1. LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS
a. Even when life is looking bleak, what is to be our attitude? Romans 12:12.
“All have trials; griefs hard to bear, temptations hard to resist. Do not tell your troubles to your fellow mortals, but carry everything to God in prayer. Make it a rule never to utter one word of doubt or discouragement. You can do much to brighten the life of others and strengthen their efforts, by words of hope and holy cheer.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 119, 120.
“There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate to offer up a petition to God. There is nothing that can prevent us from lifting up our hearts in the spirit of earnest prayer. In the crowds of the street, in the midst of a business engagement, we may send up a petition to God and plead for divine guidance, as did Nehemiah when he made his request before King Artaxerxes. A closet of communion may be found wherever we are. We should have the door of the heart open continually and our invitation going up that Jesus may come and abide as a heavenly guest in the soul.
“Although there may be a tainted, corrupted atmosphere around us, we need not breathe its miasma, but may live in the pure air of heaven. We may close every door to impure imaginings and unholy thoughts by lifting the soul into the presence of God through sincere prayer. Those whose hearts are open to receive the support and blessing of God will walk in a holier atmosphere than that of earth and will have constant communion with heaven.”—Ibid., p. 99.
2. OPEN HEART, OPEN HOME
a. Name one precious Christian trait often forgotten—but much valued—in today’s busy world. Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9.
“The Bible lays much stress upon the practice of hospitality. Not only does it enjoin hospitality as a duty, but it presents many beautiful pictures of the exercise of this grace and the blessings which it brings. . . .
“Lot, Abraham’s nephew, though he had made his home in Sodom, was imbued with the patriarch’s spirit of kindness and hospitality. Seeing at nightfall two strangers at the city gate, and knowing the dangers sure to beset them in that wicked city, Lot insisted on bringing them to his home. To the peril that might result to himself and his household he gave no thought. It was a part of his lifework to protect the imperiled and to care for the homeless, and the deed performed in kindness to two unknown travelers brought angels to his home. Those whom he sought to protect, protected him. At nightfall he had led them for safety to his door; at the dawn they led him and his household forth in safety from the gate of the doomed city.
“These acts of courtesy God thought of sufficient importance to record in His word; and more than a thousand years later they were referred to by an inspired apostle: ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares’ (Hebrews 13:2).
“The privilege granted Abraham and Lot is not denied to us. By showing hospitality to God’s children we, too, may receive His angels into our dwellings. Even in our day, angels in human form enter the homes of men and are entertained by them. And Christians who live in the light of God’s countenance are always accompanied by unseen angels, and these holy beings leave behind them a blessing in our homes.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 341, 342.
b. Of what great principle is this a reminder? Philippians 2:4.
“Our work in this world is to live for others’ good, to bless others, to be hospitable; and frequently it may be only at some inconvenience that we can entertain those who really need our care and the benefit of our society and our homes.”—Ibid., vol. 2, p. 645.
3. LOVE LIKE NO OTHER
a. Describe the depth of an amazing, outstanding quality we learn from Jesus. 1 Peter 1:21–23; Romans 12:14.
“We may learn the lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind as we go up to Mount Calvary, and, looking upon the cross, see our Saviour in agony, the Son of God dying, the Just for the unjust. Behold Him who could summon legions of angels to His assistance with one word, a subject of jest and merriment, of reviling and hatred. He gives Himself a sacrifice for sin. When reviled, He threatened not; when falsely accused, He opened not His mouth. He prays on the cross for His murderers. He is dying for them. He is paying an infinite price for every one of them. He would not lose one whom He has purchased at so great cost. He gives Himself to be smitten and scourged without a murmur. And this uncomplaining victim is the Son of God. His throne is from everlasting, and His kingdom shall have no end. . . . Look, O look upon the cross of Calvary; behold the royal victim suffering on your account. . . .
