Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 64—Habits

Bible Gives Principles—The Word of God abounds in general principles for the formation of correct habits of living, and the testimonies, general and personal, have been calculated to call ... attention more especially to these principles.—Testimonies for the Church 5:663, 664 (1889). 2MCP 596.1

Like an Iron Net—Once formed, habit is like an iron net. You may struggle desperately against it, but it will not break. Your only safe course is to build for time and for eternity.—Letter 117, 1901. 2MCP 596.2

Rules of Habit—It is the duty of all to observe strict rules in their habits of life. This is for your own good, dear youth, both physically and morally. When you rise in the morning, take into consideration, as far as possible, the work you must accomplish during the day. If necessary, have a small book in which to jot down the things that need to be done, and set yourself a time in which to do your work.—The Youth's Instructor, January 28, 1897. (Evangelism, 562.) 2MCP 596.3

Regular Habits Improve Health—Our God is a God of order, and He desires that His children shall will to bring themselves into order and under His discipline. Would it not be better, therefore, to break up this habit of turning night into day and the fresh hours of the morning into night? If the youth would form habits of regularity and order, they would improve in health, in spirits, in memory, and in disposition.—The Youth's Instructor, January 28, 1897. 2MCP 596.4

Removing the Cause for Disease—Right and correct habits, intelligently and perseveringly practiced, will be removing the cause for disease, and the strong drugs need not be resorted to. Many go on from step to step with their unnatural indulgences, which is bringing in just as unnatural [a] condition of things as possible.—Manuscript 22, 1887. (Medical Ministry, 222). 2MCP 597.1

Proper Habits Foster Health—Health may be earned by proper habits of life and may be made to yield interest and compound interest. But this capital, more precious than any bank deposit, may be sacrificed by intemperance in eating and drinking or by leaving the organs to rust from inaction. Pet indulgences must be given up; laziness must be overcome.—Testimonies for the Church 4:408 (1880). 2MCP 597.2

Habits That Degrade Higher Faculties—Any habit which does not promote healthful action in the human system degrades the higher and nobler faculties. Wrong habits of eating and drinking lead to errors in thought and action.—The Review and Herald, January 25, 1881. (Counsels on Health, 67.) 2MCP 597.3

Overcoming Preestablished Habits—Preestablished habits and ideas must be overcome in many cases before we can make advancement in religious life.—The Review and Herald, June 21, 1887. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 118.) 2MCP 597.4

Wrong Habits Difficult to Unlearn (counsel to an executive)—It will be difficult now for you to make the changes in your character which God requires you to make, because it was difficult for you to be punctual and prompt of action in youth. When the character is formed, the habits fixed, and the mental and moral faculties have become firm, it is most difficult to unlearn wrong habits, to be prompt in action. 2MCP 597.5

You should realize the value of time. You are not excusable for leaving the most important, though unpleasant work, hoping to get rid of doing it altogether or thinking that it will become less unpleasant, while you occupy your time upon pleasant matters not really taxing. You should first do the work which must be done and which involves the vital interests of the cause, and only take up the less important matters after the more essential are accomplished. 2MCP 598.1

Punctuality and decision in the work and cause of God are highly essential. Delays are virtually defeats. Minutes are golden and should be improved to the very best account. Earthly relations and personal interests should ever be secondary. Never should the cause of God be left to suffer in a single particular because of our earthly friends or dearest relatives.—Testimonies for the Church 3:499, 500 (1875). 2MCP 598.2

Hereditary and Cultivated Tendencies Become Habits—The great hereditary and cultivated tendency to evil with Judas was covetousness. And by practice this became a habit which he carried into all his trading. Christlike principles of uprightness and justice had no room in selling and buying. His economical habits developed into a parsimonious spirit and became a fatal snare. Gain was his measurement of a correct religious experience, and all true righteousness became subordinate to this. While he continued a disciple in outward form, while in the very personal presence of Christ, he appropriated to himself means that belonged to the Lord's treasury.—Manuscript 28, 1897. 2MCP 598.3

