Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene


Chapter 18—Hope for the Tempted

In order to reach excellency of character, we must realize the value which Christ has placed upon the human race. In the beginning, man was invested with dignity; but he fell through indulgence of appetite. Notwithstanding the great gulf thus opened between God and man, Christ loved the hopeless sinner, and came to our world to bridge the gulf, and unite divine power to human weakness, that in his strength and grace man might wrestle for himself against Satan's temptations, overcome for himself, and stand in his God-given manhood, a victor over perverted appetite and degrading passions. The last words of David to Solomon, then a young man and soon to be honored with the throne of Israel, were, “Be thou strong, ... and show thyself a man.” [1 Kings 2:2.] To the weak and tempted one I address the same, “Show thyself a man.” I point you to the cross of Calvary. I bid you in the name of Jesus, Look and live. Destroy not yourself. With God's blessing it is possible for you to gain the ascendency over appetite and debasing passion. CTBH 146.1

God has made man capable of constant progress in everything that constitutes mental and moral dignity. No other creature of his hand is capable of such advancement. Man can reach an eminence in self-control and dignity that will raise him above the slavery of appetite and passion, where he can stand before God as a man, his name written in the books of heaven. CTBH 146.2

Let the light of truth shine into the mind of a man, let the love of God be shed abroad in his heart, and we can hardly conceive what he may be or what God can do through him. Though a fallen son of Adam, he may, through the merits of Christ, be an heir of immortality, his thoughts elevated and ennobled, his heart purified, and his conversation in heaven. Think, O, think of the superiority of an intelligent Christian man over a poor votary of sin! Note the difference between man blinded by sin, the victim of his own evil passions, and sunk in vice, and a man reclaimed by the truth of God's word, ennobled by looking to Jesus and believing in him, and becoming a partaker of the divine nature. CTBH 146.3

Look at the condition of the men who give themselves up to intemperance. Littleness, earthliness, degradation, mark their entire character. This is the result of their evil course. They have been walking in the way of their own heart, and in the sight of their own eyes, and are filled with their own devices. Their wretched homes are a hell, made so by themselves. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” [Galatians 6:7.] Shall these men charm you? Would you sink into ignorance and debasement, and become besotted, like them? Shall the habits and practices of these debased creatures, who bear scarcely a trace of the moral image of God, be your pattern? Is not the picture of their degraded condition enough to make you shun the first step in the same direction? Would you desire to be shut out of heaven with such company? CTBH 147.1

Let me say to him who is struggling to overcome, God presents before you a strong hope, that you may lay hold on eternal life. Lose no opportunity of becoming a man. When you look at yourself, and realize the strength of temptation, you feel so weak in moral power that you say, “I cannot resist.” I tell you, you can resist, you must resist temptation. Although you may have been overcome, although moral debasement may have marked your course, it need not always be thus. Jesus is your helper. In his strength you can overcome the beguiling power of appetite. Summon will-power to your aid. CTBH 147.2

The will is the governing power in the nature of man. If the will is set right, all the rest of the being will come under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the choice, the deciding power, the kingly power, which works in the children of men unto obedience to God or to disobedience. CTBH 147.3

You will be in constant peril until you understand the true force of the will. You may believe and promise all things, but your promises and your faith are of no account until you put your will on the right side. If you will fight the fight of faith with your will-power, there is no doubt that you will conquer. CTBH 148.1

Your part is to put your will on the side of Christ. When you yield your will to his, he immediately takes possession of you, and works in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. Your nature is brought under the control of his Spirit. Even your thoughts are subject to him. If you cannot control your impulses, your emotions, as you may desire, you can control the will, and thus an entire change will be wrought in your life. When you yield up your will to Christ, your life is hid with Christ in God. It is allied to the power which is above all principalities and powers. You have a strength from God that holds you fast to his strength; and a new life, even the life of faith, is possible to you. CTBH 148.2

You can never be successful in elevating yourself, unless your will is on the side of Christ, co-operating with the Spirit of God. Do not feel that you cannot; but say, “I can, I will.” And God has pledged his Holy Spirit to help you in every decided effort. CTBH 148.3

Every one of us may know that there is a power working with our efforts to overcome. Why will not men lay hold upon the help that has been provided, that they may become elevated and ennobled? Why do they degrade themselves by the indulgence of perverted appetite? Why do they not rise in the strength of Jesus, and be victorious in his name? The very feeblest prayer that we can offer, Jesus will hear. He pities the weakness of every soul. Help for every one has been laid upon Him who is mighty to save. I point you to Jesus Christ, the sinner's Saviour, who alone can give you power to overcome on every point. CTBH 148.4

Heaven is worth everything to us. We must not run any risk in this matter. We must take no venture here. We must know that our steps are ordered by the Lord. May God help us in the great work of overcoming. He has crowns for those that overcome. He has white robes for the righteous. He has an eternal world of glory for those who seek for glory, honor, and immortality. Every one who enters the city of God will enter it as a conqueror. He will not enter it as a condemned criminal, but as a son of God. And the welcome given to every one who enters there will be, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” [Matthew 25:34.] CTBH 149.1

Gladly would I speak words that would aid such trembling souls to fasten their grasp by faith upon the mighty Helper, that they might develop a character upon which God will be pleased to look. Heaven may invite them, and present its choicest blessings, and they may have every facility to develop a perfect character; but all will be in vain unless they are willing to help themselves. They must put forth their own God-given powers, or they will sink lower and lower, and be of no account for good, either in time or in eternity. CTBH 149.2

One who is weakened, and even degraded by sinful indulgence, may become a son of God. It is in his power to be constantly doing good to others, and helping them to overcome temptation; and in so doing he will reap benefit to himself. He may be a bright and shining light in the world, and at last hear the benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” from the lips of the King of Glory. CTBH 149.3