Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 73—Right Thinking

[See chapter 88, “Negative Influences on the Mind.”]

Power of Thought a Gift From God—The mind is a trust from God. The powers of the mind are to be cultivated. They are to be so wisely used that they will increase in strength. Each one is to use his entrusted talents in a way that the greatest good will be done. The mind is to be educated that the best energies of the soul will be brought out and every faculty be developed. We must not be contented with a low standard. We are to move onward from one advanced line of work to another.—Letter 106, 1901. 2MCP 665.1

Mind to Be Trained—The mind is the best possession we have; but it must be trained by study, by reflection, by learning in the school of Christ, the best and truest educator the world has ever known. The Christian worker must grow. He must build up a character for usefulness; he must educate himself to endure hardness and to be wise to plan and execute in the work of God. He must be a man of pure mind and conversation—one who will abstain from every appearance of evil and give no occasion for reproach through his heedless ways. He must be truthful at heart; in his mouth there must be no guile.—The Review and Herald, January 6, 1885. 2MCP 665.2

He [Christ] died for me that I might be blessed and that His joy might remain in me. Therefore I keep my mind in that channel; I educate it; I train it; I train my tongue; I train my thoughts; I train all that there is of me that I may fasten it upon Jesus Christ.—Manuscript 36, 1891. 2MCP 666.1

Every faculty of the mind shows that God designed these faculties to be used, not to remain inactive.—Testimonies for the Church 4:411 (1880). 2MCP 666.2

Right Thinking Only Security—The only security for any soul is 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, until right thoughts and actions become habitual. If we will, we may turn away from all that is cheap and inferior and rise to a high standard; we may be respected by men and beloved of God.—The Ministry of Healing, 491 (1905). 2MCP 666.3

Christ-centered Thinking—Your last thought at night, your first thought in the morning, should be of Him in whom is centered your hope of eternal life.—Letter 19, 1895. (Our High Calling, 116.) 2MCP 666.4

Positiveness to Be Developed—The positiveness and energy, the solidity and strength of character manifested in Christ are to be developed in us through the same discipline that He endured. And the grace that He received is for us.—The Desire of Ages, 73 (1898). 2MCP 666.5

Effort Proportionate to Object of Pursuit—The thoughts must be centered upon God. We must put forth earnest effort to overcome the evil tendencies of the natural heart. Our efforts, our self-denial and perseverance, must be proportionate to the infinite value of the object of which we are in pursuit. Only by overcoming as Christ overcame shall we win the crown of life.—The Ministry of Healing, 455 (1905). 2MCP 666.6

Thinking for Yourself—If you allow another to do your thinking for you, you will have crippled energies and contracted abilities. There are many whose intellects are dwarfed because they confine them to dwell upon commonplace subjects. You should wrestle with problems of thought that require the exercise of the best powers of your mind.—The Review and Herald, April 16, 1889. 2MCP 667.1

Refinement of Heart Learned in Christ's School—Real refinement of thought and manner is better learned in the school of the Divine Teacher than by any observance of set rules. His love pervading the heart gives to the character those refining touches that fashion it in the semblance of His own. This education imparts a heaven-born dignity and sense of propriety. It gives a sweetness of disposition and a gentleness of manner that can never be equaled by the superficial polish of fashionable society.—Education, 241 (1903). 2MCP 667.2

Mental Discipline Required—The ability to fix the thoughts on the work in hand is a great blessing. God-fearing youth should strive to discharge their duties with thoughtful consideration, keeping the thoughts in the right channel and doing their best. They should recognize their present duties and fulfill them without allowing the mind to wander. This kind of mental discipline will be helpful and beneficial throughout life. Those who learn to put thought into everything they undertake, however small the work may appear, will be of use in the world.—The Youth's Instructor, August 20, 1903. (Messages to Young People, 149.) 2MCP 667.3

Relation of Ideas One to Another—Some minds are more like an old curiosity shop than anything else. Many odd bits and ends of truth have been picked up and stored away there; but they know not how to present them in a clear, connected manner. It is the relation that these ideas have to one another that gives them value. Every idea and statement should be as closely united as the links in a chain. When a minister throws out a mass of matter before the people for them to pick up and arrange in order, his labors are lost, for there are few who will do it.—The Review and Herald, April 6, 1886. (Evangelism, 648, 649.) 2MCP 667.4

