Mind, Character and Personality/Diligence
Strive and Achieve—It is hard study, hard toil, persevering diligence, that obtain victories. Waste no hours, no moments. The results of work—earnest, faithful work—will be seen and appreciated. Those who wish for stronger minds can gain them by diligence. The mind increases in power and efficiency by use. It becomes strong by hard thinking. He who uses most diligently his mental and physical powers will achieve the greatest results. Every power of the being strengthens by action.—The Review and Herald, March 10, 1903.
Attain Highest Possible Capacity—The true object of education should be carefully considered. God has entrusted to each one capacities and powers, that they may be returned to Him enlarged and improved. All His gifts are granted to us to be used to the utmost. He requires every one of us to cultivate our powers and attain the highest possible capacity for usefulness, that we may do noble work for God and bless humanity. Every talent that we possess, whether of mental capacity, money, or influence, is of God, so that we may say with David, “All (p.100) things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee” (1 Chronicles 29:14).—The Review and Herald, August 19, 1884; (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 82.)
Fine Mental Qualities Not the Result of Accident—True success in any line of work is not the result of chance or accident or destiny. It is the outworking of God’s providences, the reward of faith and discretion, of virtue and perseverance. Fine mental qualities and a high moral tone are not the result of accident. God gives opportunities; success depends upon the use made of them.—Prophets and Kings, 486 (1917).
Mental Culture Is What We Need—Mental culture is what we as a people need and what we must have in order to meet the demands of the time. Poverty, humble origin, and unfavorable surroundings need not prevent the cultivation of the mind. The mental faculties must be kept under the control of the will and the mind not allowed to wander or become distracted with a variety of subjects at a time, being thorough in none.
Difficulties will be met in all studies, but never cease through discouragement. Search, study, and pray; face every difficulty manfully and vigorously; call the power of will and the grace of patience to your aid, and then dig more earnestly till the gem of truth lies before you, plain and beautiful, all the more precious because of the difficulties involved in finding it.
Do not, then, continually dwell upon this one point, concentrating all the energies of the mind upon it, constantly urging it upon the attention of others, but take another subject, and carefully examine that. Thus mystery after mystery will be unfolded to your comprehension. Two valuable victories will be gained by this course. You have not only secured useful knowledge, but the exercise of the mind has increased mental strength and power. The key found to unlock one mystery may develop also other precious gems of knowledge heretofore undiscovered—Testimonies for the Church 4:414 (1880). (p.101)
The Law of the Mind—It is a law of the mind that it will narrow or expand to the dimensions of the things with which it becomes familiar. The mental powers will surely become contracted and will lose their ability to grasp the deep meanings of the Word of God unless they are put vigorously and persistently to the task of searching for truth. The mind will enlarge if it is employed in tracing out the relation of the subjects of the Bible, comparing scripture with scripture, and spiritual things with spiritual. Go below the surface; the richest treasures of thought are waiting for the skillful and diligent student.—The Review and Herald, July 17, 1888. (Messages to Young People, 262.)
Call Latent Powers to Action—In the common walks of life there is many a toiler patiently treading the round of his daily tasks, unconscious of latent powers that, roused to action, would place him among the world’s great leaders. The touch of a skillful hand is needed to arouse and develop those dormant faculties. It was such men whom Jesus connected with Himself, and He gave them the advantages of three years’ training under His own care. No course of study in the schools of the rabbis or the halls of philosophy could have equaled this in value.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 511 (1913).
Many Might Be Intellectual Giants—Many of our laborers might today be intellectual giants had they not been content to meet a low level but been diligent and let their thoughts and investigations plow deep. Many of our young people are in danger of being superficial, of failing to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. They consider that they have a sufficient degree of knowledge and understanding of subjects, and if they do not love study they will not plow deep to obtain all the treasures possible for them to acquire.— Letter 33, 1886
Self-discipline Necessary—God requires the training of the mental faculties. They need to be so cultivated (p.102) that we can, if necessary, set the truth before the highest earthly powers to the glory of God. The converting power of God upon heart and character is also needed every day. Self-discipline must be carried on by everyone who claims to be a child of God; for it is in this way that the mind and will are brought into subjection to the mind and will of God. Decided discipline in the cause of the Lord will accomplish more than eloquence and the most brilliant talents. An ordinary mind, well trained, will accomplish more and higher work than the most educated mind and the greatest talents, without self-control.—The Review and Herald, July 28, 1896.
Angels Take Hold of Reasoning Minds—The heavenly angels are ... at work to take hold of reasoning minds, and their power is mightier than the hosts of darkness. There are minds dealing with sacred things who are not in close connection with God and who do not discern the Spirit of God. Unless His grace transforms them into the image of Christ’s likeness, His Spirit will leave them as water leaves a leaky vessel. Their only hope is to seek God with all their mind, heart, and soul. Then they will lawfully strive for the mastery. Satan will steal the imagination and affections if you give him a chance.— Manuscript 11, 1893.
