If those who have been in the church for weeks and months have not learned the straightness of the way, and what it is to be Christians, and cannot hear all the straight truths of the Word of God, it were better that they were cut off from Israel. It is too late in the day to feed with milk. If souls a month or two old in the truth, who are about to enter the time of trouble such as never was, cannot hear all the straight truth, or endure the strong meat of the straightness of the way, how will they stand in the day of battle? Truths that we have been years learning must be learned in a few months by those who now embrace the Third Angel's Message. We had to search and wait the opening of truth, receiving a ray of light here and a ray there, labouring and pleading for God to reveal truth to us. But now the truth is plain; its rays are brought together. The blazing light of truth when it is presented as it should be can be now seen and brought to bear upon the heart. There is no need of milk after souls are convinced of the truth. As soon as the conviction of truth is yielded to and the heart willing the truth should have its effect, the truth will work like leaven, and purify and purge away the passions of the natural heart. It is a disgrace for those who have been in the truth for years to talk of feeding souls who have been months in the truth, upon milk. It shows they know little of the leadings of the Spirit of the Lord, and realise not the time we are living in. Those who embrace the truth now will have to step fast. There will have to be a breaking up of heart before the Lord, a rending of heart, and not the garment. [ Ms. 1, 1854 ], pp. 2, 3. ("Reproof for adultery and Neglect of Children," February 12, 1854. 1MR 33
Students should be taught that they are not independent atoms but that each one is a thread which is to unite with other threads in composing a fabric. In no department can this instruction be more effectually given than in the school home. Here students are daily surrounded by opportunities which, if improved, will greatly aid in developing the social traits of their characters. It lies in their own power so to improve their time and opportunities as to develop a character that will make them happy and useful. 2MCP 621
Your case is similar in some respects to Naaman's. You do not consider that in order to perfect a Christian character you must condescend to be faithful in the littles. Although the things you are called to do may be of small account in your eyes, yet they are duties which you will have to do just as long as you live. A neglect of these things will make a great deficiency in your character. You, my dear boy, should educate yourself to faithfulness in small things. You cannot please God unless you do this. You cannot gain love and affection unless you do just as you are bidden, with willingness and pleasure. If you wish those with whom you live to love you, you must show love and respect for them. 2T 310
With such a prospect before you, how can you narrow your mind to the compass of worldly thoughts and to the range of worldly occupations, seeking gain and yielding one point after another of present truth. Truth, principle, and conscience are desirable for you to retain. The favour of God is better than houses of silver and of gold. The deepest joy of the heart comes from the deepest humiliation. Trust and submission to God work out strength and nobleness of character. Tears are not in every case evidences of weakness. In order for you to build up a character which is symmetrical in the sight of a pure and holy God you must begin at the foundation. The heart must be broken before God, and true repentance for sin must be shown, till you meet the demands of truth and duty. Then you will have true respect for yourself and true confidence in God. You will have tenderness of feeling. All that braggadocio spirit will be gone. In the place of harshness will be great tenderness blended with firmness of purpose to stand for the truth at all events. You will then see much in the world and in your own heart to make you weep. 3T 458
Children who are allowed to have their own way are not happy. The unsubdued heart has not within itself the elements of rest and contentment. The mind and heart must be disciplined and brought under proper restraint in order for the character to harmonise with the wise laws that govern our being. Restlessness and discontent are the fruits of indulgence and selfishness. The soil of the heart, like that of a garden, will produce weeds and brambles unless the seeds of precious flowers are planted there and receive care and cultivation. As in visible nature, so is it with the human soul. 4T 202
Every faculty in man is a workman that is building for time and for eternity. Day by day the structure is going up, although the possessor is not aware of it. It is a building which must stand either as a beacon of warning because of its deformity or as a structure which God and angels will admire for its harmony with the Divine Model.
