This devotional first appeared in https://www.revivalandreformation.org
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15.
The work of sanctification begins in the heart, and we must come into such a relation with God, that Jesus can put His divine mold upon us. We must be emptied of self in order to give room to Jesus, but how many have their hearts so filled with idols that they have no room for the Redeemer of the world. The world holds the hearts of men in captivity. They center their thoughts and affections upon their business, their position, their family. They hold to their opinions and ways, and cherish them as idols in the soul; but we cannot afford to yield ourselves to the service of self, holding to our own ways and ideas, and excluding the truth of God.
We must be emptied of self. But this is not all that is required; for when we have renounced our idols, the vacuum must be supplied. If the heart is left desolate, and the vacuum not supplied, it will be in the condition of him whose house was “empty, swept, and garnished” (Matthew 12:44), but without a guest to occupy it. The evil spirit took unto himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they entered in and dwelt there; and the last state of that man was worse than the first….
You may feel that you cannot meet the approval of heaven. You may say, “I was born with a natural tendency toward this evil, and I cannot overcome.” But every provision has been made by our heavenly Father whereby you may be able to overcome every unholy tendency. You are to overcome even as Christ overcame in your behalf. He says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21). It was sin that imperiled the human family; and before man was created the provision was made that if man failed to bear the test, Jesus would become His sacrifice and surety, that through faith in Him, man might be reconciled to God, for Christ was the Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). Christ died on Calvary that man might have power to overcome his natural tendencies to sin.
But one says, “Can I not have my own way, and act myself?” No, you cannot have your way, and enter the kingdom of heaven. No “my way” will be there. No human ways will find place in the kingdom of heaven. Our ways must be lost in God’s ways.—The Review and Herald, February 23, 1892.