Mind, Character and Personality/Principles of Motivation
Success Demands Aim—Success in any line demands a definite aim. He who would achieve true success in life must keep steadily in view the aim worthy of his endeavor. Such an aim is set before the youth of today.—Education, 262 (1903).
Should Aim as High as Possible—The specific place appointed us in life is determined by our capabilities. Not all reach the same development or do with equal efficiency the same work. God does not expect the hyssop to attain the proportions of the cedar, or the olive the height of the stately palm. But each should aim just as high as the union of human with divine power makes it possible for him to reach.—Education, 267 (1903).
Students to Have a Real Aim—Teach the students to use for the highest, holiest purpose the talents God has given them that they may accomplish the greatest good in this world. Students need to learn what it means to have a real aim in life, and to obtain an exalted understanding of what true education means.— The Madison School, November 14, 1905, 16. (p.342)
Christ Encourages Lofty Aims—He would give encouragement to our loftiest aims, security to our choicest treasure.—Christ’s Object Lessons, 374 (1900).
Failing to Realize One’s Potential—Many do not become what they might because they do not put forth the power that is in them. They do not, as they might, lay hold on divine strength. Many are diverted from the line in which they might reach the truest success. Seeking greater honor or a more pleasing task, they attempt something for which they are not fitted.
Many a man whose talents are adapted for some other calling is ambitious to enter a profession; and he who might have been successful as a farmer, an artisan, or a nurse fills inadequately the position of a minister, a lawyer, or a physician. There are others, again, who might have filled a responsible calling, but who, for want of energy, application, or perseverance, content themselves with an easier place.—Education, 267 (1903).
Great Possibilities in Life—And as regards life’s possibilities, who is capable of deciding what is great and what is small? How many a worker in the lowly places of life, by setting on foot agencies for the blessing of the world, has achieved results that kings might envy!—Education, 266 (1903).
“Something Better”—The Law of True Living—“Something better” is the watchword of education, the law of all true living. Whatever Christ asks us to renounce, He offers in its stead something better.
Often the youth cherish objects, pursuits, and pleasures that may not appear to be evil but that fall short of the highest good. They divert the life from its noblest aim. Arbitrary measures or direct denunciation may not avail in leading these youth to relinquish that which they hold dear. Let them be directed to something better than display, ambition, or self-indulgence. Bring them in (p.343) contact with truer beauty, with loftier principles, and with nobler lives. Lead them to behold the One “altogether lovely.”
When once the gaze is fixed upon Him, the life finds its center. The enthusiasm, the generous devotion, the passionate ardor, of the youth find here their true object. Duty becomes a delight and sacrifice a pleasure. To honor Christ, to become like Him, to work for Him, is the life’s highest ambition and its greatest joy.—Education, 296, 297 (1903).
Develop Highest Motives for Advancement—Those in training to be nurses and physicians should daily be given instruction that will develop the highest motives for advancement. They should attend our colleges and training schools; and the teachers in these institutions of learning should realize their responsibility to work with and pray with the students. In these schools, students should learn to be true medical missionaries, firmly bound up with the gospel ministry.— The Madison School, November 14, 1905, 12.
The Foolish Rich Man’s Selfish Aimlessness—This man’s aims were no higher than those of the beasts that perish. He lived as if there were no God, no heaven, no future life; as if everything he possessed were his own and he owed nothing to God or man. The psalmist described this rich man when he wrote. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, 257, 258 (1900). An Aimless Life a Living Death—An aimless life is a living death. The mind should dwell upon themes relating to our eternal interests. This will be conducive to health of body and mind.—The Review and Herald, July 29, 1884. (Counsels on Health, 51.)
Fungus Roots on Aimlessness—One of the chief causes of mental inefficiency and moral weakness is the lack of concentration for worthy ends. We pride ourselves (p.344) on the wide distribution of literature; but the multiplication of books, even books that in themselves are not harmful, may be a positive evil....