The mental and moral powers which God has given us do not constitute character. They are talents which we are to improve and which, if properly improved, will form a right character. A man may have precious seed in his hand, but that seed is not an orchard. The seed must be planted before it can become a tree. The mind is the garden; the character is the fruit. God has given us our faculties to cultivate and develop. Our own course determines our character. In training these powers so that they shall harmonise and form a valuable character, we have a work which no one but ourselves can do. 4T 606
Every act of life, however unimportant, has its influence in forming the character. A good character is more precious than worldly possessions, and the work of forming it is the noblest in which men can engage. 4T 657
Characters formed by circumstance are changeable and discordant--a mass of contraries. Their possessors have no high aim or purpose in life. They have no ennobling influence upon the characters of others. They are purposeless and powerless. 4T 657
Abstract meditation is not enough; busy action is not enough--both are essential to the formation of Christian character. 5T 113
You cannot control your impulses, your emotions, as you may desire, but you can control the will, and you can make an entire change in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, your life will be hid with Christ in God and allied to the power which is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from God that will hold you fast to His strength; and a new light, even the light of living faith, will be possible to you. . . .There will be in you a power, an earnestness, and a simplicity that will make you a polished instrument in the hands of God. 5T 514
The holiness that God's word declares he must have before he can be saved, is the result of the working of divine grace, as he bows in submission to the discipline and restraining influences of the Spirit of truth....
The work of transformation from unholiness to holiness is a continuous one. Day by day God labours for man's sanctification, and man is to co-operate with Him, putting forth persevering efforts in the cultivation of right habits. He is to add grace to grace; and as he thus works on the plan of addition, God works for him on the plan of multiplication. Our Saviour is always ready to hear and answer the prayer of the contrite heart, and grace and peace are multiplied to His faithful ones....
There are those who attempt to ascend the ladder of Christian progress; but as they advance, they begin to put their trust in the power of man, and soon lose sight of Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith. The result is failure-the loss of all that has been gained. Sad indeed is the condition of those who, becoming weary of the way, allow the enemy of souls to rob them of the Christian graces that have been developing in their hearts and lives. AA 532
Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome. We know not one day how strong will be our conflict the next. So long as Satan reigns, we shall have self to subdue, besetting sins to overcome; so long as life shall last, there will be no stopping place, no point which we can reach and say, I have fully attained. Sanctification is the result of lifelong obedience.
None of the apostles and prophets ever claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived the nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather that knowingly commit a wrong act, men whom God has honoured with divine light and power, have confessed the sinfulness of their nature. They have put no confidence in the flesh, have claimed no righteousness of their own, but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ.
So will it be with all who behold Christ. The nearer we come to Jesus, and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly shall we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the less shall we feel like exalting ourselves. AA 560F
Did mothers but realise the importance of their mission, they would be much in secret prayer, presenting their children to Jesus, imploring His blessing upon them, and pleading for wisdom to discharge aright their sacred duties. Let the mother improve every opportunity to mould and fashion the disposition and habits of her children. Let her watch carefully the development of character, repressing traits that are too prominent, encouraging those that are deficient. Let her make her own life a pure and noble example to her precious charge. AH 265
The intellect is continually receiving its mould from opportunities and advantages, ill or well improved. Day by day we form characters which place the students as well-disciplined soldiers under the banner of Prince Emmanuel, or rebels under the banner of the prince of darkness. Which shall it be? CG 199
Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-around character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticise ourselves closely and allow not one unfavourable trait to remain uncorrected. COL 331
Let no one say, I cannot remedy my defects of character. If you come to this decision, you will certainly fail of obtaining everlasting life. The impossibility lies in your own will. If you will not, then you can not overcome. The real difficulty arises from the corruption of an unsanctified heart and an unwillingness to submit to the control of God. COL 331
Christ is seeking to reproduce Himself in the hearts of men; and He does this through those who believe in Him. The object of the Christian life is fruit bearing--the reproduction of Christ's character in the believer, that it may be reproduced in others. COL 67
"When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.
