Of mine own self - See John 5:19. The Messiah, the Mediator, does nothing without the concurrence and the authority of God. Such is the nature of the union subsisting between them, that he does nothing independently of God. Whatever he does, he does according to the will of God.
As I hear I judge - To “hear” expresses the condition of one who is commissioned or instructed. Thus John 8:26, “I speak to the world those things which I have “heard” of him;” John 8:28, “As the Father hath taught me, I speak those things.” Jesus here represents himself as commissioned, taught, or sent of God. When he says, “as I ‹hear,‘” he refers to those things which the Father had “showed” him John 5:20 - that is, he came to communicate the will of God; to show to man what God wished man to know.
I judge - I determine or decide. This was true respecting the institutions and doctrines of religion, and it will be true respecting the sentence which he will pass on mankind at the day of judgment. He will decide their destiny according to what the Father wills and wishes - that is, according to justice.
Because I seek - This does not imply that his own judgment would be wrong if he sought his own will, but that he had no “private” ends, no selfish views, no improper bias. He came not to aggrandize himself, or to promote his own views, but he came to do the will of God. Of course his decision would be impartial and unbiased, and there is every security that it will be according to truth. See Luke 22:42, where he gave a memorable instance, in the agony of the garden, of his submission to his Father‘s will.
I can of mine own self do nothing - Because of my intimate union with God. See on John 5:19; (note).
I week not mine own will - I do not, I cannot attempt to do any thing without God. This, that is, the Son of man, the human nature which is the temple of my Divinity, John 1:14, is perfectly subject to the Deity that dwells in it. In this respect our blessed Lord is the perfect pattern of all his followers. In every thing their wills should submit to the will of their heavenly Father. Nothing is more common than to hear people say, I will do it because I choose. He who has no better reason to give for his conduct than his own will shall in the end have the same reason to give for his eternal destruction. "I followed my own will, in opposition to the will of God, and now I am plunged in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone." Reader, God hath sent thee also to do his will: his will is that thou shouldst abandon thy sins, and believe in the Lord Jesus. Hast thou yet done it?
He became poor, and made Himself of no reputation. He was hungry and frequently thirsty, and many times weary in His labors; but He had not where to lay His head. When the cold, damp shades of night gathered about Him, the earth was frequently His bed. Yet He blessed those who hated Him. What a life! what an experience! Can we, the professed followers of Christ, cheerfully endure privation and suffering as did our Lord, without murmuring? Can we drink of the cup and be baptized with the baptism? If so, we may share with Him His glory in His heavenly kingdom. If not, we shall have no part with Him. 3T 107.1
Brother S has an experience to gain, without which his work will do positive injury. He is affected too much by what others tell him of the erring; he is apt to decide according to the impressions made upon his mind, and he deals with severity, when a milder course would be far better. He does not bear in mind his own weakness, and how hard it is for him to have his course questioned, even when he is wrong. When he decides that a brother or sister is wrong he is inclined to carry the matter through and press his censure, although in doing so he hurts his own soul and endangers the souls of others. 3T 107.2
Brother S should shun church trials and should have nothing to do in settling difficulties, if he can possibly avoid it. He has a valuable gift, which is needed in the work of God. But he should separate himself from influences which draw upon his sympathies, confuse his judgment, and lead him to move unwisely. This should not and need not be. He exercises too little faith in God. He dwells too much upon his bodily infirmities and strengthens unbelief by dwelling upon poor feelings. God has strength and wisdom in store for those who seek for it earnestly, in faith believing. 3T 107.3Read in context »
From the first opening of a book, the candidate for an education should recognize God as the one who imparts true wisdom. He should seek His counsel at every step along the way. No arrangement should be made to which God cannot be made a party, no union formed of which He is not the approver. The Author of wisdom should be recognized as the Guide from first to last. In this manner the knowledge obtained from books will be bound off by a living faith in the infinite God. The student should not permit himself to be bound down to any particular course of studies involving long periods of time, but should be guided in such matters by the Spirit of God. FE 347.1