“The Son of God was rejected and despised for our sakes. Can you, in full view of the cross, beholding by the eye of faith the sufferings of Christ, tell your tale of woe, your trials? Can you nurse revenge of your enemies in your heart while the prayer of Christ comes from His pale and quivering lips for His revilers, His murderers—‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34)?”—That I May Know Him, p. 65.
b. Name some vital keys to winning souls for Christ. Romans 12:15.
“My brethren, let your hearts become broken and contrite. Let expressions of sympathy and love, which will not blister the tongue, flow from your lips. Let others feel that warmth which love can create in the heart.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1164.
“There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 143, 144.
4. RELATING TO OTHERS
a. What natural attitude must we all choose to replace with Christ’s way that is so different from our own—and why? James 1:9, 10; Romans 12:16.
“[Christ] saw that the weakness, the curse of the church, would be a spirit of self-righteousness. Men would think they could do something toward earning a place in the kingdom of heaven. They would imagine that when they had made certain advancement, the Lord would come in to help them. Thus there would be an abundance of self and little of Jesus. Many who had made a little advancement would be puffed up and think themselves superior to others. They would be eager for flattery, jealous if not thought most important. Against this danger Christ seeks to guard His disciples.
“All boasting of merit in ourselves is out of place. . . .
“Love rejoices in the truth and institutes no envious comparisons. He who possesses love compares only the loveliness of Christ and his own imperfect character.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 400-402.
b. When treated badly by others, what inspired wisdom should we always keep in mind? Romans 12:17, 18; Proverbs 16:7.
“Unswerving faith and unselfish love will overcome the difficulties that arise in the path of duty to hinder aggressive warfare. As those inspired by this faith go forward in the work of saving souls, they will run and not be weary, will walk and not faint.
“I assure you that if you work in right lines, God will make your enemies to be at peace with you. He will uphold and strengthen you. Make a covenant with God that you will guard well your words. ‘If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.’ (James 3:2). Remember that a revengeful speech never makes one feel that he has gained a victory. Let Christ speak through you. Do not lose the blessing that comes from thinking no evil.” —Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 243.
“In all your difficulties be calm and undisturbed, patient and forbearing, not rendering evil for evil, but good for evil. Look to the top of the ladder. God is above it. His glory shines on every soul ascending heavenward. Jesus is this ladder. Climb up by Him, cling to Him, and erelong you will step off the ladder into His everlasting kingdom.”—Ibid., vol. 8, p. 130.
5. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
a. Describe the patience of the saints we must develop if we expect to be sealed in Christ for eternity. Luke 21:19; Romans 12:19.
“There is a precious experience, an experience more precious than fine gold, to be gained by everyone who will walk by faith. He who will walk in the way of unwavering trust in God will have a connection with heaven. The child of God is to do his work, looking to God alone for strength and guidance. He must toil on without despondency and full of hope, even though he is placed in most trying and aggravating circumstances.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 2, p. 1022.
“When the defiance of God’s law is almost universal, when His people are pressed in affliction by their fellow men, the Lord will interpose.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 178.
“The fervent prayers of His people will be answered; for God loves to have His people seek Him with all the heart, and depend upon Him as their deliverer. He will be sought unto to do these things for His people, and He will arise as their protector and avenger.”— The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1081.
b. How are the faithful to shine in this generation? Romans 12:20, 21.
“We may never know until the judgment the influence of a kind, considerate course of action to the inconsistent, the unreasonable, and unworthy. If, after a course of provocation and injustice on their part, you treat them as you would an innocent person, you even take pains to show them special acts of kindness, then you have acted the part of a Christian; and they become surprised and ashamed, and see their course of action and meanness more clearly than if you plainly stated their aggravated acts to rebuke them.”—Medical Ministry, pp. 209, 210.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When tempted to vent my frustrations, what should I keep in mind?
2. Why should I recall those times when hospitality was a blessing to me?
3. How am I called to reflect the attitude of Christ toward His murderers?
4. In what areas of life is Satan making me think I’m somehow superior?
5. Even if I might be right, how should I treat those who may be wrong?