learn again. Those who would not receive the mark of the beast and his image when the decree goes forth, must have decision now to say, Nay, we will not regard the institution of the beast. {EW 67.2}

This statement fills us with alarm, doesn’t it? What must we go through to learn to change? Not just get the doctrine right, but once we have the doctrine right, apply the doctrine so that it will have its effect upon our character. Satan is quite happy to have people arguing about the doctrine and claiming that they have the truth, and then to have the others say, No, we have. If he can keep everyone in a state of argument, that’s good, he is happy with that. But we need to have doctrine, pure doctrine that will purify us, correct us, and lead us. So we have much to learn and much to unlearn, and we need to do this very quickly, while others have had years of learning.

The day is at hand. For the lessons to be learned, the work to be done, the transformation of character to be effected, the time remaining is but too brief a span. {Ed 184.2}

We don’t have a lifetime. We have to learn quickly. Once we know where the doctrine is and we know it in all its purity, then we need to read and study that doctrine and make it our own, and make the changes in our life. We need to reach perfection, and we need to go through experiences that will hasten the process and make it shorter than the period of a lifetime.

How Do We Respond?

As we look at our nature, what have we seen in our character and in our disposition? How do we respond to God trying to correct us, whether He is doing it personally through His word, or, if I am not listening, when He uses the messenger? How do we respond when someone is trying to correct us? What is my disposition, my reaction under correction? Am I impatient of restraint? These are all activities of mind that we need to examine closely in this serious in which we live.

Many underestimate the evil of an error in themselves who fully recognize its influence in another. On every side we meet those who are entirely ignorant of possessing characteristics which need to be modified. {CSW 175.1}

So many people don’t even know these things in their life.

Others can see their objectionable traits of character;{CSW 175.1}

There are those who are ignorant, and others who can see them;

…but when they are reproved, they imagine that they have been misjudged. {CSW 175.1}

This is interesting. What is happening inside of me as I am trying to get ready for Jesus to come? Am I really understanding so that I am not confused or benighted, in this state of slumber we were reading of before? Do we ever come to the point where we start to see ourselves as we really are deep inside, and we feel like despairing? Because we think, Look at it, I have been like this and like that, and look at the way it has affected other people around me. It is overwhelming. So we think, Is there any chance of me ever being saved? Can I ever change myself so quickly, as we are called upon to do? As we read, the time remaining for us to change is but too brief a span. We become frustrated when we see inside of ourselves what we need to be, and what we have been, when we see how far we have fallen on the wrong side of change, so that that disposition and that character defect is still playing havoc with us.

God’s Purpose to Cut Short the Work

But we want to hear what God is going to do when we see ourselves as we are, comparing ourselves with God’s word, and examining ourselves in deep heart searching. As we think to ourselves, “Oh dear, I don’t even to want to look too deeply, because it concerns me about myself; I don’t even think I’m ever going to change;” what does God say to such a person who realises he doesn’t have a lifetime anymore, and begins to despair of ever changing?

Romans 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: 28 For he will finish the work, and cut [it] short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

We want to be among the remnant, don’t we? There are millions of Seventh-day Adventists; there are billions of Christians, like the sand of the sea; but only a remnant will be saved. I have shared the depths of God’s word in different times with people, and they have often said to me, “What?? Only a hundred and forty four thousand? That leaves me out. Look at all the billions of people around!” Don’t think like that. If I want to be among the church triumphant, then God will do the work and cut it short in righteousness for His remnant people. This is what He says here. And what else does He say? Let us go on to let the word of our Lord sink deep into our appreciation:

Isaiah 44:21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou [art] my servant: I have formed thee; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

Are you picking up what He is saying? He is speaking to Israel who haven’t returned to Him. Have you and I returned to Him? Aren’t we here because we have returned to Him? But He is talking to a people who are His people but who haven’t returned to Him, and He says, Return unto Me. You don’t say to someone “Return unto me” if he has already returned. So He says, Return unto Me, for I have redeemed thee. What is He saying before you have returned unto Him? “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me.