It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain. COL 69
There are all kinds of characters to deal with in the children and youth, and their minds are impressionable. Many of the children who attend our schools have not had proper training at home. Some have been left to do as they pleased; others have been found fault with and discouraged. Very little pleasantness and cheerfulness have been shown them; few words of approval have been spoken to them. They have inherited the defective characters of their parents, and the discipline of the home has been no help in the formation of right character. CT 192
Heaven may invite them, and present its choicest blessings, and they may have every facility to develop a perfect character; but all will be in vain unless they are willing to help themselves. They must put forth their own god-given powers, or they will sink lower and lower, and be of no account for good, either in time or in eternity. CTBH 149
Only one lease of life is granted us; and the inquiry with every one should be, "How can I invest my powers so that they may yield the greatest profit? How can I do most for the glory of God and the benefit of my fellow men?" For life is valuable only as it is used for the attainment of these ends.
Our first duty toward God and our fellow beings is that of self-development. Every faculty with which the Creator has endowed us should be cultivated to the highest degree of perfection, that we may be able to do the greatest amount of good of which we are capable. Hence that time is spent to good account which is used in the establishment and preservation of physical and mental health. We cannot afford to dwarf or cripple any function of body or mind. As surely as we do this, we must suffer the consequences.
Every man has the opportunity, to a great extent, of making himself whatever he chooses to be. The blessings of this life, and also of the immortal state, are within his reach. He may build up a character of solid worth, gaining new strength at every step. He may advance daily in knowledge and wisdom, conscious of new delights as he progresses, adding virtue to virtue, grace to grace. His faculties will improve by use; the more wisdom he gains, the greater will be his capacity for acquiring. His intelligence, knowledge, and virtue will thus develop into greater strength and more perfect symmetry.
On the other hand, he may allow his powers to rust out for want of use, or to be perverted through evil habits, lack of self-control, or moral and religious stamina. His course then tends downward; he is disobedient to the law of God and to the laws of health. Appetite conquers him; inclination carries him away. It is easier for him to allow the powers of evil, which are always active, to drag him backward, than to struggle against them, and go forward. Dissipation, disease, and death follow. This is the history of many lives that might have been useful in the cause of God and humanity. CTBH 41
It is not the highest work of education to communicate knowledge merely, but to impart that vitalising energy which is received through the contact of mind with mind, and soul with soul. It is only life that can beget life. What privilege, then, was theirs who for three years were in daily contact with that divine life from which flowed every life-giving impulse that has blessed the world. Above all his companions, John the beloved disciple yielded himself to the power of that wondrous life. He says, "The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us." "Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace."[1 1 JOHN 1:2; JOHN 1:16.]
In the apostles of our Lord there was nothing to bring glory to themselves. It was evident that the success of their labours was due only to God. The lives of these men, the characters they developed, and the mighty work that God wrought through them, are a testimony to what He will do for all who are teachable and obedient. DA 250
God takes men as they are, and educates them for His service, if they will yield themselves to Him. The Spirit of God, received into the soul, will quicken all its faculties. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the mind that is devoted unreservedly to God, develops harmoniously, and is strengthened to comprehend and fulfil the requirements of God. The weak, vacillating character becomes changed to one of strength and steadfastness. Continual devotion establishes so close a relation between Jesus and His disciple that the Christian becomes like Him in mind and character. Through a connection with Christ he will have clearer and broader views. His discernment will be more penetrative, his judgement better balanced. He who longs to be of service to Christ is so quickened by the life-giving power of the Sun of Righteousness, that he is enabled to bear much fruit to the glory of God. DA 251
As men should lift up their eyes to the hills of God, and behold the wonderful works of His hands, they could learn precious lessons of divine truth. Christ's teaching would be repeated to them in the things of nature. So it is with all who go into the fields with Christ in their hearts. They will feel themselves surrounded with a holy influence. The things of nature take up the parables of our Lord, and repeat His counsels. By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest. DA 291
True character is not shaped from without, and put on; it radiates from within. If we wish to direct others in the path of righteousness, the principles of righteousness must be enshrined in our own hearts. Our profession of faith may proclaim the theory of religion, but it is our practical piety that holds forth the word of truth. The consistent life, the holy conversation, the unswerving integrity, the active, benevolent spirit, the godly example,--these are the mediums through which light is conveyed to the world. DA 307
The same danger still exists. Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of the truth. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly minded, it is a curse to its possessors, and through their influence it is a curse to the world. DA 309
The righteousness which Christ taught is conformity of heart and life to the revealed will of God. Sinful men can become righteous only as they have faith in God, and maintain a vital connection with Him. Then true godliness will elevate the thoughts and ennoble the life. Then the external forms of religion accord with the Christian's internal purity. Then the ceremonies required in the service of God are not meaningless rites, like those of the hypocritical Pharisees. DA 310
God's ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning. DA 311