A course of study at Ann Arbor may be thought essential for some; but evil influences are there ever at work upon susceptible minds, so that the farther they advance in their studies, the less they deem it necessary to seek a knowledge of the will and ways of God. None should be allowed to pursue a course of study that may in any way weaken their faith in the truth and in the Lord's power, or diminish their respect for a life of holiness. I would warn the students not to advance one step in these lines,—not even upon the advice of their instructors or men in positions of authority,—unless they have first sought God individually, with their hearts thrown open to the influence of the Holy Spirit, and obtained His counsel concerning the contemplated course of study. Let every selfish desire to distinguish yourselves be set aside; take every suggestion from humanity, to God, trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit; every unholy ambition should be blotted out, lest the Lord shall say: “I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.” Every one should move so that he can say: “Thou, O Lord, knowest me: Thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward Thee.” “Thou God seest me.” The Lord weighs every motive. He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents and purposes of the heart. Without God we are without hope; therefore let us fix our faith upon Him. “Thou art my hope, O Lord God: Thou art my trust from my youth.” FE 347.2Read in context »
“I am the true Vine.” The Jews had always regarded the vine as the most noble of plants, and a type of all that was powerful, excellent, and fruitful. Israel had been represented as a vine which God had planted in the Promised Land. The Jews based their hope of salvation on the fact of their connection with Israel. But Jesus says, I am the real Vine. Think not that through a connection with Israel you may become partakers of the life of God, and inheritors of His promise. Through Me alone is spiritual life received. DA 675.1
“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the husbandman.” On the hills of Palestine our heavenly Father had planted this goodly Vine, and He Himself was the husbandman. Many were attracted by the beauty of this Vine, and declared its heavenly origin. But to the leaders in Israel it appeared as a root out of a dry ground. They took the plant, and bruised it, and trampled it under their unholy feet. Their thought was to destroy it forever. But the heavenly Husbandman never lost sight of His plant. After men thought they had killed it, He took it, and replanted it on the other side of the wall. The vine stock was to be no longer visible. It was hidden from the rude assaults of men. But the branches of the Vine hung over the wall. They were to represent the Vine. Through them grafts might still be united to the Vine. From them fruit has been obtained. There has been a harvest which the passers-by have plucked. DA 675.2
“I am the Vine, ye are the branches,” Christ said to His disciples. Though He was about to be removed from them, their spiritual union with Him was to be unchanged. The connection of the branch with the vine, He said, represents the relation you are to sustain to Me. The scion is engrafted into the living vine, and fiber by fiber, vein by vein, it grows into the vine stock. The life of the vine becomes the life of the branch. So the soul dead in trespasses and sins receives life through connection with Christ. By faith in Him as a personal Saviour the union is formed. The sinner unites his weakness to Christ's strength, his emptiness to Christ's fullness, his frailty to Christ's enduring might. Then he has the mind of Christ. The humanity of Christ has touched our humanity, and our humanity has touched divinity. Thus through the agency of the Holy Spirit man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is accepted in the Beloved. DA 675.3Read in context »
Christ never murmured, never uttered discontent, displeasure, or resentment. He was never disheartened, discouraged, ruffled, or fretted. He was patient, calm, and self-possessed under the most exciting and trying circumstances. All His works were performed with a quiet dignity and ease, whatever commotion was around Him. Applause did not elate Him. He feared not the threats of His enemies. He moved amid the world of excitement, of violence and crime, as the sun moves above the clouds. Human passions and commotions and trials were beneath Him. He sailed like the sun above them all. Yet He was not indifferent to the woes of men. His heart was ever touched with the sufferings and necessities of His brethren, as though He Himself was the one afflicted. He had a calm inward joy, a peace which was serene. His will was ever swallowed up in the will of His Father. Not My will but Thine be done, was heard from His pale and quivering lips.—Letter 51a, September 11, 1874, to Edson and Emma White. TDG 263.4Read in context »