Mind, Character and Personality/Safe Mind Therapy
- [Note: The right approach to mental attitudes and mind therapy stands out in this compilation in the positive procedures stressed throughout this work, often in bold contrast to unsound concepts. To embody all such statements at this point would result in a great deal of uncalled-for repetition. A few helpful admonitions, some fresh in their approach, must stand for the whole in this chapter.—Compilers. See chapter 42, “Mind and Health.”] (p.731)
Mental Influence Rightly Used—In the treatment of the sick the effect of mental influence should not be overlooked. Rightly used, this influence affords one of the most effective agencies for combating disease.—The Ministry of Healing, 241 (1905).
Counsel to a Physician—The poor, afflicted souls with whom you are brought in contact have needed more of your attention than they have received. You have it in your power to encourage them to look to Jesus and, by beholding, be changed to His image.—Letter 121, 1901. (Medical Ministry, 112). Security in Constant Struggle Against Evil Imaginings—Let everyone who desires to be a partaker of the divine nature appreciate the fact that he must escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. There must be a constant, earnest struggling of the soul against the (p.732) evil imaginings of the mind. There must be a steadfast resistance of temptation to sin in thought or act. The soul must be kept from every stain, through faith in Him who is able to keep you from falling.
We should meditate upon the Scriptures, thinking soberly and candidly upon the things that pertain to our eternal salvation. The infinite mercy and love of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, call for most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should seek to comprehend the meaning of the plan of salvation. We should meditate upon the mission of Him who came to save His people from their sins.
By constantly contemplating heavenly themes, our faith and love will grow stronger. Our prayers will be more and more acceptable to God because they will be more and more mixed with faith and love. They will be more intelligent and fervent. There will be more constant confidence in Jesus, and you will have a daily, living experience in the willingness and power of Christ to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.—The Review and Herald, June 12, 1888. (HC 113.)
Souls Invigorated by Contact With the Infinite—We should contemplate God in nature—study His character in the work of His hands. The mind is strengthened by becoming acquainted with God, by reading His attributes in the things which He has made. As we behold the beauty and grandeur in the works of nature, our affections go out after God; and though our souls are awed and our spirit subdued, our souls are invigorated by coming in contact with the Infinite through His marvelous works. Communion with God through humble prayer develops and strengthens the mental and moral faculties, and spiritual powers increase by cultivating thoughts upon spiritual things.—The Youth’s Instructor, July 13, 1893.
Guard the Avenues to the Soul—The apostle sought to teach the believers how important it is to keep the (p.733) mind from wandering to forbidden themes or from spending its energies on trifling subjects. Those who would not fall a prey to Satan’s devices must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts. The mind must not be left to dwell at random upon every subject that the enemy of souls may suggest.
The heart must be faithfully sentineled, or evils without will awaken evils within, and the soul will wander in darkness.—The Acts of the Apostles, 518 (1911). The Effect of Personal Atmosphere—The influence of every man’s thoughts and actions surrounds him like an invisible atmosphere, which is unconsciously breathed in by all who come in contact with him. This atmosphere is frequently charged with poisonous influences, and when these are inhaled, moral degeneracy is the sure result.—Testimonies for the Church 5:111 (1882).
Surrounded by an Atmosphere of Light and Peace—Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. He desires that we shall reveal His own joy in our lives.
The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the out-flowing of heavenly love. The divine fullness will flow through the consecrated human agent, to be given forth to others.—Christ’s Object Lessons, 419 (1900).
Depend Constantly on God—Many are unable to make definite plans for the future. Their life is unsettled. They cannot discern the outcome of affairs, and this often fills them with anxiety and unrest. Let us remember that the life of God’s children in this world is a pilgrim life. We have not wisdom to plan our own lives. It is not for us to shape our future. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go (p.734) out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8).
Christ in His life on earth made no plans for Himself. He accepted God’s plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will. As we commit our ways to Him, He will direct our steps.—The Ministry of Healing, 478, 479 (1905).
Value of Occupational Therapy—I was shown that it would prove more beneficial to most patients to allow light work, and even to urge it upon them, than to urge them to remain inactive and idle. If the power of the will be kept active to arouse the dormant faculties, it will be the greatest help to recover health. Remove all labor from those who have been overtaxed all their lives, and in nine cases out of ten the change will be an injury.
This has proved true in the case of my husband. I was shown that physical, outdoor exercise is far preferable to indoor; but if this cannot be secured, light indoor employment would occupy and divert the mind and prevent it from dwelling upon symptoms and little ailments, and would also prevent homesickness.—Testimonies for the Church 1:567 568 (1867). [Note: See Selected Messages 2:306-308, for an account of her successful participation in James White’s recovery.]