The ideal of Christian character is Christlikeness. As the Son of man was perfect in His life, so His followers are to be perfect in their life. Jesus was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of man; yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was God in the flesh. His character is to be ours. The Lord says of those who believe in Him, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." [2 2 COR. 6:16.] DA 311
By the life we live through the grace of Christ, the character is formed. The original loveliness begins to be restored to the soul. The attributes of the character of Christ are imparted, and the image of the Divine begins to shine forth. The faces of men and women who walk and work with God, express the peace of heaven. They are surrounded with the atmosphere of heaven. For these souls the kingdom of God has begun. They have Christ's joy, the joy of being a blessing to humanity. They have the honour of being accepted for the Master's use; they are trusted to do His work in His name. DA 312
"Learn of Me," says Jesus; "for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest." We are to enter the school of Christ, to learn from Him meekness and lowliness. Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven. This training means a knowledge of Christ. It means emancipation from ideas, habits, and practises that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness. The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God. DA 330
Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. The Lord says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee."[3 ISA. 26:3.] Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master-worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the glory--character--of Christ, will be received into the Paradise of God. A renovated race shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy. DA 331
Spiritualism asserts that men are unfallen demigods; that "each mind will judge itself"; that "true knowledge places men above all law"; that "all sins committed are innocent"; for "whatever is, is right" and "God doth not condemn." The basest of human beings it represents as in heaven, and highly exalted there. Thus it declares to all men, "It matters not what you do; live as you please, heaven is your home." Multitudes are thus led to believe that desire is the highest law, that license is liberty, and that man is accountable only to himself. ED 227
Religion consists in doing the words of Christ; not doing to earn God's favour, but because, all undeserving, we have received the gift of His love. Christ places the salvation of man, not upon profession merely, but upon faith that is made manifest in works of righteousness. Doing, not saying merely, is expected of the followers of Christ. It is through action that character is built. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Romans 8:14. Not those whose hearts are touched by the Spirit, not those who now and then yield to its power, but they that are led by the Spirit, are the sons of God. MB 149
We need those who will follow Christ fully, whose head, hands, ears, and every faculty and power are consecrated to Jesus. It is not purse power or brain power, but heart power we need.
Every act of life is great for good or evil; and it is only by acting upon principle in the tests of daily life that we acquire power to stand firm and faithful in the most dangerous and most difficult positions. PH048 4
To the heart that has become purified, all is changed. Transformation of character is the testimony to the world of an indwelling Christ. The Spirit of God produces a new life in the soul, bringing the thoughts and desires into obedience to the will of Christ; and the inward man is renewed in the image of God. Weak and erring men and women show to the world that the redeeming power of grace can cause the faulty character to develop into symmetry and abundant fruitfulness. PK 233
It makes every difference what material is used in the character building. The long-expected day of God will soon test every man's work. "The fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" (1 Corinthians 3:13). As fire reveals the difference between gold, silver, and precious stones and wood, hay, and stubble, so the day of judgement will test characters, showing the difference between characters formed after Christ's likeness and characters formed after the likeness of the selfish heart. All selfishness, all false religion, will then appear as it is. The worthless material will be consumed; but the gold of true, simple, humble faith will never lose its value. It can never be consumed, for it is imperishable. One hour of transgression will be seen to be a great loss, while the fear of the Lord will be seen to be the beginning of wisdom. The pleasure of self-indulgence will perish as stubble, while the gold of steadfast principle, maintained at any cost, will endure forever. RH DEC 11, 1900
As the bow in the cloud is formed by the union of the sunlight and the shower, so the rainbow encircling the throne represents the combined power of mercy and justice. It is not justice alone that is to be maintained; for this would eclipse the glory of the rainbow of promise above the throne; men could see only the penalty of the law. Were there no justice, no penalty, there would be no stability to the government of God. It is the mingling of judgement and mercy that makes salvation complete. It is the blending of the two that leads us, as we view the world's Redeemer, and the law of Jehovah, to exclaim, "Thy gentleness hath made me great." We know that the gospel is a perfect and complete system, revealing the immutability of the law of God. It inspires the heart with hope, and with love to God. Mercy invites us to enter through the gates into the city of God, and justice is satisfied to accord to every obedient soul full privileges as a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King. If we were defective in character, we could not pass the gates that mercy has opened to the obedient; for justice stands at the entrance, and demands holiness in all who would see God. Were justice extinct, and were it possible for divine mercy to open the gates to the whole race, irrespective of character, there would be a worse condition of disaffection and rebellion in heaven than before Satan was expelled. The peace, happiness, and harmony of heaven would be broken. The change from earth to heaven will not change men's character; the happiness of the redeemed in heaven results from the character formed in this life after the image of Christ. The saints in heaven will first have been saints on earth. RH DEC.13,1892
Heaven's resources are limitless, and they are all at our command....
