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 Issue #63 Mon, 12 Dec 2005

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seeker of truth

Female Number of posts : 2309
Age : 26
Real Name : Alyssa
Location : Eastern USA
Registration date : 2006-12-17

PostSubject: Issue #63 Mon, 12 Dec 2005   March 11th 2007, 22:02

Come Higher

Dear Youth,

I get so disappointed when I hear people say things like, "We can never stop sinning" or "Everyone makes mistakes, and we always will, right until Jesus comes!" These people will then go to the trouble of trying to find passages in the Bible or inspiration to uphold their principle. Often people will use passages such as Romans chapter 7 to describe a converted man: "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Romans 7:19) They will quote this and then say, "See, even Paul says that Christian's will always serve sin and make mistakes!"

We could spend a lot of time in Romans 7, looking at the context of these kinds of passages and other parts of the Bible (also from Paul's writings) and see what Paul was saying when he made these statements, but the purpose of the devotional this week, is not to study Romans chapter 7 (you might like to study Romans 7, comparing scripture with scripture, for yourself in your own personal study time), but rather we will find out God's message of freedom for us as youth. We will take a look at the good news of the gospel, and find encouragement from the Word of God. We will see how we too, can truly "come higher".

Should Christians be happy with a kind of experience that leaves them floundering around in the water all their life? Or should they be desirous of something better, something that the world cannot offer, the kind of experience Jesus Himself had? God is always calling us to "Come higher"! "God's ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.'" (The Desire of Ages, p. 311) He doesn't want to leave us thrashing around all our life, trying to do good, but never getting anywhere. The only reason we ever feel like that sometimes is because of our own choices and decisions to do things in our own strength, not because there is no better way!

When I hear people say things like I mentioned before, I feel very saddened and disappointed for the people who feel and believe that way! They are preaching a message of bondage and slavery, yet they call it freedom! They say that have the "good news" (we are not under the law, but under grace) of the gospel, but they don't realize that the good news goes beyond our sinful, painful state. The gospel really is, friends, GOOD NEWS! The gospel Jesus, Elijah, and John the Baptist preached was a message of true FREEDOM! Freedom from the law and chains of sin that have so long kept us captive! The good news is that we don't have to keep making mistakes! We can find freedom and happiness and gain heights which we never before thought possible to attain! Is that what YOU want, young people? Do you want to come higher? Do you want to step above yourself and the crowd and find freedom and happiness in Jesus Christ? Do you want to REALLY experience the good news of the gospel?

"Continual progress in knowledge and virtue is God's purpose for us. His law is the echo of His own voice, giving to all the invitation, "Come up higher. Be holy, holier still." Every day we may advance in perfection of Christian character." (Help in Daily Living, p. 39)

So many times we find ourselves fighting alone in the warfare against sin and self. We get discouraged and lose heart, faith, and hope. We bring ourselves to believe that because Jesus loves us so much, He will save us anyway, no matter what we do! "This goody-goody religion that makes light of sin and that is forever dwelling upon the love of God to the sinner, encourages the sinner to believe that God will save him while he continues in sin. This is the way that many are doing who profess to believe present truth. . . .There must be a straining of every nerve and spirit and muscle to leave the world, its customs, its practices, and its fashions." (Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 155) It is true that God loves us more than we could ever imagine, "For God IS love." (1 John 4:16) But, it is because of His love for us that He will not leave us in bondage to Satan, self and sin! It is BECAUSE He loves us that He is calling us higher!

"With God ALL things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) "I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13) Even overcome my selfishness? Overcome sin? Yes, young people, with Christ there to strengthen us, we can do the impossible! But, how can we learn to press forward, to come higher as Christ would have us? How can we experience the good news of the gospel? How can we, too, do the impossible?

It takes faith, friends. I like to use the example of Peter. He had faith in God when He walked on water. But as soon as He noticed how boisterous the waves and wind was, he was afraid, and He took His eyes off the Savior. It was then, and only then, that he began to sink. Jesus then said to Peter, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt." (Matthew 14:31) It works the same way with us. As soon as we doubt that it IS possible to overcome, as soon as we take our eyes off the Savior, we begin to fall!

Our eyes and lives should be focused upon Jesus and heaven. We need to look at what is UNSEEN, and not what is SEEN by human eyes. The focus should shift off from self and material possessions, it should shift from looking at our own faults and weaknesses and those of others, to look toward Jesus, who can save us from our sins, who can change our heart and draw us higher. "We need to keep ever before us this vision of things unseen. It is thus that we shall be able to set a right value on the things of eternity and the things of time. It is this that will give us power to influence others for the higher life." (The Ministry of Healing, p. 508) This is why we are counseled by Paul to: "Set our (your) affections (affection) on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:2)

We need faith to believe that Jesus can keep us from falling. Do you believe this friends? Do you believe that Jesus can bring you to do the impossible? It is nothing that we do in and of ourselves. Yes, we must do our part by exercising faith and by surrendering to the Lord, but ultimately, "It is God which worketh IN you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13) We are told that: "He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that He can keep him from sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God." (Review and Herald, March 10, 1904)

"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." (Jude 1:24) Young people, do you believe that Jesus will do this for YOU? Jesus invites you to come HIGHER, to press FORWARD! He wants to bring you, bring everyone, to places and heights which are beyond your imagination! He wants you to experience what He did while a man on this earth, to experience freedom, joy, peace, and rest. Ask Him today to do that in YOUR life, to bring you HIGHER each and every day! And don't look back, press on, press upward!

For He bids us, "My children, come higher!"

--Stephanie Fox
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Issue #63 Mon, 12 Dec 2005
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