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Prayer is heaven's ordained means of success in the conflict with sin and the development of Christian character. Pr 52.

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God Alone can Renew the Heart

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13.

    Far more than we do, we need to understand the issues at stake in the conflict in which we are engaged. We need to understand more fully the value of the truths that God has given for this time and the danger of allowing our minds to be diverted from them by the great deceiver.

    The infinite value of the sacrifice required for our redemption reveals the fact that sin is a tremendous evil. Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted. Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul. Temptations from without find an answering chord within the heart, and the feet turn imperceptibly toward evil.

    As the sacrifice in our behalf was complete, so our restoration from the defilement of sin is to be complete. There is no act of wickedness that the law will excuse; there is no unrighteousness that will escape its condemnation. The life of Christ was a perfect fulfillment of every precept of the law. He said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments” (John 15:10). His life is our standard of obedience and service.

    God alone can renew the heart. “It is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, A.R.V.). But we are bidden: “Work out your own salvation” (verse 12, A.R.V.).

    Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in character be made, by a few feeble, intermittent efforts.... The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.

    The strongest evidence of man’s fall from a higher state is the fact that it costs so much to return. The way of return can be gained only by hard fighting, inch by inch, every hour. By a momentary act of the will, one may place himself in the power of evil; but it requires more than a momentary act of will to break these fetters and attain to a higher, holier life. The purpose may be formed, the work begun; but its accomplishment will require toil, time, and perseverance, patience and sacrifice.

    Beset with temptations without number, we must resist firmly or be conquered.... Paul’s sanctification was the result of a constant conflict with self. He said: “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did God’s will, however crucifying to his own nature. God leads His people on step by step.—Testimonies for the Church 8:312, 313.

From Reflecting Christ - Page 292

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