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Mind, Character and Personality, volume 1

Chapter 4

Spiritual Influences and the Mind

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Religion and Health.-Personal religion is of the highest importance. John wrote to Gaius, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth" (3 John 1:2). Health of body depends largely upon health of soul; therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. Personal religion is revealed by the deportment, the words, and the actions. It causes growth, till at last perfection claims the commendation of the Lord, "Ye are complete in Him" (Colossians 2:10)-Lt 117, 1901.

Pure Religion Brings Serenity, Composure, and Strength.-Pure and undefiled religion is not a sentiment, but the doing of works of mercy and love. This religion is necessary to health and happiness. It enters the polluted soul temple and with a scourge drives out the sinful intruders. Taking the throne, it consecrates all by its presence, illuminating the heart with the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness. It opens the windows of the soul heavenward, letting in the sunshine of God's love. With it comes serenity and composure. Physical, mental, and moral strength increase, because the atmosphere of heaven as a living, active agency fills the soul. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory.-The Review and Herald, October 15, 1901. (Welfare Ministry, 38.)

God Is the Source of Life and Joy.-God is the source of life and light and joy to the universe. Like rays of light from the sun, like the streams of water bursting from a living spring, blessings flow out from Him to all His creatures. And wherever the life of God is in the hearts of men, it will flow out to others in love and blessing.-Steps to Christ, 77 (1892).

All Receive Life From God.-All created things live by the will and power of God. They are recipients of the life of the Son of God. However able and talented, however large their capacities, they are replenished with life from the Source of all life. He is the spring, the fountain, of life. Only He who alone hath immortality, dwelling in light and life, could say, "I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again."-MS 131, 1897. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1113.)

Satan Uses Influences of Mind on Mind.-Cast out of heaven, Satan set up his kingdom in this world, and ever since he has been untiringly striving to seduce human beings from their allegiance to God. He uses the same power that he used in heaven-the influence of mind on mind. Men become tempters of their fellowmen. The strong, corrupting sentiments of Satan are cherished, and they exert a masterly, compelling power. Under the influence of these sentiments, men bind up with one another in confederacies, in trade unions, and in secret societies. There are at work in the world agencies that God will not much longer tolerate.-Lt 114, 1903.

Satan's Studied Purpose to Employ Powers for Selfish Ends.-Satan has nets and snares, like the snares of the fowler, all prepared to entrap souls. It is his studied purpose that men shall employ their God-given powers for selfish ends rather than yield them to glorify God. God would have men engage in a work that will bring them peace and joy and will render them eternal profit; but Satan wants us to concentrate our efforts for that which profiteth not, for the things that perish with the using.-The Present Truth, September 1, 1910. (HC 200.)

Transgression Brought No New Order of Energies and Passions.-We are not to suppose that since the transgression of Adam, God has given to human beings a new order of energies and passions, for then it would appear that God had interfered to implant in the human race sinful propensities. Christ began His work of conversion as soon as man transgressed, that through obedience to the law of God and faith in Christ they might regain the lost image of God.-MS 60, 1905.

Each Must Choose One of Two Banners.-Here is the great issue. Here are the two great powers confronting each other, the Prince of God, Jesus Christ, and the prince of darkness, Satan. Here comes the open conflict. There are but two classes in the world, and every human being will range under one of the two banners, the banner of the prince of darkness or the banner of Jesus Christ.-Lt 38, 1894.

Sin Affects Entire Being.-Sin affects the entire being; so also does grace.-Lt 8, 1891.

It is the wayward heart that has dragged down the faculties of the soul. All who would learn the science of salvation must be submissive students in the school of Christ, that the soul temple may be the abiding place of the Most High. If we would learn of Christ, the soul must be emptied of all its proud possessions, that Christ may imprint His image on the soul.-Lt 5, 1898. (HC 105.)

The Cross Gives Proper Level to the Human Mind.-What gives the proper level to the human mind? It is the cross of Calvary. By looking unto Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith, all the desire for self-glorification is laid in the dust. There comes, as we see aright, a spirit of self-abasement that promotes lowliness and humbleness of mind. As we contemplate the cross, we are enabled to see the wonderful provision it has brought to every believer. God in Christ, ... if seen aright, will level human exaltation and pride. There will be no self-exaltation, but there will be true humility.-Lt 20, 1897. (HC 114.)

Man Is Made Complete in Christ.-Christ brings His disciples into a living union with Himself and with the Father. Through the working of the Holy Spirit upon the human mind, man is made complete in Christ Jesus. Unity with Christ establishes a bond of unity with one another. This unity is the most convincing proof to the world of the majesty and virtue of Christ and of His power to take away sin.-MS 111, 1903. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1148.)

God Alone Can Raise Man in Moral Worth.-The value of man as God estimates him is through his union with Christ, for God is the only One able to raise man in the scale of moral worth through the righteousness of Christ. Worldly honor and worldly greatness are of just that value that the Creator of man places upon them. Their wisdom is foolishness, their strength weakness.-Lt 9, 1873. (HC 149.)

