The Signs of the Times February 18, 1903 par. 1- 9
“Life is disciplinary. While in the world, the Christian will 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. If injuries and insults are meekly borne, if insulting words are responded to by gentle answers, and oppressive acts by kindness, this is evidence that the Spirit of Christ dwells in the heart.”
“The standard is high to which we must attain if we would be children of God, pure, holy, and undefiled. How could we reach this standard if there were no difficulties to meet, no obstacles to surmount, nothing to develop patience and endurance? Trials are not the smallest blessings that come to us. They are designed to nerve us to determination to succeed. Instead of allowing them to hinder, oppress, and destroy us, we are to use them as God’s means of enabling us to gain the victory over self.”
“…When some one speaks fretfully, simply “stand, and rejoice.” Do not speak a word in reply to the provoking utterance. If the lips are opened to speak in vindication of self, a volume of words will flow out. Keep silent. This is the easiest way to gain the victory.”
“…Let us learn lessons of self-control. Feelings of anger, when met with silence, die out very quickly. Silence is eloquence, and puts to shame the one who is full of wrath. We can mortify Satan by keeping the tongue with all diligence.”
“Not only are we to rejoice, but we are to “glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Wonderful love! “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
“The apostle Paul declares, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Those who do not have this peace are liable to become irritable. He who manifests a fretful, scolding spirit may well ask himself the question, Am I a Christian? So long as he frets and scolds, he is not a Christian, and is exerting an influence that does great harm. Let us put on Christ; let us be Christ-like in every word and act; let us so live that others may see the difference between the disposition of a Christian and the disposition of one who makes no claim to be a follower of Jesus.”
“We are to realize that the divine Presence is constantly by our side. Christ has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” He hears every unkind word, every harsh, cutting expression. Could we see Him standing by our side, would we speak such words? Words that create heart-burnings and disunion should never escape our lips. Let us guard carefully every word and act, walking in all lowliness of mind, cherishing a spirit of meekness and kindness.”
“Fathers and mothers, whether you are in your home or elsewhere, it is never right for you to speak one disrespectful word to each other. If you are harassed, say firmly to yourself, “This is from Satan. He wants me to echo his words, to communicate his spirit; but this I will not do.” Determine to speak in love; to cultivate patience, kindness, long-suffering, courtesy, and delicacy in dealing with one another. Why?–Because you are Christians; because you are preparing for the society of the heavenly angels, for a home in the kingdom of glory, where no harsh, unkind, impatient words are ever spoken. Remember that it is Satan who prompts men and women to speak unkindly. Sanctify your talent of speech. Words are a precious gift, capable of doing much good, of accomplishing a great work for the Master. Every thought, every word, is recorded in the books of heaven. Guard well your thoughts and words, that in the judgment you may not be ashamed to meet your record.”
“As Satan failed utterly in his attempt to cause Christ to sin, so he will fail of overcoming us, if we will act sensibly. Let us firmly resolve that when the enemy tempts us to speak hastily, feeling that we are treated unjustly or are misunderstood, we will not open our lips. If we should speak even one word in reply, the enemy would be almost sure to gain the victory. We must learn the lesson of silence. With tongues bridled, we may be victorious in every trial of patience through which we are called to pass.” The Signs of the Times February 18, 1903 par. 1- 9.
These passages from “The Signs of the Times” offer valuable lessons and insights about maintaining a Christ-like attitude in the face of adversity and the significance of our words and actions in the Christian life:
- Adversity as a Disciplinarian: Life is often filled with adverse influences and provocations, which are opportunities for spiritual growth and development. Christians should see these challenges as opportunities to grow in their faith and develop Christ-like character.
- The Power of Silence: Responding to insults and provocations with silence can be a powerful way to maintain self-control and avoid escalating conflicts. Silence, in this context, is seen as a means of victory over anger and impatience.
- Exemplifying Christ’s Love: Christians are called to exemplify Christ’s love and grace in their actions and words. A scolding or fretful spirit is incongruent with the Christian life, and believers are encouraged to be Christ-like in all their interactions.
- Guarding Our Speech: Words hold great power, and every word and action is recorded in the “books of heaven.” Believers are reminded to guard their speech, speaking in love and kindness, and to cultivate patience, courtesy, and meekness.
- Divine Presence and Accountability: Christians should be aware that the divine presence is always with them. Knowing that Christ is with us should influence our words and actions, encouraging us to maintain a Christ-like disposition.
- Victory Over Self: Adversity and provocations can be viewed as tools for developing patience and endurance. By responding in a Christ-like manner, we gain victory over our own weaknesses and become more Christ-like in the process.
- Silence as a Virtue: The passages emphasize the virtue of silence when faced with unkind or provocative words. It’s a practical way to demonstrate self-control and avoid unnecessary conflicts.
- Words as a Precious Gift: Our words are described as a precious gift capable of doing much good. Christians are encouraged to use this gift wisely and lovingly, as every word is recorded and reflects our character.
- Satan’s Temptations: Satan tempts individuals to speak hastily, especially in moments of perceived injustice or misunderstanding. By resisting this temptation and choosing silence and love, we can overcome these trials of patience.
- Preparing for the Heavenly Kingdom: Christians are reminded that they are preparing for a heavenly kingdom where harsh, unkind, and impatient words have no place. This insight underscores the importance of embodying Christ’s love and grace in our earthly lives.
Overall, these passages provide profound guidance on how to navigate challenges, interact with others, and maintain a Christ-like character. They stress the transformative power of responding to adversity with grace, kindness, and patience, aligning our lives with the teachings of Christ.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)