22nd General Conference Session Special Report
How beautiful is the first-love experience of new believers! Yet how important it is to be sure that it continues throughout our Christian journee. We are to buy from Jesus gold tried in the fire that we may be rich, white raiment that we may be clothed, and to anoint our eyes with eyesalve that we may see. (.)
The world routinely teaches us that we are to be accustomed to stand on our own, to be self-sufficient and not to need anything—so the injunction for us—because of our great deficiency—to obtain these items seems rather foreign to human nature.
What is this “gold tried in the fire”? We are told by Inspiration that it is “faith that works by love.”1 Since “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” ( ), we really do not need more faith than what God has already given us. But the faith that we already have grows and develops—in fact, the “just shall live by faith” ( ). Our faith grows and develops by exercise, first of all, by hearing, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” ( ). So, in summary, faith comes by the word of God. By believing in the word of Jesus, we receive more than any other way possible.
Remember the experience of the centurion who exercised the faith he had received from birth (). Why? Circumstances arose that caused the centurion to realize his need of Jesus who was able to heal his servant by one word. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” ( ). Likewise today, the same creative power that made the world can create in us what we do not have. God promises, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” ( ). A new heart—just imagine, hasn’t that been the goal of our prayers for many years now? I remember that as early as the age of 6, I had the tendency to do bad things. My parents wondered about my future. They hoped that perhaps the schoolteacher would change me. Finally, by the time I was 18, I could not reconcile a positive future with the state of my life. I was trying to find a way to change myself, but could not.
Then one morning about 2:00 a.m., I remembered that my grandparents had given a Bible to my parents. I found it and started reading it. Then, the next time I went to a disco bar, I looked at the people dancing there and thought, “Is that really the way I look, too?” . . . The word of God was changing me. . . . Soon afterward, I was invited to an evangelistic meeting at the church—and when the speaker asked for someone to pray, I found myself volunteering.
As we believe in the power of God to create something out of nothing, we are creationists, not evolutionists. The Lord is omnipotent; He does not need time in order to fulfill His promises. If every one of us would allow the word of God to work in our hearts the same way we did when we first accepted the truth, we would not be here today—we would already be in the kingdom of Heaven. So, even right now we can experience the same grace as when we first accepted Jesus. The word of God is all-powerful to sustain the world. He is able to maintain our love for Him if we desire His presence the same way as when we first trusted Him.
Think of how it is when a small child learns to walk. As soon as the child is able to walk alone, he or she tends to walk away from the parent, instead of wanting to be carried. Likewise with us! As soon as we think that we can walk alone, we cease to depend on God’s word—and so the creative power of God’s word is not as active in our lives as it should be. If you feel that the promise ofis not being fulfilled in your life today, ask yourself: How much am I reading God’s word today? How much am I depending on it?
Are you scared that the word of the Lord will transform you so much that you will no longer crave the things of this world? Are you trying to hold onto some kind of an old identity instead of surrendering fully to God?
Are we afraid to allow some words of Scripture to transform us drastically? We need to be like little, dependent children—trusting God completely.
Do you want that gold tried in the fire? Do you want that faith that works by love? This is our chance—to “buy” by studying the word of God profoundly. Read it to your children morning and evening. The same Lord can create this life in the lives of both you and your children, just as He created the world. May the Lord bless His church with this hope! Amen.