He who steadfastly adheres to the principles of truth has the assurance that his weakest points of character may become his strongest points. Heavenly angels are close by him who strives to bring his life into harmony with God and his holy law. God is with him as he declares, "I must overcome the temptations that surround me, else they will drive Christ from my heart." RH FEB.18,1904
The inhabitants of the heavenly universe expect the followers of Christ to shine as lights in the world. They are to show forth the power of the grace that Christ died to give to men.... They are to be men of faith, men of constant growth, men of courage, whole-souled men, who without questioning trust in God and his promises....
His own power is small; but God is omnipotent, and God is his helper. Daily he is to make known his wants at the throne of grace. By faith and trust, by availing himself of the resources provided, he can be more than a conqueror.... RH FEB.18,1904
[2 Pet. 1:1-4 quoted.] There is a possibility of the believer in Christ obtaining an experience that will be wholly sufficient to place him in right relation to God. Every promise that is in God's Book holds out to us the encouragement that we may be partakers of the divine nature. This is the possibility-to rely upon God, to believe his Word, to work his works; and this we can do when we lay hold of the divinity of Christ. This possibility is worth more to us than all the riches in the world. There is nothing on earth that can compare with it. As we lay hold of the power thus placed within our reach, we receive a hope so strong that we can rely wholly upon God's promises; and laying hold of the possibilities there are in Christ, we become the sons and daughters of God....
There is such a thing as being partakers of the divine nature. We shall all be tempted in a variety of ways; but when we are tempted, we need to remember that provision has been made whereby we may overcome. [Jn. 3:16 quoted.] He who truly believes in Christ is made a partaker of the divine nature, and has power that he can appropriate under every temptation. He will not fall under temptation, and be left to defeat. In time of trial he will claim the promises, and by these escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust.
We think it costs us something to stand in this position before the world; and so it does. But what has our salvation cost the heavenly universe? To make us partakers of the divine nature, heaven gave its most costly treasure....
Christ suffered all this that he might obtain your salvation, and mine. By his life of sacrifice and death of shame, he has made it possible for us to take hold of divinity, and to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. There is a battle going on between the powers of darkness and the children of light-a battle that means humiliation of self at every step. Where are those who will stand? There are some who will. Where are those who understand what it means to be partakers of the divine nature, and to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust? If you are partakers of the divine nature, you will day by day be obtaining a fitting for the life that measures with the life of God. Day by day you will purify your trust in Jesus and follow his example, growing into his likeness until you shall stand before him perfected....
