Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 10: A Knowledge of God
Nature speaks to our senses without ceasing. The open heart will be impressed
with the love and glory of God as revealed through the works of His hands.
Many are the ways in which God is seeking to
make Himself known to us and bring us into
communion with Him. Nature speaks to our
senses without ceasing. The open heart will be
impressed with the love and glory of God as revealed
through the works of His hands. The listening ear
can hear and understand the communications of God
through the things of nature. The green fields, the
lofty trees, the buds and flowers, the passing cloud,
the falling rain, the babbling brook, the glories of the
heavens, speak to our hearts, and invite us to become
acquainted with Him who made them all.
Our Saviour bound up His precious lessons with
the things of nature. The trees, the birds, the flowers
of the valleys, the hills, the lakes, and the beautiful
heavens, as well as the incidents and surroundings of
daily life, were all linked with the words of truth,
that His lessons might thus be often recalled to mind,
even amid the busy cares of man's life of toil.
God would have His children appreciate His works
and delight in the simple, quiet beauty with which
He has adorned our earthly home. He is a lover of
the beautiful, and above all that is outwardly attractive
He loves beauty of character; He would have
us cultivate purity and simplicity, the quiet graces
of the flowers.
If we will but listen, God's created works will
teach us precious lessons of obedience and trust. [p. 86] From the stars that in their trackless courses through
space follow from age to age their appointed path,
down to the minutest atom, the things of nature obey
the Creator's will. And God cares for everything
and sustains everything that He has created. He who
upholds the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity,
at the same time cares for the wants of the little
brown sparrow that sings its humble song without
fear. When men go forth to their daily toil, as when
they engage in prayer; when they lie down at night,
and when they rise in the morning; when the rich
man feasts in his palace, or when the poor man gathers
his children about the scanty board, each is tenderly
watched by the heavenly Father. No tears are
shed that God does not notice. There is no smile
that He does not mark.
If we would but fully believe this, all undue anxieties
would be dismissed. Our lives would not be so
filled with disappointment as now; for everything,
whether great or small, would be left in the hands
of God, who is not perplexed by the multiplicity of
cares, or overwhelmed by their weight. We should
then enjoy a rest of soul to which many have long
As your senses delight in the attractive loveliness
of the earth, think of the world that is to come, that
shall never know the blight of sin and death; where
the face of nature will no more wear the shadow of
the curse. Let your imagination picture the home of
the saved, and remember that it will be more glorious
than your brightest imagination can portray. In the
varied gifts of God in nature we see but the faintest [p. 87] gleaming of His glory. It is written, "Eye hath not
seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the
heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
for them that love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9.
The poet and the naturalist have many things to
say about nature, but it is the Christian who enjoys
the beauty of the earth with the highest appreciation,
because he recognizes his Father's handiwork and
perceives His love in flower and shrub and tree. No
one can fully appreciate the significance of hill and
vale, river and sea, who does not look upon them as
an expression of God's love to man.
God speaks to us through His providential workings
and through the influence of His Spirit upon the
heart. In our circumstances and surroundings, in the
changes daily taking place around us, we may find
precious lessons if our hearts are but open to discern
them. The psalmist, tracing the work of God's providence,
says, "The earth is full of the goodness of the
Lord." "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things,
even they shall understand the loving-kindness of
the Lord." Psalm 33:5; 107:43.
God speaks to us in His word. Here we have in
clearer lines the revelation of His character, of His
dealings with men, and the great work of redemption.
Here is open before us the history of patriarchs and
prophets and other holy men of old. They were
men "subject to like passions as we are." James 5:17.
We see how they struggled through discouragements
like our own, how they fell under temptation as we
have done, and yet took heart again and conquered
through the grace of God; and, beholding, we are [p. 88] encouraged in our striving after righteousness. As we
read of the precious experiences granted them, of the
light and love and blessing it was theirs to enjoy, and
of the work they wrought through the grace given
them, the spirit that inspired them kindles a flame of
holy emulation in our hearts and a desire to be like
them in character—like them to walk with God.
Jesus said of the Old Testament Scriptures,—and
how much more is it true of the New,—"They are
they which testify of Me," the Redeemer, Him in
whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. John
5:39. Yes, the whole Bible tells of Christ. From the
first record of creation—for "without Him was not
anything made that was made"—to the closing promise,
"Behold, I come quickly," we are reading of His
works and listening to His voice. John 1:3;
Revelation 22:12. If you would become acquainted with
the Saviour, study the Holy Scriptures.