A large share of the periodicals and books that, like the frogs of Egypt, are overspreading the land are not merely commonplace, idle, and enervating, but unclean and degrading. Their effect is not merely to intoxicate and ruin the mind but to corrupt and destroy the soul. The mind, the heart, that is indolent, aimless, falls an easy prey to evil. It is on diseased, lifeless organisms that fungus roots. It is the idle mind that is Satan’s workshop. Let the mind be directed to high and holy ideals, let the life have a noble aim, an absorbing purpose, and evil finds little foothold.—Education, 189, 190 (1903).
Aimlessness a Predisposing Cause of Intemperance—In order to reach the root of intemperance we must go deeper than the use of alcohol or tobacco. Idleness, lack of aim, or evil associations may be the predisposing cause.—Education, 202, 203 (1903).
Few Evils More to Be Dreaded—Few evils are more to be dreaded than indolence and aimlessness. Yet the tendency of most athletic sports is a subject of anxious thought to those who have at heart the well-being of the youth.... They stimulate the love of pleasure and excitement, thus fostering a distaste for useful labor, a disposition to shun practical duties and responsibilities. They tend to destroy a relish for life’s sober realities and its tranquil enjoyments. Thus the door is opened to dissipation and lawlessness, with their terrible results.—Education, 210, 211 (1903).
No One to Live an Aimless Life—Every soul is to minister. He is to use every physical, moral, and mental power—through sanctification of the Spirit—that he may be a laborer together with God. All are bound to devote themselves actively and unreservedly to God’s (p.345) service. They are to cooperate with Jesus Christ in the great work of helping others. Christ died for every man. He has ransomed every man by giving His life on the cross. This He did that man might no longer live an aimless, selfish life but that he might live unto Jesus Christ, who died for his salvation. All are not called upon to enter the ministry, but nevertheless, they are to minister. It is an insult to the Holy Spirit of God for any man to choose a life of self-serving.— Letter 10, 1897. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 4:1159.)
Right Motives to Be Cultivated—The true motives of service are to be kept before old and young. The students are to be taught in such a way that they will develop into useful men and women. Every means that will elevate and ennoble them is to be employed. They are to be taught to put their powers to the best use. Physical and mental powers are to be equally taxed. Habits of order and discipline are to be cultivated. The power that is exerted by a pure, true life is to be kept before the students. This will aid them in the preparation for useful service. Daily they will grow purer and stronger, better prepared through His grace and a study of His Word to put forth aggressive efforts against evil.—The Review and Herald, August 22, 1912. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 543.)
Actions Reveal Motives—Actions reveal principles and motives. The fruit borne by many who claim to be plants in the Lord’s vineyard shows them to be but thorns and briers. A whole church may sanction the wrong course of some of its members, but that sanction does not prove the wrong to be right. It cannot make grapes of thorn berries.—Testimonies for the Church 5:103 (1882).
Motives, Not Appearance, Judged—It is an important duty for all to become familiar with the tenor of their conduct from day to day and the motives which prompt their actions. They need to become acquainted (p.346) with the particular motives which prompt particular actions. Every action of their lives is judged, not by the external appearance, but from the motive which dictated the action.—Testimonies for the Church 3:507 (1875).
Followers of Christ Find New Motives—No other science is equal to that which develops in the life of the student the character of God. Those who become followers of Christ find that new motives of action are supplied, new thoughts arise, and new actions must result. But they can make advancement only through conflict; for there is an enemy who ever contends against them, presenting temptations to cause the soul to doubt and sin. There are hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil that must be overcome. Appetite and passion must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. There is no end to the warfare this side of eternity. But while there are constant battles to fight, there are also precious victories to gain; and the triumph over self and sin is of more value than the mind can estimate.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 20 (1913).