Highest Sanctified Ambition Demanded—“My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9) is the assurance of the Great Teacher. Catch the inspiration of the words, and never, never talk doubt and unbelief. Be energetic. There is no half-and-half service in pure and undefiled religion. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30). The very highest sanctified ambition is demanded of those who believe the Word of God.—Special Testimonies On Education, 30 June 12, 1896. (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 360.) (p.103)
Stand in Your God-given Personality—God has given us ability to think and to act, and it is by acting with carefulness, looking to Him for wisdom, that you will become capable of bearing burdens. Stand in your God-given personality. Be no other person’s shadow. Expect that the Lord will work in and by and through you.—The Ministry of Healing, 498, 499 (1905).
The Blighting Mildew of the World (admonition to a minister who loved speculation)—You are a man who should not be a teacher of truth. You should be far in advance of where you are in experience and in the knowledge of God. You should be a man in understanding; for God has given you intellectual faculties which are susceptible of the highest cultivation. Had you divorced yourself from your speculating propensities, had you worked in the opposite direction, you would now be able to do acceptable service for God.
Had you cultivated your mind aright and used your powers to God’s glory, you would have been fully qualified to bear the warning message to the world. But the mildew of the world has so affected your mind that it is not sanctified. You have not been cultivating the faculties that would make you a successful spiritual worker in the cause of God. You may carry forward the work of educating your mind in right lines. If you do not now become intelligent in regard to the truth, the fault will be all your own.— Letter 3, 1878
Move Forward Steadily—I want your ambition to be a sanctified ambition so that angels of God can inspire your heart with holy zeal, leading you to move forward steadily and solidly and making you a bright and shining light. Your perceptive faculties will increase in power and soundness if your whole being—body, soul, and spirit—is consecrated to the accomplishment of a holy work. Make every effort, in and through the grace of Christ, to attain to the high standard set before you. You (p.104) can be perfect in your sphere as God is perfect in His sphere. Has not Christ declared, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48)?— Letter 123, 1904
Cultivate Every Power—He desires that we shall constantly be growing in holiness, in happiness, in usefulness. All have capabilities which they must be taught to regard as sacred endowments, to appreciate as the Lord’s gifts, and rightly to employ. He desires the youth to cultivate every power of their being and to bring every faculty into active exercise. He desires them to enjoy all that is useful and precious in this life, to be good and to do good, laying up a heavenly treasure for the future life.—The Ministry of Healing, 398 (1905). Opportunities Within Reach of All—There are opportunities and advantages which are within the reach of all to strengthen the moral and spiritual powers. The mind can be expanded and ennobled and should be made to dwell upon heavenly things. Our powers must be cultivated to the uttermost, else we shall fail of meeting God’s standard.
Unless it [the mind] flows in a heavenward direction, it becomes an easy prey to the temptation of Satan to engage in worldly projects and enterprises that have no special connection with God. And all zeal and devotion and restless energy and feverish desire are brought into this work, and the devil stands by and laughs to see human effort wrestling so perseveringly for an object that it will never gain, which eludes its grasp. But if he can keep them infatuated with the baseless delusion that they will give strength of brain and bone and muscle to the objects they never will realize, he is gratified, for the powers of mind that belong to God, that God claims, are diverted from the right aim, the proper objects.— Letter 17, 1886.
Enemy Need Not Hinder Daily Improvement—Resolve to reach a high and holy standard; make your (p.105) mark high; act with earnest purpose as did Daniel, steadily, perseveringly; and nothing that the enemy can do will hinder your daily improvement. Notwithstanding inconveniences, changes, perplexities, you may constantly advance in mental vigor and moral power.
None need to be ignorant unless they choose to be thus. Knowledge is to be constantly acquired; it is the food for the mind. With us who look for Christ’s coming should be the resolve that we will not live this life constantly on the losing side of the question but in understanding in spiritual attainments. Be men of God, on the gaining side.
Knowledge is within the reach of all who desire it. God designs that the mind shall become strong, thinking deeper, fuller, clearer. Walk with God as did Enoch; make God your Counselor and you cannot but make improvement.— Letter 26d, 1887
Take Hold of God and Move Forward—God has given man intellect, and endowed him with capacities for improvement. Then let there be a strong taking hold upon God, a putting away of frivolity, amusement, and all uncleanness. Overcome all defects of character.
Although there is a natural tendency to pursue a downward course, there is a power that will be brought to combine with man’s earnest effort. His willpower will have a counteracting tendency. If he will combine with this divine help, he may resist the voice of the tempter. But Satan’s temptations harmonize with his defective, sinful tendencies, and urge him to sin. All he has to do is to follow the leader Jesus Christ who will tell him just what to do. God beckons to you from His throne in heaven, presenting to you a crown of immortal glory, and bids you to fight the good fight of faith and run the race with patience. Trust in God every moment. He is faithful that leadeth forward.— Letter 26d, 1887
God’s High Ideal for His Children—Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for (p.106) His children. Godliness—godlikeness—is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress. He has an object to achieve, a standard to attain, that includes everything good, and pure, and noble. He will advance as fast and as far as possible in every branch of true knowledge. But his efforts will be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth.—Education, 18, 19 (1903).