I am amazed. God is an amazing person. Before He even begins to purify me, He says, I have already blotted out your sins. Isn’t that what Jesus has done for the whole world, if they would only believe? Jesus has died for every human being, if they would only believe their sins are blotted out because He died for them; so that when you and I, who now are discovering our sins, would actually come to Him in the light of the beautiful statements that He has made here. He says, “Look, I have formed thee, I have brought you to this position where you are. You are my servant, O Israel; I am not forgetting you.” Phenomenal meditation. We are told to reflect upon Him who speaks like this, and be confident;

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:

He says, I have blotted out your transgressions. So as they come upon before you, remember, you just pour your heart out to Him; they are blotted out. Confess, believe, trust in Me, He says, because I have got you where you are now, and the work that I have done for you up to this point in time, I am able to complete. Where are you and I in our walk with God? Where do we find ourselves? Discovering our deep entrenched condition; we are trying to change and can’t; and God will work it efficiently. He is going to get rid of it all. He has started the good work, He will finish it. This is it.

But in the midst of all this, we don’t just read God’s word singularly in one passage. There are other passages that are connected with all this. He also says the following. This is very interesting language now; he is speaking to Israel, and we are to be Israel:

If Only You Had Listened to Me

Isaiah 48:18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

You can see Him yearning here. Look, He says, you don’t have the peace that you wanted? Where have you failed? If only you had listened to Me in the past perfectly, then had thy peace been as a river.

Isaiah 48:8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time [that] thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

This is the same God who is saying, I have covered your sins.

Isaiah 48:9 For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. 10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. 11 For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]: for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

When we read God’s word in its balanced approach, God doesn’t just give us a pie in the sky by and by, like “I have covered you, I love you, etc.” There is something He reminds us of. Have you listened to Me all the time? He says. If you had listened to Me all the time, you would have had peace. Are we in trouble over different situations in life? Is there perfect peace? He says, Look, I am giving you the fruit of your own doing and my anger, because you have not listened. Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously. I knew what you would be doing. Before you did it, I knew you would be doing it.

And as we look back and see what we have done, and we feel all disheartened, and we think to ourselves, Look at me; He says, I knew it; I knew it before it happened. I knew that you were a transgressor from the womb. Look back at your childhood, before you gave your heart to the Lord; were you a transgressor from the womb? Do we disobey until we wake up? He says, While you were doing this, I was patiently waiting; I could be angry; but for My name’s sake will I defer Mine anger; and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Isn’t He a wonderful God? He knows me; He knows where I have gone wrong; He knows where I have failed; and it’s true: treacherously! Let none of us ever think that we haven’t been treacherous. We sometimes compare ourselves with others, those who have really been treacherous, and we think to ourselves, Well, I’m not as bad as that.

But He says, Thou hast dealt treacherously, and from the womb thou wast a transgressor; but for My own sake I have not let out on you My anger. For how should My name be polluted? and I will not give My glory unto another.

In the Furnace of Affliction

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

This is what we have seen in the beginning. The Lord has to work fast with us—through the furnace of affliction. If I want to be perfect when Jesus comes, what is going to happen in my life? It’s going to be hot. It’s going to be a furnace of affliction; because He is going to cut short His work in righteousness. And if I don’t run away from Him, it is going to be hot, excruciatingly hot! This is repeated in Malachi:

Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he [is] like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

We are to offer to God righteousness. Our sins have been covered, yes; but our character needs purging, our life needs purifying in the furnace of the Refiner’s fire. The same God who comforts us that He is not going to cast us out, is saying, I am going to have to do a quick work with you before I come. The day of His coming is the time of the end, which started in 1798; and over that period of time God’s people have been going through a character-purifying experience; and we need to learn faster than they.

Who God Really Is

So as we let these words percolate into our consciousness, consider who God really is in the midst of all this.

Isaiah 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I [am] he; I [am] the first, I also [am] the last. 13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: [when] I call unto them, they stand up together.

Here is another field of meditation as to realising who we are dealing with, and who is dealing with us. He hath laid the foundation of the earth. We are so illumined today; people have examined deep down in the earth, deep down in the ocean, and you can now look at documentaries today and see the depth of it. How overwhelming it is. Who is behind it all? Who can control that? I am He, says God; I am the first and the last. This is the being whom we are worshipping, the being who is at work to purify us, and He will cut short His work in righteousness because we have too short a time.