Two Antagonistic Motive Powers—The Bible is its own expositor. Scripture is to be compared with scripture. The student should learn to view the Word as a whole and to see the relation of its parts. He should gain a knowledge of its grand central theme, of God’s original purpose for the world, of the rise of the great controversy, and of the work of redemption. He should understand the nature of the two principles that are contending for supremacy and should learn to trace their working through the records of history and prophecy, to the great consummation. He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives; and how, whether he will or not, he is even now deciding upon which side of the controversy he will be found.—Education, 190 (1903). (p.347)
Every Action Has Twofold Character—Every course of action has a twofold character and importance. It is virtuous or vicious, right or wrong, according to the motive which prompts it. A wrong action, by frequent repetition, leaves a permanent impression upon the mind of the actor and also on the minds of those who are connected with him in any relation, either spiritual or temporal. The parents or teachers who give no attention to the small actions that are not right establish those habits in the youth.—The Review and Herald, May 17, 1898. (Child Guidance, 201.)
Action Derives Quality From Motive—Every action derives its quality from the motive which prompts it, and if the motives are not high and pure and unselfish, the mind and character will never become well balanced.—The Youth’s Instructor, April 7, 1898. (Sons and Daughters of God, 171.)
Motives Give Character to Acts—It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift. The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour’s commendation.—The Desire of Ages, 615 (1898).
God Reveals the Motives—God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them into positions which are calculated to reveal the motives of the heart. Some endure at one point but fall off at the next. At every advance step the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If any (p.348) find their hearts opposed to the straight work of God, it should convince them that they have a work to do in overcoming, or they will be finally rejected of the Lord.—The Review and Herald, April 8, 1880. (HC 162.) Our Secret Motives Decide Destiny—Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or to condemn.—The Great Controversy, 486, 487 (1911).
God Estimates Men by Purity of Motive—Not by their wealth, their education, or their position does God estimate men. He estimates them by their purity of motive and their beauty of character. He looks to see how much of His Spirit they possess and how much of His likeness their life reveals. To be great in God’s kingdom is to be as a little child in humility, in simplicity of faith, and in purity of love.—The Ministry of Healing, 477, 478 (1905).
God Judges by the Motives—There is much in the conduct of a minister that he can improve. Many see and feel their lack, yet they seem to be ignorant of the influence they exert. They are conscious of their actions as they perform them, but suffer them to pass from their memory, and therefore do not reform.
If ministers would make the actions of each day a subject of careful thought and deliberate review, with the object to become acquainted with their own habits of life, they would better know themselves. By a close scrutiny of their daily life under all circumstances they would know their own motives, the principles which actuate them. This daily review of our acts, to see whether conscience approves or condemns, is necessary for all who wish to arrive at the perfection of Christian character.
Many acts which pass for good works, even deeds of benevolence, will, when closely investigated, be found (p.349) to be prompted by wrong motives. Many receive applause for virtues which they do not possess. The Searcher of hearts inspects motives, and often the deeds which are highly applauded by men are recorded by Him as springing from selfish motives and base hypocrisy. Every act of our lives, whether excellent and praiseworthy or deserving of censure, is judged by the Searcher of hearts according to the motives which prompted it.—Testimonies for the Church 2:511, 512 (1870).
Sometimes Difficult to Discern Motives—Amid the cares of active life it is sometimes difficult to discern our own motives, but progress is made daily either for good or evil.—Testimonies for the Church 5:420 (1889).
Real Conversion Changes Motives—Real conversion is a decided change of feelings and motives; it is a virtual taking leave of worldly connections, a hastening from their spiritual atmosphere, a withdrawing from the controlling power of their thoughts, opinions, and influences.—Testimonies for the Church 5:82, 83 (1889).
The Great Motive Powers of the Soul—The great motive powers of the soul are faith, hope, and love; and it is to these that Bible study, rightly pursued, appeals. The outward beauty of the Bible, the beauty of imagery and expression, is but the setting, as it were, for its real treasure—the beauty of holiness. In its record of the men who walked with God, we may catch glimpses of His glory. In the One “altogether lovely” we behold Him, of whom all beauty of earth and heaven is but a dim reflection. “I, if I be lifted up,” He said, “will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).—Education, 192 (1903).