Those who would at last be received into heaven as members of the royal family must here give themselves--body, soul, and spirit--to the service of Him who paid the price of their redemption. All that we have and are belongs to the Lord. "Ye are not your own," the apostle declares; "for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Christ declares, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and the Father's, and of the holy angels."
By the casting of grain into the earth, the Saviour represents His sacrifice for us. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die," He says, "it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Only thru the sacrifice of Christ, the Seed, could fruit be brought forth for the service of God.
So with all who bring forth fruit as workers together with Christ, self-love, self-interest, must perish; the life must be cast into the furrow of the world's need. But the law of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation. The husbandman preserves his grain by casting it away. So the life that will be preserved is the life that is freely given in service to God and man.
The fulfilment of the promise that we shall be joint-heirs with Christ rests upon our willingness to deny self. When Christ takes possession of His kingdom, it will be those who on this earth have followed Him in self-denial and self-sacrifice that will receive the reward of everlasting life.
Christ's call to sacrifice and unreserved surrender means crucifixion of self. In order to obey it, we must have unquestioning faith in Him as the perfect example, and a clear realization that we are to represent Him to the world. The characters of those who work for Christ are to be conformed to His character. They are to work in His lines; they are to live His life. His call to unreserved surrender is to be to them supreme. They are to allow no earthly tie or interest to prevent them from giving Him the homage of their hearts and the service of their lives. Earnestly and untiringly they are to labor with God to save perishing souls from the power of the tempter.
Those who are thus connected with Christ learn constantly of Him, passing thru the successive stages of progress in Christian experience. Difficulty and perplexity come to them that they may learn more perfectly the will and way of Christ. But they pray and believe, and by exercise their faith increases.
"Take My yoke upon you," Christ said, as in human nature He lived and worked upon this earth. Constantly He wore the yoke of submission, meeting the difficulties that human beings must meet, bearing the trials that they must bear. The enemy will constantly assault as he assaulted Christ, bringing against us strong temptation. But for every one there is a way of escape. "Take My yoke upon you," Christ says, "and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
God's true workers accept their calling with an understanding of the conditions on which they serve the Master who was crucified for them. They stand ready to go where God sends them. They hold their possessions at His disposal, regarding themselves as stewards of His grace. Such Christians Christ counts worthy of a place in His kingdom. Their hearts throb in unison with the heart of Christ. Hearing the Macedonian cry, they say, "Lord, here am I; send me." Desire ripens into earnest endeavor as they move forward in His strength. They delight to testify of their loyalty to Him whose goodness they can never repay. Their hearts are filled with thanksgiving to Him whose mercies are too numerous to be numbered; and their great desire is to do something for Him who loves them and calls them His friends.—Ellen White, Signs of the Times, June 10, 1908