Habits Decide the Future—It must be remembered that the youth are forming habits which will, in nine cases out of ten, decide their future. The influence of the company they keep, the associations they form, and the principles they adopt will be carried with them through life.—Testimonies for the Church 4:426 (1880). 2MCP 598.4

Bad Habits More Easily Formed Than Good Ones—Children are peculiarly susceptible to impressions; and the lessons which they receive in the early years they will carry with them through life. All the learning they may acquire will never undo the evil resulting from lax discipline in childhood. One neglect, often repeated, forms habit. One wrong act prepares the way for another. That act, repeated, forms habit. 2MCP 599.1

Bad habits are more easily formed than good ones, and are given up with more difficulty. It takes far less time and pains to spoil the disposition of a child than it does to imprint principles and habits of righteousness upon the tablets of the soul. It is only by constantly watching and counterworking the wrong that we can hope to make the disposition right. 2MCP 599.2

The Lord will be with you, mothers, as you try to form right habits in your children. But you must begin the training process early, or your future work will be very difficult. Teach them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Bear in mind that your children belong to God and are to become His sons and daughters. He designs that the families on earth shall be samples of the family in heaven.—The Review and Herald, December 5, 1899. 2MCP 599.3

Habits Seldom Changed—Repeated acts in a given course become habits. These may be modified by severe training, in afterlife, but are seldom changed.—Good Health, January, 1880. (Child Guidance, 199, 200.) 2MCP 599.4

Attacking Wrong Habits Does Little Good—It is of little use to try to reform others by attacking what we may regard as wrong habits. Such effort often results in more harm than good. 2MCP 599.5

In His talk with the Samaritan woman, instead of disparaging Jacob's well, Christ presented something better. “If thou knewest the gift of God,” He said, “and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water” (John 4:10). He turned the conversation to the treasure He had to bestow, offering the woman something better than she possessed, even living water, the joy and hope of the gospel.—The Ministry of Healing, 156, 157 (1905). 2MCP 600.1

Effort to Reform Comes From Desire to Do Right—It is true that men sometimes become ashamed of their sinful ways and give up some of their evil habits before they are conscious that they are being drawn to Christ. But whenever they make an effort to reform, from a sincere desire to do right, it is the power of Christ that is drawing them. An influence of which they are unconscious works upon the soul, and the conscience is quickened and the outward life is amended. And as Christ draws them to look upon His cross, to behold Him whom their sins have pierced, the commandment comes home to the conscience. The wickedness of their life, the deep-seated sin of the soul, is revealed to them. They begin to comprehend something of the righteousness of Christ and exclaim, “What is sin, that it should require such a sacrifice for the redemption of its victim? Was all this love, all this suffering, all this humiliation, demanded that we might not perish, but have everlasting life?”—Steps to Christ, 27 (1892). 2MCP 600.2

Evil Habits to Be Overcome—By beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are actually to be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. We expect too little, and we receive according to our faith. We are not to cling to our own ways, our own plans, our own ideas; we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Besetting sins are to be conquered and evil habits overcome. Wrong dispositions and feelings are to be rooted out and holy tempers and emotions begotten in us by the Spirit of God.—Letter 57, 1887. 2MCP 600.3

Bad habits, when opposed, will offer the most vigorous resistance; but if the warfare is kept up with energy and perseverance, they may be conquered.—Testimonies for the Church 4:655 (1881). 2MCP 601.1

Grace of Christ Breaks Bondage of Evil Habit—Men need to learn that the blessings of obedience, in their fullness, can be theirs only as they receive the grace of Christ. It is His grace that gives man power to obey the laws of God. It is this that enables him to break the bondage of evil habit. This is the only power that can make him and keep him steadfast in the right path.—The Ministry of Healing, 115 (1905). 2MCP 601.2

Through the power of Christ men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God.—The Acts of the Apostles, 476 (1911). 2MCP 601.3

Right Thoughts and Actions Can Become Habitual—The only security for any soul is in right thinking. As a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). The power of self-restraint strengthens by exercise. That which at first seems difficult, by constant repetition grows easy, and right thoughts and actions become habitual.—The Ministry of Healing, 491 (1905). 2MCP 601.4