Consider Him. Consider that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” He, the great God who laid the foundation of the earth, and who spanned the heavens; He calls unto them, and they stand up together. They do whatever He says to them; and He says to us, You are mine; I am inside of you, I am keeping you alive; your heart is beating still. With all the suffering of death that sin has created inside of us, still He says, I am still keeping you, because I am working with you in the fiery furnace. Let us reconsider His words to Job:

Job 12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. 9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? 10 In whose hand [is] the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

In Him we live, and move, and have our being. In His hand is your life. Whatever you and I are going through, we are in His hand. Let us remember that.

In His Hand

Psalm 95:3 For the LORD [is] a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand [are] the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills [is] his also. 5 The sea [is] his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry [land]. 6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. 7 For he [is] our God; and we [are] the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, [and] as [in] the day of temptation in the wilderness:

You see, this is what the problem is: God has spoken so clearly to every person—Israel of old and modern-day Christians—and yet people say, I will not. As it says, In Him we live, and move, and have our being; He can do anything to restore us. But there is something that is in the soul and that doesn’t give over. If He has the universe in His hand, if He has laid the foundation of the earth, then as we look into the depths of creation, let them teach us; let them help us to grasp hold of the depth of the reality of God, who He really is to me in whom I live, and move, and have my being. Is there anything too hard for Him? Of course not. It’s so obvious.

Anything Too Hard for God?

Here He comes to Jeremiah who himself feels incapable, and He says:

Jeremiah 32:26 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, 27 Behold, I [am] the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

Anything? Is it too hard for you and me? Yes, it is. But not for God. Is there anything too hard for Me, the Creator of the universe? There is nothing too hard for Him. What is He able to do for you and me in our case? Is anything too hard for Him, to deal with me in my dispositions and my character defects that overwhelm me? I have tried so hard, and I have failed; and I have tried so hard again, I have tried to change my dispositions, and I can’t—it’s all too much.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

If He is going to change me quickly in these last days, is anything too hard? It is God which worketh in us; the God who speaks, and it is done, who speaks to the elements, and they stand up. If He will come to you and me, there is nothing too hard for Him. He worketh in us. So if there is anything good that I have done, I can’t say, I achieved that. No; it was God. I haven’t done a thing that I can glory in, to be able to say that I have reached that condition. It is totally God.

And as we go through our daily experiences, when we realise what we had experienced in the past, the victories that we have had; can you recall in your experiences how wonderful the Lord was to you back then in a given situation? “Wasn’t the Lord wonderful back then? Look what He did there. And now I am where I am, and today I am not even succeeding to do those other things that I am meant to be doing; my character defects still need to be dealt with.” But just a moment; remember the good things He has done in the past; remember how the Lord has led us in the past, and trust Him; because the good that I did back then was Him. And I am called upon to rely upon Him now, to come to the full internal release that He, the Creator in whom I live, and move, and have my being, is able to do what is now overwhelming me because I can’t achieve it. He is able to do it.

What Is He Able to Do?

Let us explore some more. What is He able to do? I love the way it is worded. What is written about the One whom we have just contemplated, who can do everything?

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever.

What does it say? He is able to keep you from falling and present you faultless before the presence of His glory. Here it is; there is nothing impossible for Him. And as I stand and examine my soul, and I see all those overwhelming concepts, the question comes to us: If He is able, why are we not ready yet? Let the word of God tell us, and let us accept the reality of what is written here:

Why Are We Not Ready Yet?

Satan seeks continually to block the way, so that the truth shall be bound about by human devising, and those who have light and knowledge are in the greatest danger unless they constantly consecrate themselves to God, humiliating self, and realizing the peril of the times. {CTr 368.2}

Why aren’t we fully there yet? What has Satan achieved? He seeks continually to block the way, so that the truth shall be bound about by human devising; and although we have light and knowledge, we are in great danger with this knowledge we have. Follow very carefully these thoughts. These are life-giving understandings that we must not just regard as a wonderful sermon coming from the pulpit. These are the answers to our internal struggles. We are in danger unless we constantly consecrate ourselves to this great God we have just contemplated here, in humiliating self, and realizing the peril of the times.

