You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone. It is clear that you are Christ’s letter, produced by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God — not on stone tablets but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.
— 2 Corinthians 3:2,3, HCSB
The eyes of the world are upon us. Are we living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men?
How many have, in the past year, cherished heart-burnings and bitterness toward their brethren and sisters in the church? How many have thought and spoken unkindly of those who, like themselves, profess to be followers of Jesus? We may think we had an excuse for this; but is there any provocation of sufficient weight to excuse us in harboring unkindness and malice in our hearts? Said Jesus, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.”… We must earnestly seek his grace to kill every fiber of the root of bitterness, and must let the love of Jesus take possession of our souls and reveal itself in our words and works.
Earth is not Heaven. The church is composed of erring, imperfect men and women, who are but learners in the school of Christ, to be trained, disciplined, educated for this life, and for the future, immortal life. No one of us can in our own strength represent the character of Christ; but if Jesus lives in the heart, the spirit dwelling in him will be revealed in us; all our lack will be supplied. Who will seek at the beginning of this new year to obtain a new and genuine experience in the things of God? Make your wrongs right as far as possible. Confess your errors and sins one to another. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be put away; let patience, long-suffering, kindness, and love become a part of your very being.
As we stand on the threshold of a new year, there is need of an impartial examination of our hearts to dispel the pleasing illusions of self-love… Those only who see and feel their spiritual necessities will go to Jesus for that help which they so much need, and which he only can give. He alone can cleanse us from all sin. He alone can place upon us the robe of righteousness.
Let us begin the year with an entire renunciation of self; let us pray for clear discernment, that we may understand our Saviour’s claims upon us, and that we may always and everywhere be witnesses for Christ.
— Signs of the Times, January 4, 1883
My Loving Savior, You taught us to love our enemies, for You died for my enemies as well as for me. Forgive me for the unkind thoughts I have towards others. On the threshold of this new year, I renounce all my self-love. Cleanse me and fill me with Your grace. Cover me with Your robe of righteousness that I so much need. May Your love take possession of my soul that I may always and everywhere be a witness for Christ.