Let every one of us be aroused to do the work that is waiting to be done-the work that Christ did when he was in the world. By beholding the works of Christ, humanity will take hold upon divinity.... By taking hold upon the Life-giver who gave his life for us, we receive eternal life. RH JAN.14,1909
I am so sorry that we are such dwarfs in the work of Christ, when such wonderful incentives are placed before us to encourage us to cultivate our powers to the very highest point of development. We are to grow. Christians are to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. Our words and works are to bear witness to the world of what Christianity can do for human beings. RH JAN.19,1905
To be a Christian requires more than a profession of faith. There must be an earnest effort to conquer through the grace freely given of God. All things around us must be made to be helps to growth in grace and the knowledge of Christ. Satan, the great rebel, is ever seeking to entice us to sin against God. He will introduce false imaginings, and sway the understanding against the revealed will of God, the lower passions against purity and self-denial, the independent judgement against God's decisions, the wisdom from beneath against the wisdom from above. But the Holy Spirit has come into the world to subdue all things unto himself, and shall God's will be put in the background, and man's will be held as supreme? Can man's will be the controlling power in God's great contest for the recovery of his own?--No, for those who are labourers together with God must have the mind of Christ, and work with pen and voice in the Spirit of Christ to meet wrong tendencies, to correct errors, that have been coming in among us. The truth must no longer be kept in the outer court, but be brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul. The religion of Christ requires not only the putting away of pride, malice, covetousness, injustice, but the cultivation of the precious graces of humility, unselfishness, kindness, love, generosity, and nobility of soul. The Christian should be constantly aspiring, pressing on from grace to grace, from faith to a greater faith, from glory to a greater glory. RH JAN.24,1893
The children learn lessons that are not easily unlearned. Whenever they are subjected to unaccustomed restraint or required to apply themselves to hard study, they appeal to their injudicious parents for sympathy and indulgence. Thus a spirit of unrest and discontent is encouraged, the school as a whole suffers from the demoralising influence, and the teacher's burden is rendered much heavier. But the greatest loss is sustained by the victims of parental mismanagement. Defects of character which a right training would have corrected are left to strengthen with years, to mar and perhaps destroy the usefulness of their possessor. RH MAR 21, 1882
As the members of the body of Christ approach the period of their last conflict, "the time of Jacob's trouble," they will grow up into Christ, and will partake largely of his Spirit. As the third message swells to a loud cry, and as great power and glory attends the closing work, the faithful people of God will partake of that glory. It is the latter rain which revives and strengthens them to pass through the time of trouble. Their faces will shine with the glory of that light which attends the third angel. RH MAY 27,1862
If we would develop a character which God can accept, we must form correct habits in our religious life. Daily prayer is as essential to growth in grace, and even to spiritual life itself, as is temporal food to physical well-being. We should accustom ourselves to lift the thoughts often to God in prayer. If the mind wanders, we must bring it back; by persevering effort, habit will finally make it easy. We cannot for one moment separate ourselves from Christ with safety. We may have His presence to attend us at every step, but only by observing the conditions which He Himself has laid down. RH MAY 3, 1881
The obstacles, provocations, and hardships that we meet, may prove to us, not a curse, but the greatest blessing of our lives; for the grandest characters are built amid hardships and trials. But they must be received as practical lessons in the school of Christ. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne, gives us a new experience, and advances us in the work of character-building. We have a better knowledge of the working of Satan, and of our own power to defeat him through divine grace.... It is our privilege to walk in the sunshine of his presence, and weave into the characters we are forming the golden threads of cheerfulness, gratitude, forbearance, and love. We may thus show the power of divine grace, and reflect light from Heaven amid all the frets and irritations that come to day by day....
[568A.0] He is waiting to be gracious. [Rev. 3:20 quoted.] And then comes the gracious assurance: `To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne....' RH NOV.24,1885
God calls upon us to come into harmony with the divine pattern. He calls upon us, while it is called Today [Heb. 3:13], to repent and be reconverted; and then His Spirit will dwell in us richly [Col.3:16; Titus 3:5,6], and there will be transformations of character little dreamed of. As His Spirit works with your spirit, there will be manifest a saving grace by which we shall be deeply convicted of the wonderful transformation that is taking place in your character. Others will notice it, and be influenced thereby. SAT 369
Thoroughness is necessary to success in the work of character building. There must be an earnest purpose to carry out the plan of the Master Builder. The timbers must be solid. No careless, unreliable work can be accepted, for this would ruin the building. The powers of the whole being are to be put into the work. It demands the strength and energy of manhood; there is no reserve to be wasted in unimportant matters. . . . There must be earnest, careful, persevering effort to break away from the customs, maxims, and associations of the world. Deep thought, earnest purpose, steadfast integrity, are essential. SPTED 75
It is very delicate work to deal with human minds. The discipline necessary for one would crush another; therefore let parents study the characters of their children. Never be abrupt and act from impulse.