Well-directed Physical Exercise—When invalids have nothing to occupy their time and attention, their thoughts become centered upon themselves, and they grow morbid and irritable. Many times they dwell upon their bad feelings until they think themselves much worse than they really are and wholly unable to do anything. In all these cases well-directed physical exercise would prove an effective remedial agent. In some cases it is indispensable to the recovery of health. The will goes with the labor of the hands; and what these invalids need is to (p.735) have the will aroused. When the will is dormant, the imagination becomes abnormal, and it is impossible to resist disease.—The Ministry of Healing, 239 (1905).
Comforting Others Comforts Giver—Often prayer is solicited for the afflicted, the sorrowful, the discouraged; and this is right. We should pray that God will shed light into the darkened mind and comfort the sorrowful heart. But God answers prayer for those who place themselves in the channel of His blessings. While we offer prayer for these sorrowful ones, we should encourage them to try to help those more needy than themselves. The darkness will be dispelled from their own hearts as they try to help others. As we seek to comfort others with the comfort wherewith we are comforted, the blessings comes back to us.—The Ministry of Healing, 256 (1905).
Rest and Restoration (the author counsels her own son)—I have a word to say to you. Will you not sign a pledge that you will no longer weaken or deface the Lord’s temple by working when you ought to rest? In order to have proper thoughts and in order to speak proper words, you must give your brain rest. You do not take sufficient time to rest. The weary brain and tired nerves would be invigorated if you would make a change in this respect
We must study to discipline ourselves carefully, refusing to do that which would weaken the physical, mental, and moral strength. You need a clear, patient mind, which will endure all that may arise. You need a strong hold from above. Exercise faith, and leave the results with God. When you have done your best, be of good courage. Believe, believe, and hold fast. The enemy will try to get you to make some move which means defeat, but you cannot afford to do this. You cannot afford to make uncertain movements. You need the influence that you will gain by revealing wisdom and discretion.—Lt 121, 1904.
Relaxation and Rest Essential—I was shown that Sabbathkeepers as a people labor too hard without allowing (p.736) themselves change or periods of rest. Recreation is needful to those who are engaged in physical labor and is still more essential for those whose labor is principally mental. It is not essential to our salvation or for the glory of God to keep the mind laboring constantly and excessively, even upon religious themes.
There are amusements, such as dancing, card playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve because Heaven condemns them. These amusements open the door for great evil. They are not beneficial in their tendency, but have an exciting influence, producing in some minds a passion for those plays which lead to gambling and dissipation. All such plays should be condemned by Christians, and something perfectly harmless should be substituted in their place.—Testimonies for the Church 1:514 (1867).
Depending Upon God, We Refuse to Be Discouraged (counsel to an overworked executive)—The Lord has graciously spared your life to work in His lines. He does not want you to work yourself, independent of the only power which can work successfully to accomplish His designs. Then do not fret, but trust, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. Do not be in too much of a hurry. That which you can do without great taxation to your physical and mental powers, do, but do not feel that you must take so many cares and burdens that you cannot keep your own soul in the love of God.
The vineyard is the Lord’s; the work in every part is His, and He would have you so labor that your physical, mental, and moral powers shall be preserved. Bear in mind that you are cooperating with heavenly agencies. Do not allow the enemy to have the least partnership in the firm. Receive your orders from God, and in no wise be discouraged because you can only do the work of a finite agent. The Infinite will work with His power to give you efficiency.
Do not think you are left to do impossible things. Do not expect impossible things of others. Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but God giveth the increase (see 1 (p.737) 1 Corinthians 3:6). “Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure” (Psalm 102:25, 26). “They all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:11, 12).—Lt 86a, 1893.
Individual Efforts Necessary—The victims of evil habit must be aroused to the necessity of making an effort for themselves. Others may put forth the most earnest endeavor to uplift them, the grace of God may be freely offered, Christ may entreat, His angels may minister; but all will be in vain unless they themselves are roused to fight the battle in their own behalf....
Feeling the terrible power of temptation, the drawing of desire that leads to indulgence, many a man cries in despair, “I cannot resist evil.” Tell him that he can, that he must, resist. He may have been overcome again and again, but it need not be always thus. He is weak in moral power, controlled by the habits of a life of sin. His promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. The knowledge of his broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens his confidence in his own sincerity and causes him to feel that God cannot accept him or work with his efforts. But he need not despair.—The Ministry of Healing, 174, 175 (1905).
Aim Is Important—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).
The Highest Culture of the Mind—The knowledge of God is obtained from His Word. The experimental knowledge of true godliness, in daily consecration and service to God, ensures the highest culture of mind, soul, and body; and this consecration of all our powers to God prevents self-exaltation. The impartation of divine power honors (p.738) our sincere striving after wisdom for the conscientious use of our highest faculties to honor God and bless our fellowmen. As these faculties are derived from God, and not self-created, they should be appreciated as talents from God to be employed in His service.—MS 16, 1896. Positive Virtues Promote Health—Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life. A contented mind, a cheerful spirit, is health to the body and strength to the soul. “A merry [rejoicing] heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).—The Ministry of Healing, 241 (1905).