Fill the whole heart with the words of God. They
are the living water, quenching your burning thirst.
They are the living bread from heaven. Jesus declares,
"Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink
His blood, ye have no life in you." And He explains
Himself by saying, "The words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:53, 63. Our
bodies are built up from what we eat and drink; and
as in the natural economy, so in the spiritual economy:
it is what we meditate upon that will give tone and
strength to our spiritual nature.
The theme of redemption is one that the angels
desire to look into; it will be the science and the song
of the redeemed throughout the ceaseless ages of [p. 89] eternity. Is it not worthy of careful thought and
study now? The infinite mercy and love of Jesus,
the sacrifice made in our behalf, call for the most
serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon
the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor.
We should meditate upon the mission of Him who
came to save His people from their sins. As we thus
contemplate heavenly themes, our faith and love will
grow stronger, and our prayers will be more and
more acceptable to God, because they will be more
and more mixed with faith and love. They will be
intelligent and fervent. There will be more constant
confidence in Jesus, and a daily, living experience in
His power to save to the uttermost all that come unto
God by Him.
As we meditate upon the perfections of the Saviour,
we shall desire to be wholly transformed and
renewed in the image of His purity. There will be a
hungering and thirsting of soul to become like Him
whom we adore. The more our thoughts are upon
Christ, the more we shall speak of Him to others and
represent Him to the world.
The Bible was not written for the scholar alone;
on the contrary, it was designed for the common people.
The great truths necessary for salvation are made
as clear as noonday; and none will mistake and lose
their way except those who follow their own judgment
instead of the plainly revealed will of God.
We should not take the testimony of any man as
to what the Scriptures teach, but should study the
words of God for ourselves. If we allow others to
do our thinking, we shall have crippled energies and [p. 90] contracted abilities. The noble powers of the mind
may be so dwarfed by lack of exercise on themes
worthy of their concentration as to lose their ability
to grasp the deep meaning of the word of God. The
mind will enlarge if it is employed in tracing out the
relation of the subjects of the Bible, comparing scripture
with scripture and spiritual things with spiritual.
There is nothing more calculated to strengthen the
intellect than the study of the Scriptures. No other
book is so potent to elevate the thoughts, to give vigor
to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths of the
Bible. If God's word were studied as it should be, men
would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character,
and a stability of purpose rarely seen in these times.
But there is but little benefit derived from a hasty
reading of the Scriptures. One may read the whole
Bible through and yet fail to see its beauty or comprehend
its deep and hidden meaning. One passage
studied until its significance is clear to the mind and
its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of
more value than the perusal of many chapters with
no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction
gained. Keep your Bible with you. As you have
opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory.
Even while you are walking the streets you may
read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it
in the mind.
We cannot obtain wisdom without earnest attention
and prayerful study. Some portions of Scripture
are indeed too plain to be misunderstood, but
there are others whose meaning does not lie on the
surface to be seen at a glance. Scripture must be [p. 91] compared with scripture. There must be careful
research and prayerful reflection. And such study will
be richly repaid. As the miner discovers veins of
precious metal concealed beneath the surface of the
earth, so will he who perseveringly searches the word
of God as for hid treasure find truths of the greatest
value, which are concealed from the view of the careless
seeker. The words of inspiration, pondered in
the heart, will be as streams flowing from the fountain
Never should the Bible be studied without prayer.
Before opening its pages we should ask for the
enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and it will be given.
When Nathanael came to Jesus, the Saviour exclaimed,
"Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"
Nathanael said, "Whence knowest Thou me?" Jesus
answered, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou
wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." John 1:47, 48.
And Jesus will see us also in the secret places of
prayer if we will seek Him for light that we may
know what is truth. Angels from the world of light
will be with those who in humility of heart seek for
The Holy Spirit exalts and glorifies the Saviour.
It is His office to present Christ, the purity of His
righteousness, and the great salvation that we have
through Him. Jesus says, "He shall receive of Mine,
and shall show it unto you." John 16:14. The Spirit
of truth is the only effectual teacher of divine truth.
How must God esteem the human race, since He gave
His Son to die for them and appoints His Spirit to
be man's teacher and continual guide!
Click here to read the next chapter:
"The Privilege of Prayer"