Selfishness and Its Fruit.-Selfishness is the essence of depravity, and because human beings have yielded to its power, the opposite of allegiance to God is seen in the world today. Nations, families, and individuals are filled with a desire to make self a center. Man longs to rule over his fellowmen. Separating himself in his egotism from God and his fellow beings, he follows his unrestrained inclinations. He acts as if the good of others depended on their subjection to his supremacy.-The Present Truth, June 25, 1908. (Counsels on Stewardship, 24.)

The Victory May Be Gained.-Through the cultivation of righteous principles, man may gain the victory over the bias to evil. If he is obedient to the law of God, the senses are no longer warped and twisted; the faculties are no longer perverted and wasted by being exercised on objects that are of a character to lead away from God. In and through the grace bestowed by Heaven, the words, the thoughts, and the energies may be purified; a new character may be formed, and the debasement of sin overcome.-MS 60, 1905.

Wavering Mind Beginning of Temptation.-The beginning of yielding to temptation is in the sin of permitting the mind to waver, to be inconsistent in your trust in God. The wicked one is ever watching for a chance to misrepresent God and to attract the mind to that which is forbidden.

If he can, he will fasten the mind upon the things of the world. He will endeavor to excite the emotions, to arouse the passions, to fasten the affections on that which is not for your good; but it is for you to hold every emotion and passion under control, in calm subjection to reason and conscience. Then Satan loses his power to control the mind.

The work to which Christ calls us is to the work of progressive conquest over spiritual evil in our characters. Natural tendencies are to be overcome.... Appetite and passion must be conquered, and the will must be placed wholly on the side of Christ.-.The Review and Herald, June 14, 1892. (HC 87.)

None Need Despair Because of Inherited Tendencies.-Satan is ever on the alert to deceive and mislead. He is using every enchantment to allure men into the broad road of disobedience. He is working to confuse the senses with erroneous sentiments and remove the landmarks by placing his false inscription on the signposts which God has established to point the right way. It is because these evil agencies are striving to eclipse every ray of light from the soul that heavenly beings are appointed to do their work of ministry, to guide, guard, and control those who shall be heirs of salvation. None need despair because of the inherited tendencies to evil, but when the Spirit of God convicts of sin, the wrongdoer must repent and confess and forsake the evil. Faithful sentinels are on guard to direct souls in right paths.-MS 8, 1900. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 6:1120.)

Partaker of Sin Through Association.-The soul that has been misled by wrong influences and has become a partaker of sin through association with others, to do contrary to the mind and character of God, need not despair. "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26). Christ is not only priest and intercessor for our sins, but the offering. He offered Himself once for all.-Lt 11, 1897.

Satan's Work to Discourage; Christ's to Inspire Hope.-Do not for a moment acknowledge Satan's temptations as being in harmony with your own mind. Turn from them as you would from the adversary himself. Satan's work is to discourage the soul. Christ's work is to inspire the heart with faith and hope. Satan seeks to unsettle our confidence. He tells us that our hopes are built upon false premises rather than upon the sure, immutable word of Him who cannot lie.-MS 31, 1911. (HC 85.)

A Remedy for Every Class of Temptation.-For every class of temptations there is a remedy. We are not left to ourselves to fight the battle against self and our sinful natures in our own finite strength. Jesus is a mighty helper, a never-failing support.... None need fail or become discouraged when such ample provision has been made for us.-The Review and Herald, April 8, 1884. (HC 88.)

Christ's Blood the Only Remedy.-The law of Jehovah is exceedingly broad. Jesus... plainly declared to His disciples that this holy law of God may be violated in even the thoughts and feelings and desires, as well as in the word and deed. The heart that loves God supremely will not in any way be inclined to narrow down His precepts to the very smallest possible claims, but the obedient, loyal soul will cheerfully render full spiritual obedience when the law is seen in its spiritual power. Then will the commandments come home to the soul in their real force. Sin will appear exceedingly sinful.... There is no longer self-righteousness, self-esteem, self-honor. Self-security is gone. Deep conviction of sin and self-loathing is the result, and the soul in its desperate sense of peril lays hold on the blood of the Lamb of God as his only remedy.-Lt 51, 1888. (HC 140.)

Meeting the Tempter's Challenge.-Satan will come to you saying, You are a sinner. But do not let him fill your mind with the thought that because you are sinful, God has cast you off. Say to him, Yes, I am a sinner, and for that reason I need a Saviour. I need forgiveness and pardon, and Christ says that if I come to Him I shall not perish. In His letter to me I read, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). I will believe the word He has left for me. I will obey His commands. When Satan tells you that you are lost, answer, Yes, but Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. The greater my sin, the greater my need of a Saviour.-Lt 98b, 1896.

Attention Turned From Confusion to God's Handiwork.-God calls upon His creatures to turn their attention from the confusion and perplexity around them and admire His handiwork. The heavenly bodies are worthy of contemplation. God has made them for the benefit of man, and as we study His works, angels of God will be by our side to enlighten our minds and guard them from satanic deception.-MS 96, 1899. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 4:1145.)