The time in which we are living is cited in Revelation 7:1-3. The winds of strife are being held back. In 1848 war was threatening to break out in Europe, but the third angel says to the four angels, Hold, until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. We are living in this time when the angels are doing this work; the purifying is going on; but Satan has managed to block the minds from seeing clearly.

Heavenly beings are appointed to answer the prayers of those who are working unselfishly for the interests of the cause of God. The very highest angels in the heavenly courts are appointed to work out the prayers that ascend to God for the advancement of the cause of God. Each angel has a particular post of duty, and is not permitted to leave for any other place. {CTr 368.3}

I absolutely love it. He is not permitted to leave for any other place.

If an angel should leave, the powers of darkness would gain an advantage. {Ibid.}

Day by day the conflict between good and evil is going on. . . . As a people we do not understand as we should the great conflict going on between invisible agencies, the controversy between loyal and disloyal angels. Evil angels are constantly at work, planning their line of attack, controlling as commanders, kings, and rulers, the disloyal human forces. {CTr 368.4}

I call upon you who are not ready for the last great controversy to wake up. You are not watching for that which is soon coming upon the earth. Human instrumentalities under the control of fallen angels are seeking to gather in their harvest. Those who would find themselves under the protection of the angels of God must live wholly for God’s glory, prepared to stand in their lot and in their place. {CTr 368.5}

It’s easy to read this, and then to lose it just as quickly. But this is for you and me to be considering. What must we individually do to ensure God’s success in us? We are to consecrate ourselves, humiliate ourselves. This is what we must do if we are going to let God do His work with us. There is something in the way that is the devil which his contorted ways of bringing these things to our mind, and there is self. These two factors are there to block the way. And the only way we are going to get success is by consecrating ourselves to Him continually, humiliating self continually.

What a wonderful thought it is that we, poor, fallen sinners, can become one with Christ, partakers of His divine nature, through His grace refined, purified, glorified. We may overcome, and sit down with . . . Christ. {TDG 202.3}

We may, yes. But now comes the important thing; what must I do?

Be Passive in His Hands

We are to be conformed to His image. He loves, and He will help us. We are to be passive in His hands. {TDG 202.3}

What are we to be? Do you know what “passive” means? We are called to submit; but submit in total passivity. We sung it in our hymn. Be as the clay; don’t interfere. Don’t let self cry out, “I don’t want this!” Because it will. If we will learn to be totally passive in His hands, we will let Him who is able to purge us and cleanse us in the furnace of fire. What does passive mean? Just let Him do it. If it’s a painful furnace, let it be. If I, self, am crying out, “This hurts too much!” I am going to block His will in my life. I am going to block it. Passive, totally passive in His hands—this is what we must be. And I can be passive in His hands because He can do it; He can perfect me. He can do anything; nothing is too hard for Him. But the only thing that will be too hard for Him is if I block it, if self is not humbling itself, if I don’t consecrate myself unreservedly to Him—then He is hindered.

Don’t Block It

Consider again the strange way in which He expresses it:

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Nothing is impossible for God. In Him we live, and move, and have our being, as we saw before. What is next?

Psalm 32:9 Be ye not as the horse, [or] as the mule, [which] have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

Don’t be like someone who has to be held in against their own choices. Be passive. Let Him guide you with His eye. Let Him take you through the furnace of affliction. My sinful past is going to get in my way unless I am passive.

Meeting the Fire in the Right Spirit

Let us look at it in a practical reality. God can do it. But I must be passive. I mustn’t be like the mule.

So long as we are in the world, we shall meet with adverse influences. There will be provocations to test the temper; and it is by meeting these in a right spirit that the Christian graces are developed. {MH 487.2}

As these fiery experiences are taking place, as I am provoked to the uttermost by the fire of the furnace, I must meet it in what spirit? In the right spirit so that the Christian graces may be developed.

