Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

January 5, 1893

Words to the Young

In perfecting a Christian character, it is essential to persevere in right-doing. I would impress upon our youth the importance of perseverance and energy in the work of character-building. From the earliest years it is necessary to weave into the character principles of stern integrity, that the youth may reach the highest standard of manhood and womanhood. They should ever keep the fact before their eyes that they have been bought with a price, and should glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are his. The youth should seriously consider what shall be their purpose and life work, and lay the foundation in such a way that their habits shall be free from all taint of corruption. If they would stand in a position where they shall influence others, they must be self-reliant. The lily on the lake strikes its roots down deep beneath the surface of rubbish and slime, and through its porous stem draws those properties that will aid its development, and bring to light its spotless blossom to repose in purity on the bosom of the lake. It refuses all that would tarnish and mar its spotless beauty.

We may learn a lesson from the lily, and although surrounded with influences that would tend to corrupt the morals, and bring ruin upon the soul, we may refuse to be corrupted, and place ourselves where evil association shall not corrupt our hearts. Individually the youth should seek for association with those who are toiling upward with unfaltering steps. They should shun the society of those who are absorbing every evil influence, who are inactive and without earnest desire for attainment of a high standard of character, who cannot be relied upon as persons who will be true to principle. Let the youth be found in association with those who fear and love God; for these noble, firm characters are represented by the lily that opens its pure blossom on the bosom of the lake. They refuse to be molded by the influences that would demoralize, and gather to themselves only that which will aid the development of a pure and noble character. They are seeking to be conformed to the divine model.

If you will follow that which is good, you will cultivate moral qualities that will make you a blessing to others through all your life; for you will incite in them a desire to become noble and Christlike. It is the work of the youth to make advancement day by day. Peter says, “Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” All these successive steps are not to be kept before the mind's eye, and counted as you start; but fixing the eye upon Jesus, with an eye single to the glory of God, you will make advancement. You cannot reach the full measure of the stature of Christ in a day, and you would sink in despair could you behold all the difficulties that must be met and overcome. You have Satan to contend with, and he will seek by every possible device to attract your mind from Christ. But we must meet all obstacles placed in our way, and overcome them one at a time. If we overcome the first difficulty, we shall be stronger to meet the next, and at every effort will become better able to make advancement. By looking to Jesus, we may be overcomers. It is by fastening our eyes on the difficulties and shrinking from earnest battle for the right, that we become weak and faithless.

By taking one step after another, the highest ascent may be climbed, and the summit of the mount may be reached at last. Do not become overwhelmed with the great amount of work you must do in your lifetime, for you are not required to do it all at once. Let every power of your being go to each day's work, improve each precious opportunity, appreciate the helps that God gives you, and make advancement up the ladder of progress step by step. Remember that you are to live but one day at a time, that God has given you one day, and heavenly records will show how you have valued its privileges and opportunities. May you so improve every day given you of God, that at last you may hear the Master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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