SENTIMENTS SUPPORT EACH OTHER
LET US continue our examination of a second way by which we are to regulate our human sentiments by enslaving them to the will of God. First, let us look at the cooperation of the selfish feelings. If we have a family to support, employers to serve, or employees to manage, we may use that amount of self-confidence which makes us sure we can do the work that God has given us to do for their support, their proper direction, or their service; and use the self-respect necessary to attain those ends. We may also desire their esteem, as far as is necessary, for serving our employer, managing our employees, and providing and caring for our families. We must act in such a way that they cherish a good opinion of us, not that we want it for ourselves selfishly, but from the motive that this is necessary for us to carry out our obligations to them.
We should also guard ourselves against such injuries to ourselves as would endanger our ability to fulfill our duties toward our families, employees, and employers. We should use the desire for rest when needed to prevent our becoming unable to fulfill our duties. The desire of preserving our life by taking proper care of our health may be used as a servant of righteousness so that we may fulfill our duties amid our earthly relationships. When faced with opposition that would prevent our doing the duty that God gave us to do, we may resist such opposition, exercising such resistance in harmony with the rights of others.
We may hide that which, if known, would prevent the fulfilling of our duties toward our family, employers, or employees. We might, under certain circumstances, seek to destroy illegal conditions that would injure our employers and families. We may also exercise good financial judgment for our employer’s gain and for the support of our dependents, provided it does not violate the rights of others. We may also seek to retain enough money or property, provided this is done in conserving the rights of others, to prevent ourselves and our dependents from becoming a burden. We should also use food to gain strength, so that we may discharge our duties toward our husbands, wives, children, employers, or employees.
Similarly, the worldly and artistic sentiments, apart from those directly connected with discharging our obligations, may be used to contribute toward our fulfilling our duty in our earthly relations. Our love for home may serve our family by furnishing and keeping the house in good order, making a real home life possible and practical. Our love for fellowship helps us make good friends and exhibit companionship to them. Our love for nature and art may contribute toward elevating the natural tastes of our families. Humor and agreeableness will contribute to family love and peace. Vocal and instrumental music will make home life better. Our natural knowledge of foods, hygiene, sanitation, and the workings of the heart and mind may be a great blessing to our families. Our earthly careers can provide and care for their needs. This same principle applies to our relationships as employers and employees, and in our dealings along the line of justice with our fellow men, apart from the family and business relationships.
ENSLAVED SENTIMENTS SERVE HOLINESS
Let us notice the use of our worldly, artistic, and selfish sentiments for holiness as servants, by enslaving them to God’s will. In the family relationship, we make a servant of holiness in our love for husbands and wives. We love them because we hope by this love to help them get a better impression of our faith, and if possible, to bring them to see it, or to love it better (1 Peter 3: 1-7).
Our love for home may inspire us to keep it clean and well arranged, to which we may invite God’s people to come and hold services, and to enjoy our hospitality, in order that they may be furthered in their service of God. So, with the love for fellowship. We are not to drop our worldly friends when we come into the Truth, but remember our former love for them, the good things we saw in them that inspired our confidence in them, and therefore be friendly with them; not that we can enter entirely into what interests them, but we may feel some interest in them and their affairs. Our fellowship may favorably impress them with our faith, while if we ignore them, they will probably reject the gospel we wish to present for their blessing. Fellowshipliness will help us to bless our brethren in many ways.
Our love for nature and art may enable us to express our thoughts of God’s Word in a way to make them more attractive to others. If we have the gift of humor, it may help us to make a more favorable impression of the Truth and is a good weapon against error. The gift of instrumental or vocal music may pave the way for the gospel of Christ to enter some hearts more favorably. The same remark applies to agreeableness and the ability to speak and imitate well. Our earthly knowledge may prove useful. We may use it to give accompanying evidence that may favorably influence those who cannot be fully impressed by another line of evidence. Our earthly careers may, because of our toil and our industry, commend our loyalty to our employers. This will at least show that if a person gives faithful service, his religion must mean something. If we treat those whom we employ kindly, from the thought that we are seeking to commend the gospel to them, we often make a more favorable impression for the Truth.
The selfish sentiments may be used similarly as servants of holiness by enslaving them to God’s will. We may use self-confidence. We know we can do what God says He wants us to do. We may have that much of self-confidence in ourselves and to that extent make a servant of holiness of whatever quality we may have that the providence of God is calling for us to exercise in the interests of His cause, believing that by His grace we have the necessary strength for the occasion. Any use beyond that will develop pride, self-sufficiency. We can use our self-respect in such ways as to impress others more favorably toward the gospel, and to make us act worthily of it.
We may use our love of others’ approval to make a favorable impression upon them for the Truth’s sake. But let us watch that we do not allow self to appear and thus do good to be seen of men. We may use love for safety – shielding ourselves from dangers lest we be injured and be made incapable of further service. We may use love for ease and rest. If we find ourselves working at such a rate that we cannot do justice to God’s service, let us rest a little while and by the refreshment thus gained we may go on and offer more profitable service to God.
We may use self-defense, by defending ourselves against such attacks as would damage our influence for God’s cause. Our love of life enables us to care for our health, enabling us to avoid what we know would injure our health and use what would give us better results for God. We may use the love for hiding anything that would prove injurious to God’s cause, if known. In this way we may prevent many of our faults and failings from becoming known and thus prevent others from taking offence at the good news we offer. We may use this quality to hide natural defects from those who might be stumbled if they were revealed to them, as well as hide from them things in the Truth or the Truth people that would stumble them.
We may apply this method to the love for destroying injurious things. Let us break down, as far as it is in harmony with righteousness, whatever would destroy our influence for the Truth. We may use our love for gaining to acquire more means to put into the Lord’s service and thus advance the general interests of His cause. The love for retaining will enable us to have more to use in God’s service. We should eat such foods as will strengthen and help us in our service to God and avoid foods that would weaken our powers for God’s cause.
(to be continued)