Words to the Young

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THE YOUTH'S INSTRUCTOR

August 24, 1893

Words to the Young

 

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear [to worldly associates] what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

We are not to settle down, expecting that a change of character will come to us by some miraculous work, when Jesus shall appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. No, my young friends, we are judgment-bound, and probation is granted to us here in this life, in order that we may form characters for the future, immortal life. If the truth of God is abiding in our hearts, it will work by love, and sanctify the soul from every defilement. "And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." There is no chance to plead for the retention of one idol, for the cherishing of one wrong hereditary or cultivated habit. We are called upon to have complete government over our bodies, as God's special habitation. The body is not to be treated carelessly. There is to be no reckless action, no needless imperiling of any organ of the body or faculty of the mind. We are not to indulge in any habit that will weaken physical or mental strength, or abuse our powers in any way. We are to do all in our power to keep ourselves in health, in order that we may have sweetness of disposition, a clear mind, and be able to distinguish between the sacred and the common, and honor God in our bodies and in our spirits, which are his.

If we indulge in sinful practices through the gratification of appetite or passion, we unfit ourselves for the service that we are called upon to render to God in blessing humanity. If we injure the body by unlawful practices, we shall be held accountable for our failure to act the part for which God has given us talents and capabilities; for if we would live in harmony with God's requirements, we should each have a part to act in doing good to all mankind. This fact should be kept before all those who claim to be the sons and daughters of God,that ye are not your own, but have been bought with a price, and redeemed from the slavery into which Satan has led all the children of men.

We are pained to see that children are not better educated, that they do not realize that they are under obligations to bring themselves under the rule of Jesus Christ, whose possession they are, every day. Our very bodies and souls are God's, and yet so little do our youth, children, and even those of more mature years, realize this, that they make little or no effort to rid themselves of their evil hereditary and cultivated habits. They seem content to be ignorant of their duty to God and to their fellow-men.

This world is the place wherein we are fitting up for the future, immortal world, and a solemn charge has been given to us, that we should in no case defile the temple of the Holy Spirit. Our heavenly Father constantly provides for our wants. Our time, talents, influence, property, are his, and by devoting ourselves to the service of God, our capabilities will be ever growing in strength, in efficiency, and in power to do more advanced work. But if the body is abused, it becomes diseased, and the relation between soul and body is so intimate that one suffers with the other, and the temple of God is defiled. By virtue of creating us, God has a right to our bodies, our souls, our spirit. "Hath not the potter power over the clay?" God has actually produced the entire being of man, and therefore ye are not your own. But we are his by virtue of a still greater reason. He has paid an infinite price, in order that we might render obedience to his requirements, and keep his commandments. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Paul uses this argument to incite the Corinthians to surrender themselves to God. He says, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." To obey this injunction takes all there is in us. God has a double claim upon us; for we are his by virtue of creation, and by virtue of redemption.

Let no one deceive himself with the idea that his imperfections are not so grievous as are the faults of others, and that therefore he will not have to watch, and need not think soberly as to what will be his influence upon others. Those who do not feel that God requires them to think soberly, and pray unceasingly, that they may not be overtaken by temptation, are deluded by the enemy, and will not grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Old and young, we need to pray most earnestly and believe most trustingly, that the merits of Jesus Christ will suffice to bring grace and strength and determination to enable us to overcome every defect. O pray that "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, ... ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power." How many who are retaining their own ways and habits and practices, think that they cannot overcome, and so make no determined effort. They accept the old natural hereditary tendencies, and cherish them, as though they were the most precious jewels. If they are reproved or counseled, they manifest a murmuring spirit, and retaliate upon the one who watches for their souls as one who must give an account. Others show disrespect to the one who points out to them the fact that they are misrepresenting the Saviour by cherishing un- Christlike traits of character. These poor souls need to be converted. "But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.... Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Note by Ron: The clear implication is that we grieve the Holy Spirit of God by:

       Bitterness

       Wrath , anger and clamor

       Evil speaking out of malice

       Unkindness, lack of tender heartedness

       Failure to forgive one another

Let none be impatient and angry when friends set before them the errors, mistakes, and dangers of the course they have been taking. So long have they cherished their own ways, that they have become self-confident, and do not discern that they have serious defects of character which exert an influence over those with whom they are brought in contact. They do not realize that their influence will cause others to cherish a wrong spirit, to rise up against order and discipline, to disregard the wishes of those who have the rule over them, and who watch over their souls as they that must give an account. Shall those who are cherishing serious defects of character, and sowing their evil seeds in the souls of others, continue in this course of action? Let us read what the apostle has written in the word of God: "Do all things without murmurings and disputings." How much murmuring and disputing is indulged in by those who are counseled and reproved! They dispute with the one who labors for their good. They refuse to believe that their influence is anything but good and praiseworthy. They make it manifest by their course that they do not believe that there is any reason for words of caution from any one, and they show disrespect of authority. Is it any marvel that they are not renewed in the spirit of their mind? But if they become the children of God, they will make changes. The apostle thus describes those whom God approves: "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."

If those who witness our course of action see that our influence is not safe, there must be crookedness somewhere, and it is best for us to put our souls under discipline. If self-indulgence blinds our eyes to our faults, if pride rises up against the reprover, and sets our will in defiance, let conscience be heard. Do not try to put away the reproof by saying it is too small a matter to dwell upon. A defective character is not a small matter. Put forth an effort proportionate to the object which you hope to attain, even the crown of eternal life, and be not slothful and indolent in the matter of overcoming, when you are on the very borders of the eternal world. Will it not pay to put to the stretch every spiritual muscle and sinew, that you may come off victorious? Infinite resources are opened for you in God. Then do not fail of being complete in Jesus Christ.

Mrs. E. G. White