Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 45—Individuality

Individuality a Power—Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator—individuality, power to think and to do. The men in whom this power is developed are the men who bear responsibilities, who are leaders in enterprises, and who influence character.—Education, 17 (1903). 2MCP 423.1

Each Has a Distinct Individuality—The gospel deals with individuals. Every human being has a soul to save or to lose. Each has an individuality separate and distinct from all others. Each must be convicted for himself, converted for himself. He must receive the truth, repent, believe, and obey for himself. He must exercise his will for himself. No one can do this work by proxy. No one can submerge his individuality in another's. Each must surrender to God by his own act and the mystery of godliness.—Manuscript 28, 1898. 2MCP 423.2

Unity in Diversity—It is the Lord's plan that there shall be unity in diversity. There is no man who can be a criterion for all other men. Our varied trusts are proportioned to our varied capabilities. I have been distinctly instructed that God endows men with different degrees of capability and then places them where they can do the work for which they are fitted. Each worker is to give his fellow workers the respect that he wishes to have shown to himself.—Letter 111, 1903. 2MCP 423.3

The Minds of Men Differ—Why do we need a Matthew, a Mark, a Luke, a John, a Paul, and all these other writers who have borne their testimony in regard to the life of the Saviour during His earthly ministry? Why could not one of the disciples have written a complete record, and thus have given us a connected account of Christ's life and work? 2MCP 424.1

The Gospels differ, yet in them the record blends in one harmonious whole. One writer brings in points that another does not bring in. If these points are essential, why did not all the writers mention them? It is because the minds of men differ and do not comprehend things in exactly the same way. Some truths appeal much more strongly to the minds of one class of persons than to others; some points appear to be much more important to some than to others. The same principle applies to speakers. Some speakers dwell at considerable lengths on points that others would pass by quickly or would not mention at all. Thus the truth is presented more clearly by several than by one.—Manuscript 87, 1907. 2MCP 424.2

Individuality Not to Be Destroyed—The Lord does not desire that our individuality shall be destroyed; it is not His purpose that any two persons shall be exactly alike in tastes and dispositions. All have characteristics peculiar to themselves, and these are not to be destroyed, but to be trained, molded, fashioned, after the similitude of Christ. The Lord turns the natural aptitudes and capabilities into profitable channels. In the improvement of the faculties God has given, talent and ability are developed if the human agent will recognize the fact that all his powers are an endowment from God, to be used, not for selfish purposes, but for the glory of God and the good of our fellowmen.—Letter 20, 1894. (Our High Calling, 90.) 2MCP 424.3

Every Child to Have Individuality—A child may be so disciplined as to have, like the beast, no will of its own, his individuality being lost in that of his teacher. As far as possible every child should be trained to self-reliance. By calling into exercise the various faculties, he will learn where he is strongest and in what he is deficient. A wise instructor will give special attention to the development of the weaker traits, that the child may form a well-balanced, harmonious character.—The Review and Herald, January 10, 1882. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 57.) 2MCP 425.1

Marriage Does Not Destroy Individuality—Neither the husband nor the wife should attempt to exercise over the other an arbitrary control. Do not try to compel each other to yield to your wishes. You cannot do this and retain each other's love. Be kind, patient, and forbearing, considerate, and courteous. By the grace of God you can succeed in making each other happy, as in your marriage vow you promised to do.—The Ministry of Healing, 361 (1905). 2MCP 425.2

Husband and Wife to Preserve Individuality (counsel to newlyweds)—In your life union your affections are to be tributary to each other's happiness. Each is to minister to the happiness of the other. This is the will of God concerning you. 2MCP 425.3

But while you are to blend as one, neither of you is to lose his or her individuality in the other. God is the owner of your individuality. Of Him you are to ask: What is right? What is wrong? How may I best fulfill the purpose of my creation? “Know ye not that ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). 2MCP 425.4

Your love for that which is human is to be secondary to your love for God. The wealth of your affection is to flow forth to Him who gave His life for you. Living for God, the soul sends forth to Him its best and highest affections. Is the greatest outflow of your love toward Him who died for you? If it is, your love for each other will be after heaven's order.—Testimonies for the Church 7:45, 46 (1902). 2MCP 425.5

We have an individuality of our own, and the wife's individuality is never to be sunk into that of her husband.—Manuscript 12, 1895. 2MCP 426.1

Consecration Beautifies Individuality—A life consecrated to the service of God will be developed and beautified in its individuality. No person can sink his individuality in that of another, but we are all, as individuals, to be grafted into the one parent stock, and there is to be unity in diversity. The great Master Artist has not made two leaves of the same tree precisely alike; so His creative power does not give to all minds the same likeness. They are created to live through ceaseless ages, and there is to be complete unity, mind blending with mind; but no two are to be of the same mold.—Manuscript 116, 1898. 2MCP 426.2

God Gives to Each an Individual Work—Things in the natural world are to be considered and their lesson applied to the spiritual life, the spiritual growth. To every man God—not man—has given his work. This is an individual work—the formation of a character after the divine similitude. The lily is not to strive to be like the rose. There are distinctions in the formation of the flowers and in the fruits, but all derive their peculiar variance from God. All are the Lord's. So it is God's design that even the best of men shall not all be of the same character.—Manuscript 116, 1898. 2MCP 426.3