What Religion Does.-True religion ennobles the mind, refines the taste, sanctifies the judgment, and makes its possessor a partaker of the purity and the holiness of Heaven. It brings angels near and separates us more and more from the spirit and influence of the world. It enters into all the acts and relations of life and gives us the "spirit of a sound mind," and the result is happiness and peace.-The Signs of the Times, October 23, 1884. (Counsels on Health, 629, 630.)

Increases Intellectual Capabilities.-As in the case of Daniel, in exact proportion as the spiritual character is developed, the intellectual capabilities are increased.-RH, Maranatha, 22, 1898. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 4:1168.)

It Improves the Physical Health.-Let the mind become intelligent and the will be placed on the Lord's side, and there will be a wonderful improvement in the physical health.-Medical Missionary, December 1, 1892. (Counsels on Health, 504.)

Right Doing the Best Medicine.-The consciousness of right doing is the best medicine for diseased bodies and minds. The special blessing of God resting upon the receiver is health and strength. One whose mind is quiet and satisfied in God is on the highway to health. To have the consciousness that the eye of the Lord is upon us and that His ear is open to our prayers is a satisfaction indeed. To know that we have a never-failing friend to whom we can confide all the secrets of the soul is a happiness which words can never express.-The Signs of the Times, October 23, 1884. (Counsels on Health, 628.)

Love of Jesus Surrounds Souls With Fragrant Atmosphere.-The souls of those who love Jesus will be surrounded with a pure, fragrant atmosphere. There are those who hide their soul hunger. These will be greatly helped by a tender word or a kind remembrance. The heavenly gifts, freely and richly bestowed by God, are in turn to be freely bestowed by us upon all who come within the sphere of our influence. Thus we reveal a love that is heaven-born and which will increase as it is freely used in blessing others. Thus we glorify God.-MS 17, 1899. (HC 231.)

Results of One Moment of Thoughtlessness.-One safeguard removed from conscience, the indulgence of one evil habit, a single neglect of the high claims of duty, may be the beginning of a course of deception that will pass you into the ranks of those who are serving Satan, while you are all the time professing to love God and His cause. A moment of thoughtlessness, a single misstep, may turn the whole current of your lives in the wrong direction.-Testimonies for the Church 5:398 (1885).

God Works No Miracle to Prevent Harvest.-The Lord sends us warning, counsel, and reproof that we may have opportunity to correct our errors before they become second nature. But if we refuse to be corrected, God does not interfere to counteract the tendencies of our own course of action. He works no miracle that the seed sown may not spring up and bear fruit.

That man who manifests an infidel hardihood or a stolid indifference to divine truth is but reaping the harvest which he has himself sown. Such has been the experience of many. They listen with stoical indifference to the truths which once stirred their very souls. They sowed neglect, indifference, and resistance to the truth; and such is the harvest which they reap. The coldness of ice, the hardness of iron, the impenetrable, unimpressible nature of rock-all these find a counterpart in the character of many a professed Christian.

It was thus that the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh. God spoke to the Egyptian king by the mouth of Moses, giving him the most striking evidences of divine power; but the monarch stubbornly refused the light which would have brought him to repentance. God did not send a supernatural power to harden the heart of the rebellious king, but as Pharaoh resisted the truth the Holy Spirit was withdrawn, and he was left to the darkness and unbelief which he had chosen. By persistent rejection of the Spirit's influence, men cut themselves off from God. He has in reserve no more potent agency to enlighten their minds. No revelation of His will can reach them in their unbelief.-The Review and Herald, June 20, 1882. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 3:1151.)

Molding Our Surroundings Instead of Being Molded by Them.-There are evils which man may lessen but can never remove. He is to overcome obstacles and make his surroundings instead of being molded by them. He has room to exercise his talents in bringing order and harmony out of confusion. In this work he may have divine aid if he will claim it. He is not left to battle with temptations and trials in his own strength. Help has been laid upon One who is mighty. Jesus left the royal courts of heaven and suffered and died in a world degraded by sin that He might teach man how to pass through the trials of life and overcome its temptations. Here is a pattern for us.-Testimonies for the Church 5:312 (1885).

God Desires the Mind to Be Renovated.-The rubbish of questionable principles and practices is to be swept away. The Lord desires the mind to be renovated and the heart filled with the treasures of truth.-MS 24, 1901. (HC 106.)

To Deal Judiciously With Different Minds.-We all need to study character and manner that we may know how to deal judiciously with different minds, that we may use our best endeavors to help them to a correct understanding of the Word of God and to a true Christian life. We should read the Bible with them and draw their minds away from temporal things to their eternal interests. It is the duty of God's children to be missionaries for Him, to become acquainted with those who need help. If one is staggering under temptation, his case should be taken up carefully and managed wisely; for his eternal interest is at stake, and the words and acts of those laboring for him may be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death.-Testimonies for the Church 4:69 (1876).

Unbending Principle Marks Students of Jesus.-Unbending principle will mark the course of those who sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him.-The Review and Herald, June 20, 1882. (HC 160.)