Health and Happiness

And why should not men do these things if the law forbidding them is abolished? No message from earth or heaven can forcibly impress the intemperate and the licentious who are deluded with the theory that the law of ten commandments is abolished. Many professed ministers of Christ exhort the people to holiness of life while they themselves yield to the power of appetite and the defilement of tobacco. These teachers, who are leading the people to despise physical and moral law, will have a fearful record to meet by and by. Con 76.1

Health, truth, and happiness can never be advanced without an intelligent knowledge of, and full obedience to, the law of God and perfect faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord uses no other medium through which to reach the human heart. Many professed Christians acknowledge that in the use of tobacco they are indulging a filthy, expensive, and hurtful practice. But they excuse themselves by saying that the habit is formed and they cannot overcome it. In this acknowledgment they yield homage to Satan, saying by their actions, if not in words, that, although God is powerful, Satan has greater power. By profession they say, We are the servants of Jesus Christ, while their works say that they yield subjection to Satan's sway because it costs them the least inconvenience. Is this overcoming as Christ overcame? Or is it being overcome by temptation? And the above apology is urged by men in the ministry, who profess to be Christ's ambassadors. Con 76.2

Many are the temptations and besetments on every side to ruin the prospects of young men, both for this world and the next. But the only path of safety is for young and old to live in strict conformity to the principles of physical and moral law. The path of obedience is the only path that leads to heaven. Alcohol and tobacco inebriates would, at times, give any amount of money if they could by so doing overcome their appetite for these body-and-soul-destroying indulgences. And they who will not subject the appetites and passions to the control of reason will indulge them at the expense of physical and moral obligations. Con 76.3

The victims of a depraved appetite, goaded on by Satan's continual temptations, will seek indulgence at the expense of health and even life, and will go to the bar of God as self-murderers. Many have so long allowed habit to master them that they have become slaves to appetite. They have not the moral courage to persevere in self-denial, and to endure suffering for a time through restraint and denial of the taste, in order to master the vice. This class refuse to overcome as did their Redeemer. Did not Christ endure physical suffering and mental anguish on man's account in the wilderness? Con 77.1

Many have so long allowed appetite and taste to control reason that they have not moral power to persevere in self-denial and endure suffering for a time, until abused nature can take up her work and healthy action be established in the system. Very many with perverted tastes shrink at the thought of restricting their diet, and they continue their unhealthful indulgences. They are not willing to overcome as did their Redeemer. Con 77.2

What a scene of unexampled suffering was that fast of nearly six weeks, while Jesus was assailed with the fiercest temptations! How few can understand the love of God for the fallen race in that He withheld not His divine Son from taking upon Him the humiliation of humanity. He gave up His dearly beloved to shame and agony, that He might bring many sons and daughters to glory. Con 77.3

When sinful man can discern the inexpressible love of God in giving His Son to die upon the cross, we shall better understand that it is infinite gain to overcome as Christ overcame. And we shall understand that it is eternal loss if we gain the whole world, with all its pleasure and glory, and yet lose the soul. Heaven is cheap enough at any cost. Con 78.1

On Jordan's banks the voice from heaven, attended by the manifestation from the excellent glory, proclaimed Christ to be the Son of the Eternal. Satan was to personally encounter the Head of the kingdom which he came to overthrow. If he failed he knew that he was lost. Therefore the power of his temptations was in accordance with the greatness of the object which he would lose or gain. For four thousand years, ever since the declaration was made to Adam that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, he had been planning his manner of attack. Con 78.2

He put forth his strongest efforts to overcome Christ on the point of appetite, who endured the keenest pangs of hunger. The victory gained was designed, not only to set an example to those who have fallen under the power of appetite but to qualify the Redeemer for His special work of reaching to the very depths of human woe. By experiencing in Himself the strength of Satan's temptation, and of human sufferings and infirmities, He would know how to succor those who should put forth efforts to help themselves. Con 78.3

No amount of money can buy a single victory over the temptations of Satan. But that which money is valueless to obtain, which is integrity, determined effort, and moral power, will, through the name of Christ, obtain noble victories upon the point of appetite. What if the conflict should cost man even his life? What if the slaves to these vices do really die in the struggle to free themselves from the controlling power of appetite? They die in a good cause. And if the victory be gained at the cost of human life, it is not too dearly earned if the victor can come up in the first resurrection, and have the overcomer's reward. Con 78.4

Everything, then, is gained. But life will not be sacrificed in the struggle to overcome depraved appetites. And it is a certainty that unless we do overcome as Christ overcame we cannot have a seat with Him upon His throne. Those who in the face of light and truth destroy mental, moral, and physical health by indulgence of any kind will lose heaven. They sacrifice their God-given powers to idols. God deserves and claims our first and loftiest thoughts, and our holiest affections. Con 79.1

At an infinite cost Christ our Redeemer has purchased every faculty and our very existence, and all our blessings in life have been purchased for us with the price of His blood. Shall we accept the blessings, and forget the claims of the Giver? Can any of us consent to follow our inclination, indulge appetites and passions, and live without God? Shall we eat and drink like the beast, and no more associate the thought of God with every good we enjoy than the dumb animals? Con 79.2

Those who make determined efforts in the name of the Conqueror to overcome every unnatural craving of appetite will not die in the conflict. In their efforts to control appetite they are placing themselves in right relation to life, so that they may enjoy health and the favor of God and have a right hold on the immortal life. Con 79.3

Thousands are continually selling physical, mental, and moral vigor for the pleasure of taste. Each of the faculties has its distinctive office, and yet they all have a mutual dependence upon each other. And if the balance is carefully preserved they will be kept in harmonious action. Not one of these faculties can be valued by dollars and cents. And yet, for a good dinner, for alcohol, or tobacco, they are sold. And while paralyzed by the indulgence of appetite, Satan controls the mind and leads to every species of crime and wickedness. God has enjoined upon us to preserve every faculty in healthful vigor, that we may have a clear sense of His requirements, and that we may perfect holiness in His fear. Con 79.4