That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3.
Christians must be like Christ. They should have the same spirit, exert the same influence, and have the same moral excellence that He possessed. The idolatrous and corrupt in heart must repent and turn to God. Those who are proud and self-righteous must abase self and become penitent and meek and lowly in heart. The worldly-minded must have the tendrils of the heart removed from the rubbish of the world, around which they are clinging, and entwined about God; they must become spiritually minded. The dishonest and untruthful must become just and true. The ambitious and covetous must be hid in Jesus and seek His glory, not their own. They must despise their own holiness and lay up their treasure above. The prayerless must feel the need of both secret and family prayer, and must make their supplications to God with great earnestness.
As the worshipers of the true and living God we should bear fruit corresponding to the light and privileges we enjoy. Many are worshiping idols instead of the Lord of heaven and earth. Anything that men love and trust in instead of loving the Lord and trusting wholly in Him becomes an idol and is thus registered in the books of heaven. Even blessings are often turned into a curse.
The sympathies of the human heart, strengthened by exercise, are sometimes perverted until they become a snare. If one is reproved, there are always some who will sympathize with him. They entirely overlook the harm that has been done to God's cause by the wrong influence of one whose life and character do not in any way resemble those of the Pattern. God sends His servants with a message to the people professing to be followers of Christ; but some are children of God only in name, and they reject the warning.
God has in a wonderful manner endowed man with reasoning powers. He who fitted the tree to bear its burden of goodly fruit has made man capable of bearing the precious fruits of righteousness. He has planted man in His garden and tenderly cared for him, and He expected him to bear fruit. In the parable of the fig tree Christ says: “Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit.” ...
How anxiously we watch a favorite tree or plant, expecting it to reward our care by producing buds, blossoms, and fruit; and how disappointed we are to find upon it nothing but leaves. With how much more anxiety and tender interest does the heavenly Father watch the spiritual growth of those whom He has made in His own image and for whom He condescended to give His Son that they may be elevated, ennobled, and glorified.—Testimonies for the Church 5:249-251.
From Reflecting Christ - Page 110
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