I have seen a mother snatch something from the hand of her child which was giving it special pleasure, and the child would not understand what to make of the deprivation. The little one burst forth into a cry, for it felt abused and injured. Then the parent, to stop its crying, gave it a sharp chastisement, and as far as outward appearances were concerned, the battle was over. But that battle left its impression on the tender mind of the child, and it could not be easily effaced. I said to the mother, "You have deeply wronged your child. You have hurt its soul and lost its confidence in you. How this will be restored I know not."
This mother was very unwise; she followed her feelings and did not move cautiously, reasoning from cause to effect. Her harsh, injudicious management stirred up the worst passions in the heart of her child. To act from impulse in governing a family is the very worst of policy. When parents contend with their children in such a way, it is a most unequal struggle that ensues. How unjust it is to put years and maturity of strength against a helpless, ignorant little child! Every exhibition of anger on the part of the parents confirms rebellion in the heart of the child.
It is not through one act that the character is formed, but by a repetition of acts that habits are established and character confirmed. To have a Christlike character it is necessary to act in a Christlike way. Christians will exhibit a holy temper, and their actions and impulses will be prompted by the Holy Spirit. ST AUG 6, 1912
The conflicts of earth, in the providence of God, furnish the very training necessary to develop characters fit for the courts of Heaven. We are to become members of the royal family, the sons of God, and "all things work together for good to those who love God," and submit themselves to his will. Our God is an ever-present help in every time of need. He is perfectly acquainted with the most secret thoughts of our heart, with all the intents and purposes of our souls. When we are in perplexity, even before we open to him our distress, he is making arrangements for our deliverance. Our sorrow is not unnoticed. He always knows much better than we do, just what is necessary for the good of his children, and he leads us as we would choose to be led if we could discern our own hearts and see our necessities and perils, as God sees them. But finite beings seldom know themselves. They do not understand their own weaknesses, and when reproof comes, and cautions are given, when they are rebuked, or even advised, they think that they are misjudged and unjustly treated. God knows them better than they know themselves, and he understands how to lead them. But when he undertakes to guide them in ways which seem mysterious to them, because of their blindness and lack of faith, they rebel, and bring upon themselves unnecessary grief and trouble. They have prayed to the Lord for light and guidance, and the Lord answered them as he did Jacob, and, like Jacob, they do not discern that it is the hand of the Lord leading them in a way contrary to their own choosing. If we will trust him, and commit our ways to him, he will direct our steps in the very path that will result in our obtaining the victory over every evil passion, and every trait of character that is unlike the character of our divine Pattern. ST MAY 25,1888
The case of Daniel may be studied with profit by all who desire perfection of character. He and his companions were sincere, faithful Christians. To them the will of God was the supreme law of life. They knew that in order to glorify God all their faculties must be developed, and they sought to gain knowledge, that they might perfect a Christian character, and stand in that heathen nation as fitting representatives of the true religion. In order to preserve health, they resolved to avoid the luxuries of the king's table, they refused to partake of any stimulating drink, but practised strict temperance in all things, that they might not enfeeble brain or muscle. They exerted all their powers to work out their own salvation, and God worked in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. Under his training, their faculties were able to do the highest service for him....
When Nebuchadnezzar's golden image was set up ... Daniel's three companions were commanded to fall down and worship it; but their principles forbade them to pay homage to the idol, for it was a rival to the God of heaven. They knew that they owed every faculty they possessed to God, and while their hearts were full of generous sympathy toward all men, they had a lofty aspiration to prove themselves entirely loyal to their God....
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and all who live in communion with their Creator, will have an understanding of his design in their creation, and a sense of their own obligation to employ their faculties to the very best purpose. They will seek neither to glorify nor to depreciate themselves, but they will glorify God; for the man who consents to be moulded and fashioned after the divine similitude, is the noblest specimen of the work of God....
