And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Luke 2:52.
Man has fallen. God’s image in him is defaced. By disobedience he is depraved in inclination and weakened in power, unable, apparently, to look forward to anything but tribulation and wrath. But God, through Christ, has wrought out a way of escape, and He says to everyone, “Be ye therefore perfect.” It is His purpose that man shall stand before Him upright and noble, and He will not be defeated. He sent His Son to this world to bear the penalty of sin, and to show man how to live a sinless life.
Christ is our ideal. He has left a perfect example for childhood, youth, and manhood. He came to this earth, and passed through the different phases of human experience. In His life sin found no place. From the beginning to the close of His earthly life, He preserved unsullied His loyalty to God. The Word says of Him, “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.” He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”
The Saviour lived not to please Himself…. He had no home in this world, only as the kindness of His friends provided Him one, yet it was heaven to be in His presence. Day by day He met trials and temptations, yet He did not fail or become discouraged. He was always patient and cheerful, and the afflicted hailed Him as a messenger of life and peace and health. His life held nothing that was not pure and noble….
God’s promise is, “Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” Holiness is the reflection of God’s glory. But in order to reflect this glory, we must cooperate with God. Heart and mind must be emptied of all that leads to wrong. The Word of God must be read and studied with a sincere desire to gain from it spiritual strength. This Word is the Bread of heaven. Those who receive it, and make it a part of their lives, grow strong in the strength of God. Our sanctification is God’s object in all His dealing with us. He has chosen us from eternity, that we may be holy. Christ declares, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” Is it your will, also, that your desires and inclinations shall be brought into conformity to the divine will? …
Living the life of the Saviour, overcoming every selfish desire, fulfilling bravely and cheerfully our duty to God and to those around us—this makes us more than conquerors. This prepares us to stand before the great white throne free from spot or wrinkle, having washed our robes of character, and made them white in the blood of the lamb.
“Our Father Cares”, by Ellen White, pg. 286-287