Respect Each Other—We each have a work to do. We may be of different nationalities, but we are to be one in Christ. If we allow peculiarities of character and disposition to separate us here, how can we hope to live together in heaven? We are to cherish love and respect for one another. There is to be among us the unity for which Christ prayed. We have been bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits.—Manuscript 20, 1905. 2MCP 426.4

Utter Failure When Copying Others—The man who seeks to pattern after any man's character will make an utter failure. Each person is to look to God for himself, to trade with conscientious fidelity upon the talents God has given him. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12, 13). It is in you, brother, in you; not in another for you. You are to have an individual experience. Then you will have rejoicing in yourself, and not in another.—Manuscript 116, 1898. 2MCP 427.1

Each Mind Has Its Peculiar Strength—I am pained to see the little value placed upon men whom the Lord has used and whom He will use. God forbid that every man's mind shall follow in the channel of another man's mind. One man's mind may be, by some, exalted as being in every degree superior, but every mind has its peculiar weakness and its peculiar strength. One man's mind will supply another man's deficiency. But if all work in the one harness and are given encouragement to look, not to men to know their duty, but to God, they will develop under the Holy Spirit's guidance, and will work in unity with their brethren. One will supply another's lack.—Letter 50, 1897. 2MCP 427.2

Not to Shape Other Minds—God has given to every man an individual responsibility. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Man is not to work out any other man's salvation. He is not to become the transcript of any man's mind. He is required to act in his capacity according to the ability God has given him. No man, whatever his experience, whatever his position, is to feel that he accomplishes a wonderful work when he fashions and shapes the mind of any human being after his own mind and teaches him to voice the sentiments he may express. This has been done again and again to the detriment of human beings.—Manuscript 116, 1898. 2MCP 427.3

Not to Be a Shadow of Others [See chapter 29, “Dependence and Independence.”]—Oh, how much the workers need the spirit of Jesus to change and fashion them as clay is molded in the hands of the potter! When they have this spirit, there will be no spirit of variance among them; no one will be so narrow as to want everything done his way, according to his ideas; there will be no inharmonious feeling between him and his brother laborers who do not come up to his standard. The Lord does not want any of His children to be shadows of others; but He would have each one be his own simple self, refined, sanctified, ennobled by imitating the life and character of the great Pattern. The narrow, shut-in, exclusive spirit which keeps everything within the compass of one's self has been a curse to the cause of God and always will be wherever allowed to exist.—The Review and Herald, April 13, 1886. 2MCP 428.1

No One to Submerge His Mind—God permits every human being to exercise his individuality. He desires no one to submerge his mind in the mind of a fellow mortal. Those who desire to be transformed in mind and character are not to look to men, but to the divine Example. God gives the invitation, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” By conversion and transformation men are to receive the mind of Christ. Every one is to stand before God with an individual faith, an individual experience, knowing for himself that Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. For us to imitate the example of any man—even one whom we might regard as nearly perfect in character—would be to put our trust in a defective human being, one who is unable to impart a jot or tittle of perfection.—The Signs of the Times, September 3, 1902. 2MCP 428.2

Rules for Strong Minds—It is well for Brother and Sister _____ and Brother and Sister _____ to have strong minds. Each is to maintain his individuality. Each is to preserve an individuality that will not be submerged in the individuality of another. No human being is to be the shadow of another human being. God's servants are to labor together in a unity that blends mind with mind.—Letter 44, 1903. 2MCP 429.1

Individual Measurement—No man can grow up to the full stature of a man for another. Each must reach his own individual measurement for himself. Each is to grow up under God's supervision.—Manuscript 116, 1898. 2MCP 429.2

No Other Human Being Fully Shares Inner Life—Viewed from its human side, life is to all an untried path. It is a path in which, as regards our deeper experiences, we each walk alone. Into our inner life no other human being can fully enter. As the little child sets forth on that journey in which sooner or later he must choose his own course, himself deciding life's issues for eternity, how earnest should be the effort to direct his trust to the sure Guide and Helper!—Education, 255 (1903). 2MCP 429.3

Character Is Personal—Character is personal. We each have a work to do for time and for eternity. God abhors indifference in regard to the formation of character.—Letter 223, 1903. 2MCP 429.4

Recognizing Man's Rights—One of the very highest applications of these principles [recognition of personal responsibilities] is found in the recognition of man's right to himself, to the control of his own mind, to the stewardship of his talents, the right to receive and to impart the fruit of his own labor. Strength and power will be in our institutions only as in all their connection with their fellowmen they recognize these principles—only as in their dealing they give heed to the instruction of the Word of God.—Testimonies for the Church 7:180 (1902). 2MCP 429.5

Dependent Upon Christ—Each soul has an individuality. Each soul must live in hourly communion with Christ; for He says, “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). His principles are to be our principles; for these principles are the everlasting truth, proclaimed in righteousness, goodness, mercy, and love.—Letter 21, 1901. 2MCP 430.1

Individuality in Christian Experience to Be Preserved—Teach every soul to lean heavily on the arm of infinite power. There is an individuality in Christian experience that must be preserved in every human agent, and the responsibility cannot be removed from any soul. Each one has his own battles to fight, his own Christian experience to gain, independent in some respects from any other soul; and God has lessons for each to gain for himself that no other can gain for him.—Manuscript 6, 1889. 2MCP 430.2