“It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him, attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice and they follow.” DA517

Freudian psychology teaches that to avoid pain or seek pleasure are the two motivators from which all our actions flow. This “pleasure principle” is subscribed to by many success writers and it has merit if the goal is the greater self-discipline required to get ahead in life. In this mode of thinking we understand ourselves better to our own advantage; selfish gratification is better handled because it is better understood.

Ellen White describes a motivation for following Christ that is expressly not connected to the avoiding of pain or the pleasure of reward. Instead, beholding God’s love stirs within us a heart change that leads us to be naturally attracted and then to follow. Maybe this attraction to God could still be considered by some to be motivated by the pleasure of observing true love and desiring it for ourselves, but it also seems somehow fundamentally different. It is the result of a spiritual change in the very soul rather than just an understanding of a principle of our current soulish nature.

This paragraph is so refreshing because we may all have formerly tried to come to Christ because of our guilt, fear of death, or a desire to go to heaven. These motivations align well with our selfish souls and don’t require a change of heart. Conversion, however, is a change of soul that is not motivated by our selfish needs, but by God’s love.

On that note, here are some very tender quotes from this chapter that describe the love of our Divine Shepherd:

“Every soul is as fully know to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Saviour died. The distress of every one touches His heart.” DA516

“The soul that has given himself to Christ is more precious in His sight than the whole world. The Saviour would have passed through the agony of Calvary that one might be saved in His kingdom. He will never abandon one for whom He has died. Unless His followers choose to leave Him, He will hold them fast.” DA518

“He loves us as His children. Reader, He loves you. Heaven itself can bestow nothing greater, nothing better. Therefore trust.” DA518

May our souls be changed so they¬† follow God naturally. Isn’t this the miracle of unearthly Love?

“To all who realised their need, Christ came with infinite help.” DA510

The spirit of a now seeing blind man is contrasted with the spirit of the Pharisees in this chapter. I think it’s significant that the help of angels and the Holy Spirit in enabling the blind man to speak from out of the wealth of belief. Spiritual sight is always enabled. It was not the healing of the man’s eyes alone that gave him convincing (and condemning) logic to meet the sneering and plotting arguments of the Pharisees. Help was sent to heal the eyes of the man’s heart. Maybe it was easier for him to realise the heart need because he knew so well of the need for physical sight?

What does “infinite help” mean and is it offered based on a realisation of infinite need? I could think about this until my mind spins off my neck and still be delightfully at a loss to fully grasp the significance. I am reminded that “God’s power is made perfect in weakness” which is also a wonderful and perplexing thought. Regardless of whether it makes perfect sense or not, I do believe it and feel that our behaviour and thoughts should endeavour to flow from these wonderfully huge and seemingly contradictory truths. They only seem contradictory because of our cultural wrong headedness and the experience with our puffed up human nature. In reality, recognising need and spiritual weakness binds us to Christ and thus bound we are free to speak and act with power.

What we need in the church today is committed prayer from once blind believers who realise where their infinite needs are infinitely met. Groups of these praying people could thwart evil men and woman to an even greater extent–even to enrage the worldly powerful to such acts that would herald the second coming of Christ.