Health is a blessing of which few appreciate the value; yet upon it the efficiency of our mental and physical powers largely depends. Our impulses and passions have their seat in the body, and it must be kept in the best condition physically and under the most spiritual influences in order that our talents may be put to the highest use. Anything that lessens physical strength enfeebles the mind, and makes it less capable of discriminating between right and wrong.
The misuse of our physical powers shortens our lives. By allowing ourselves to form wrong habits, by keeping late hours, by gratifying appetite at the expense of health, we lay the foundation for feebleness. . . .
Those who thus shorten their lives and unfit themselves for service by disregarding nature’s laws, are guilty of robbery toward God. And they are robbing their fellow men also. The opportunity of blessing others, the very work we have to do has by our own course of action been cut short. What we have to accomplish in short time we are not able to accomplish. By our injurious habits we deprive the world of good.
We indulge appetite, regardless of the result. The indulgence to appetite impairs our faculties. The brain is the capital of the body. If the perceptive faculties become benumbed through intemperance of any kind, we cannot discern properly.
Those who have clear minds to discern must have their physical appetites under the control of reason and conscience. The moral and vigorous action of the higher powers of the mind are essential to the perfection of character. And the strength or the weakness of the mind has very much to do with our usefulness in this world. The ignorance that has prevailed in regard to law in our physical nature is deplorable. Intemperance of any kind is a violation of the laws of our being. Appetite and passion predominate, health of body and strength of intellect are sacrificed upon the altar of self-gratification, and man is brought to speedy ruin. If enlightened intellect holds the reins, controlling the animal propensities, keeping them in subjection to the moral powers, we can easily overcome the temptations.
Our habits, our extravagance, and general treatment of our own bodies, are in violation of physical law and we are working out for ourselves, in our course of life, physical suffering, mental and moral feebleness.
The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will. Men and women must be awakened to the duty of self-mastery, the need of purity, freedom from every depraving appetite and defiling habit. They need to be impressed with the fact that all their powers of mind and body are the gift of God, and are to be preserved in the best possible condition.
Effect of Physical Habits on the Mind
The youth of today are surrounded with allurements to self-indulgence. Especially in large cities, every form of sensual gratification is made easy and inviting. Those who refuse to defile themselves, will reap the reward of temperate habits. With their greater physical stamina and increased power of endurance, they have a bank of deposit upon which to draw in case of emergency.
Right physical habits promote mental superiority. Intellectual power, physical stamina, and length of life depend upon immutable laws. He who strives for the mastery must be temperate in all things. Clearness of mind and firmness of purpose, power in acquiring knowledge and in resisting temptation, are due in a great degree to the plainness of diet.
Shaping Our Own Destiny
There is much sterling in the adage, “Every man is the architect of his own fortune.” While parents are responsible for the stamp of character, as well as for the education and training, of their sons and daughters, it is still true that our position and usefulness in the world depend, to a great degree, upon our own course of action.
Temperance Richly Rewarded
A pure heart and a strong, fearless hand are wanted in the world today. We are designed that man should be constantly improving, daily reaching a higher point in the scale of excellence. At every point we should be guarded against the first approach to intemperance.
Strive for purity of tastes, appetite, and habits and God will reward you with calm nerves, a clear brain, an unimpaired judgment, keen perceptions. The youth of today whose principles are firm and unwavering will be blessed with health of body, mind, and soul.
-By Ellen G. White