Why the Mind Takes a Low Level—If the human mind takes a low level, it is generally because it is left to deal with commonplace facts and not called out and exercised to grasp lofty, elevated truths, which are enduring as eternity. These literary societies and lyceums are almost universally exerting an influence entirely contrary to that which they claim, and are an injury to the youth. This need not be the case, but because unsanctified elements take the lead, because worldlings want matters to go to please themselves, their hearts are not in harmony with Jesus Christ. They are in the ranks of the Lord's enemies, and they will not be pleased with that kind of entertainment which would strengthen and confirm the members of the society in spirituality. Low, cheap matters are brought in which are not elevating or instructive but which only amuse.—Manuscript 41, 1900. 2MCP 668.1

Dwelling on Unimportant Matters—During the waking hours the mind will be constantly employed. If it dwells upon unimportant matters, the intellect is dwarfed and weakened. There may be some spasmodic flashes of thought; but the mind is not disciplined to steady, sober reflection. There are themes that demand serious consideration.... By dwelling upon these themes of eternal interest, the mind is strengthened and the character developed.—The Review and Herald, June 10, 1884. 2MCP 668.2

Thoughts Indelibly Imprint the Soul—Abstain from all evil. Common sins, however insignificant they may be regarded, will impair your moral sense and extinguish the inward impression of the Spirit of God. The character of the thoughts leaves its imprint upon the soul, and all low conversation pollutes the mind. All evil works ruin to those who commit it. God may and will forgive the repenting sinner, but though forgiven, the soul is marred; the power of the elevated thought, possible to the unimpaired mind, is destroyed. Through all time the soul bears the scars. Then let us seek for that faith which works by love and purifies the heart that we may represent the character of Christ to the world.—The Review and Herald, December 8, 1891. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 195.) 2MCP 668.3

Surrounding the Soul by a Pure Atmosphere—None are to be forward or obtrusive, but we are quietly to live out our religion, with an eye single to the glory of God.... Then we shall shine as lights in the world, without noise or friction. None need fail, for One is with them who is wise in counsel, excellent in working, and mighty to accomplish His designs. He works through His agents, seen and unseen, human and divine. This work is a grand work and will be carried forward to the glory of God, if all who are connected with it will make their works correspond to their profession of faith. Purity of thought must be cherished as indispensable to the work of influencing others. The soul must be surrounded by a pure, holy atmosphere, an atmosphere that will tend to quicken the spiritual life of all who inhale it.—Letter 74, 1896. (Sons and Daughters of God, 316.) 2MCP 669.1

Every Energy to Be Exercised (counsel to a young woman)—The life of the soul cannot be sustained unless it is brought into subjection to the will of God. Every energy is to be exercised in doing the divine will. Our thoughts, if stayed upon God, will be guided by divine love and power. Then, my dear child, live on the words that proceed from the lips of Christ. May the Lord strengthen and bless and guide you. Press forward and believe that if you ask, you will receive.—Letter 339, 1905. 2MCP 669.2

Christ Changes Thoughts—Christ came to change the current of his [man's] thoughts and affections.—Testimonies for the Church 1:196 (1859). 2MCP 670.1

As the Flower Turns to the Sun—Let the soul be drawn out and upward that God may grant us a breath of the heavenly atmosphere. We may keep so near to God that in every unexpected trial our thoughts will turn to Him as naturally as the flower turns to the sun.—Steps to Christ, 99, 100 (1892). 2MCP 670.2

Transformation Begins With Thoughts—The words “A new heart also will I give you” (Ezekiel 36:26) mean, “A new mind will I give you.” This change of heart is always attended by a clear conception of Christian duty, an understanding of truth. The clearness of our view of truth will be proportionate to our understanding of the Word of God.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 452 (1913). 2MCP 670.3

We want the transforming grace of God to take right hold of our thinking powers. We may think evil, we may continue to keep our minds upon objectionable things, but what does this do for us? It conforms our entire experience to that which we are looking upon. But by beholding Jesus we become changed into His likeness. The servant of the living God sees to some purpose. The eyes are sanctified, and the ears are sanctified, and those who will close their eyes and ears to evil will become changed.—Manuscript 17, 1894. 2MCP 670.4