[336A.1] God calls upon all men to avail themselves of the blessing he has set before them, that they may co-operate with him in carrying forward the great work of redemption. He has given his Holy Spirit as a power sufficient to overcome all man's hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. By yielding his capabilities to the control of this Spirit, man will be impressed with God's perfect character, and will become an instrument through which he can reveal his mercy, his goodness, and his love.
In the attainment of a perfect Christian character, the culture of the intellect is necessary, in order that we may understand the revelation of the will of God to us. This cannot be neglected by those who are obedient to God's commandments. In our intellectual faculties, we possess God's endowment. These faculties were not given us for the service of self, but for the service of God; and they are to be treated as a higher power, to rule the things of the body. They are derived from God, not self-created, and should be consecrated to his work. ST NOV.5,1896
By the thoughts and feelings cherished in early years, every youth is determining his own life history. Correct, virtuous, manly habits formed in youth will become a part of the character and will usually mark the course of the individual through life. The youth may become vicious or virtuous, as they choose. They may as well be distinguished for true and noble deeds as for great crime and wickedness. ST OCT 11, 1910
Many are longing to grow in grace; they pray over the matter, and are surprised that their prayers are not answered. The Master has given them a work to do whereby they shall grow. Of what value is it to pray when there is need of work? The question is, Are they seeking to save souls for whom Christ died? Spiritual growth depends upon giving to others the light that God has given to you. You are to put forth your best thoughts in active labour to do good, and only good, in your family, in your church, and in your neighbourhood. In place of growing anxious with the thought that you are not growing in grace, just do every duty that presents itself, carry the burden of souls on your heart, and by every conceivable means seek to save the lost. Be kind, be courteous, be pitiful; speak in humility of the blessed hope; talk of the love of Jesus; tell of his goodness, his mercy, and his righteousness; and cease to worry as to whether or not you are growing. Plants do not grow through any conscious effort. Jesus said, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin." The plant is not in continual worriment about its growth; it just grows under the supervision of God. The children of God are to cease worrying, cease looking at themselves; they are to take an earnest interest in others, and seek to lead the feet of the straying in the narrow path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. In this kind of work they will gain breadth of thought, tact, and skill. They will realise that they are to become agencies through which God will convey the truth to other minds, and that they are never to be left alone in their efforts; for heavenly angels will work with them, and impress the hearts of those who hear. YI FEB.03,1898
Thoroughness is necessary to success in character building. There must be an earnest desire to carry out the plans of the Master Builder. The timbers used must be solid; no careless, unreliable work can be accepted; it would ruin the building.
The whole being is to be put into this work. It demands strength and energy; there is no reserve to be wasted in unimportant matters. There must be determined human force put into the work, in co-operation with the divine Worker. YI FEB.19,1903
Peter says, "Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity" (2 Peter 1:5-7). . . .
All these successive steps are not to be kept before the mind's eye and counted as you start; but fixing the eye upon Jesus, with an eye single to the glory of God, you will make advancement. You cannot reach the full measure of the stature of Christ in a day, and you would sink in despair could you behold all the difficulties that must be met and overcome. You have Satan to contend with, and he will seek by every possible device to attract your mind from Christ. YI JAN 5, 1893
We must meet all obstacles placed in our way and overcome them one at a time. If we overcome the first difficulty, we shall be stronger to meet the next, and at every effort will become better able to make advancement. By looking to Jesus we may be overcomers. It is by fastening our eyes on the difficulties and shrinking from earnest battle for the right that we become weak and faithless.
By taking one step after another, the highest ascent may be climbed and the summit of the mount may be reached at last. Do not become overwhelmed with the great amount of work you must do in your lifetime, for you are not required to do it all at once. Let every power of your being go to each day's work, improve each precious opportunity, appreciate the helps that God gives you, and make advancement up the ladder of progress step by step. Remember that you are to live but one day at a time, that God has given you one day, and heavenly records will show how you have valued its privileges and opportunities. May you so improve every day given you of God that at last you may hear the Master say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21). YI JAN 5, 1893