Chapter 3—Temperance and Spirituality

The Surrender to Satan—Man, through yielding to Satan's temptations to indulge intemperance, brings the higher faculties in subjection to the animal appetites and passions, and when these gain the ascendancy, man, who was created a little lower than the angels, with faculties susceptible of the highest cultivation, surrenders to the control of Satan. And he gains easy access to those who are in bondage to appetite. Through intemperance, some sacrifice one half, and others two thirds, of their physical, mental, and moral powers, and become playthings for the enemy. Te 146.1

Those who would have clear minds to discern Satan's devices, must have their physical appetites under the control of reason and conscience. The moral and vigorous action of the higher powers of the mind are essential to the perfection of Christian character, and the strength or the weakness of the mind has very much to do with our usefulness in this world, and with our final salvation. Te 146.2

The ignorance that has prevailed in regard to God's law in our physical nature, is deplorable. Intemperance of any kind is a violation of the laws of our being. Imbecility is prevailing to a fearful extent. Sin is made attractive by the covering of light which Satan throws over it, and he is well pleased when he can hold the Christian world in their daily habits under the tyranny of custom, like the heathen, and allow appetite to govern them. Te 146.3

Strength of Body and Intellect Sacrificed—If men and women of intelligence have their moral powers benumbed through intemperance of any kind, they are, in many of their habits, elevated but little above the heathen. Satan is constantly drawing the people from saving light, to custom and fashion, irrespective of physical, mental, and moral health. The great enemy knows that if appetite and passion predominate, the health of body and strength of intellect are sacrificed upon the altar of self-gratification, and man is brought to speedy ruin. If enlightened intellect holds the reins, controlling the animal propensities and keeping them in subjection to the moral powers, Satan well knows that his power to overcome with his temptations is very small. Te 146.4

To Meet the Demands of Fashion—In our day, people talk of the dark ages, and boast of progress. But with this progress wickedness and crime do not decrease. We deplore the absence of natural simplicity, and the increase of artificial display. Health, strength, beauty, and long life, which were common in the so-called “Dark Ages,” are rare now. Nearly everything desirable is sacrificed to meet the demands of fashionable life. Te 147.1

A large share of the Christian world have no right to call themselves Christians. Their habits, their extravagance, and general treatment of their own bodies, are violations of physical law, and contrary to the Bible. They are working out for themselves, in their course of life, physical suffering, and mental and moral feebleness. Te 147.2

Through his devices, Satan, in many respects, has made the domestic life one of care and complicated burdens, in order to meet the demands of fashion. His purpose in doing this is to keep minds occupied so fully with the things of this life that they can give but little attention to their highest interest. Intemperance in eating and in dressing has so engrossed the minds of the Christian world that they do not take time to become intelligent in regard to the laws of their being, that they may obey them. To profess the name of Christ is of but little account if the life does not correspond with the will of God, revealed in His word.... Te 147.3

When Sanctification Is Impossible—A large proportion of all the infirmities that afflict the human family, are the results of their own wrong habits, because of their willing ignorance, or of their disregard of the light which God has given in relation to the laws of their being. It is not possible for us to glorify God while living in violation of the laws of life. The heart cannot possibly maintain consecration to God while the lustful appetite is indulged. A diseased body and disordered intellect, because of continual indulgence in hurtful lust, make sanctification of the body and spirit impossible. Te 147.4

The apostle understood the importance of the healthful conditions of the body for the successful perfection of Christian character. He says, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”—Redemption; or the Temptation of Christ, 57-62. Te 148.1

Habits, Tastes, and Inclinations to Be Educated—Nothing can be more offensive to God than to cripple or abuse the gifts lent us to be devoted to His service. It is written, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Te 148.2

In every important work, there are times of crisis, when there is great need that those connected with the work should have clear minds. There must be men who realize, as did the apostle Paul, the importance of practicing temperance in all things. There is work for us to do—stern, earnest work for our Master. All our habits, tastes, and inclinations must be educated in harmony with the laws of life and health. By this means we may secure the very best physical condition, and have mental clearness to discern between the evil and the good. Te 148.3

Intemperance of any kind benumbs the perceptive organs, and so weakens the brain nerve power that eternal things are not appreciated, but are placed on a level with common things. The higher powers of the mind, designed for noble purposes, are brought into slavery to the baser passions. If the physical habits are not right, the mental and moral powers cannot be strong; for great sympathy exists between the physical and the moral. The apostle Peter understood this, and raised his voice of warning: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Te 148.4

Higher Interests Imperiled—Thus the word of God plainly warns us that unless we abstain from fleshly lusts, the physical nature will be brought into conflict with the spiritual. Lustful indulgence wars against health and peace. A warfare is instituted between the higher and the lower attributes of the man. The lower propensities, strong and active, oppress the soul. The highest interests of the being are imperiled by the indulgence of unsanctified appetite.—The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1909. Te 149.1

A Lesson for Seventh-day Adventists—The case of Aaron's sons has been placed upon record for the benefit of God's people, and should teach those especially who are preparing for the second coming of Christ, that the indulgence of a depraved appetite destroys the fine feelings of the soul, and so affects the reasoning powers which God has given to man, that spiritual and holy things lose their sacredness. Disobedience looks pleasing, instead of exceeding sinful.—The Signs of the Times, July 8, 1880. Te 149.2

To Overcome Every Hurtful Practice—The principles of temperance are far-reaching; and there is danger that those who have received great light on this subject will fail to appreciate this light. God requires that His people living in these last days, overcome every hurtful practice, presenting their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Him, that they may win a seat at His right hand. Te 149.3

It is our duty to take ourselves in hand, and strive to bring our minds, our wills, and our tastes into conformity with the requirements of our Creator. The grace of God alone can enable us to do this: by its power our lives may be brought into harmony with right principles. We shall reap that which we sow, and only those who bring themselves into subjection to the will of God are truly wise.—Letter 69, 1896. Te 149.4

Controlled by Enlightened Conscience—If Christians would bring all their appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience, feeling it a duty they owe to God and to their neighbor to obey the laws which govern life and health, they would have the blessing of physical and mental vigor; they would have moral power to engage in the warfare against Satan; and in the name of Him who conquered in their behalf, they might be more than conquerors on their own account.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 39, 40. Te 150.1

Why Many Will Fall—We want our sisters who are now injuring themselves by wrong habits to put them away and come to the front and be workers in reform. The reason why many of us will fall in the time of trouble is because of laxity in temperance and indulgence of appetite. Te 150.2

Moses preached a great deal on this subject, and the reason the people did not go through to the promised land was because of repeated indulgence of appetite. Nine tenths of the wickedness among the children of today is caused by intemperance in eating and drinking. Adam and Eve lost Eden through the indulgence of appetite, and we can only regain it by the denial of the same.—The Review and Herald, October 21, 1884. Te 150.3

So Run That Ye May Obtain—There are precious victories to gain; and the victors in this contest against appetite and every worldly lust will receive a crown of life that fadeth not away, a blessed home in that city whose gates are of pearl and whose foundations are of precious stones. Is not this prize worth striving for? Is it not worth every effort that we can make? Then let us so run that we may obtain.—The Signs of the Times, September 1, 1887. Te 150.4