If Christ dwells in us, we shall be patient, kind, and forbearing, cheerful amid frets and irritations. {MH 487.2}

Can you do that? Cheerful amidst these burning experiences.

Day by day and year by year we shall conquer self, and grow into a noble heroism. This is our allotted task; but it cannot be accomplished without help from Jesus, resolute decision, unwavering purpose, continual watchfulness, and unceasing prayer. {MH 487.2}

Here is the answer.

Each one has a personal battle to fight. Not even God can make our characters noble or our lives useful, unless we become co-workers with Him. Those who decline the struggle lose the strength and joy of victory. {Ibid.}

There is something that God can’t do. He can do anything; but the reason that people are in the dire position they are in, not changing in their characters, is because Satan is blocking their understanding and God can’t interfere, can’t come in. Not even God can make our characters noble or our lives useful, unless we become co-workers with Him. And what does that mean? Unless we humble ourselves.

What Does It Mean?

What does it mean to let God do His work without me interfering, to be passive and let Him do what He needs to do? That’s our part. I must cooperate with Him.

…the Lord cannot work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure unless we crucify self, with the affections and lusts, at every step. If we try to work in our own way, we shall grievously fail. . . . We have a great work to do, and if we are laborers together with God, the ministering angels will cooperate with us in the work. {UL 218.4}

That hinges with what we read before. They have their different posts of duty, and they will work. They can’t run into any other post of duty; they have their own; and each one of us has its own as well.

There is a real work to be wrought in us. Constantly we must submit our will to God’s will, our way to God’s way. Our peculiar ideas will strive constantly for the supremacy, but we must make God all and in all. We are not free from the failings of humanity, but we must constantly strive to be free from these failings, not to be perfect in our own eyes, but perfect in every good work. We must not dwell on the dark side. Our souls must not rest in self, but in the One who is all and in all. {UL 218.2}

By beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are actually to be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. We expect too little, and we receive according to our faith. We are not to cling to our own ways, our own plans, our own ideas; {UL 218.3}

How many times we cling to certain things we really want so badly. But we are not to cling to it if it gets in the way.

…we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Besetting sins are to be conquered, and evil habits overcome. Wrong dispositions and feelings are to be rooted out, and holy tempers and emotions begotten in us by the Spirit of God.{UL 218.3}

Feelings? If it doesn’t feel good, what do we do? I don’t want it; it doesn’t feel right. But if God’s word is bringing something across to you and is calling you to action, don’t go by feelings. Be passive.

Laying Off Self

Self is the most difficult thing we have to manage. In laying off burdens, let us not forget to lay self at the feet of Christ. Hand yourself over to Jesus, to be molded and fashioned by Him, that you may be made vessels unto honor. Your temptations, your ideas, your feelings, must all be laid at the foot of the cross. Then the soul is ready to listen to words of divine instruction. Jesus will give you to drink of the water which flows from the river of God. Under the softening and subduing influence of His Spirit your coldness and listlessness will disappear. Christ will be in you a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. {UL 218.5}

This is what it means to be passive. Self must be laid aside. Feelings and dispositions are to be laid right aside, so that whatever is happening to me, I am passive in the hands of the Lord, because He is at work, taking me through the furnace of affliction, purifying my character. Be passive.

And the release, the wonderful comfort that comes from this puts an end to the struggle. I drift with Him. He takes care of me as He takes care of the universe. It is a beautiful experience. It doesn’t matter what is happening to me anymore. If the heavens fall, it doesn’t matter; the Lord is in control, because He is calling upon the heavens to do what they have to do. It is an experience that is the peace that He wants us to have.

Perfect Rest

Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. {DA 331.2}

Perfect passiveness—acquiescence—totally resigned.

The Lord says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3. Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the glory–character–of Christ will be received into the Paradise of God. A renovated race shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy. {DA 331.2}

Jesus will come and take us home. May this peace be ours, is my prayer. And may God grant us to be passive, totally passive, so that He can finish His work quickly in our lives.


(Illustration by Good News Productions, International, used under CC BY)

Posted on 19/04/2019, in Divine Service Sermons, Peace and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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