Human agents are not able to read our hearts, but they can observe our lives, watch our actions, scrutinize our manners, and weigh us in the scales of human judgment. “We are made a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men.” It may seem that we are to study our own hearts, and square our own actions by some standard of our own; but this is not the case. This would but work deform instead of reform. The work must begin in the heart and then the spirit, the words, the expression of the countenance, and the actions of the life, will make manifest that a change has taken place. In knowing Christ through the grace that he has shed forth abundantly, we become changed, and the character is sanctified through belief of the truth. The inward life grows strong, and the entire conduct will be in conformity to the will of God. Humility will be cultivated, because we shall feel our nothingness, and realize our dependence upon God. We shall remember that we have been bought with the price of the blood of the Son of God, and that every faculty of our being must be brought into captivity to Christ, that we may glorify him. In humility we shall correct every fault and defect of character; because Christ is abiding in the heart, we shall be fitted up for the heavenly family above. (James 1:23-27; 3:17, 18 quoted)
E. G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, August 31, 1893
All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart-work with Christ. And if we consent, he will so identify himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to his will, that when obeying him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing his service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.
E. G. White, Review and Herald, July 14, 1910
The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation merely–because he is required to do so–will never enter into the joy of obedience. He does not obey. When the requirements of God are accounted a burden because they cut across human inclination, we may know that the life is not a Christian life. True obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It springs from the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right–because right doing is pleasing to God.
E. G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons. pp. 97, 98