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Manuscript Releases, vol. 14 [Nos. 1081-1135] - Contents
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    The Dangers of Indulging Appetite

    Every Christian should understand that there is a decided warfare going on between the chosen people of God and the powers of darkness. When men are content to live merely for this world, the inclination of the heart unites with the suggestions of the enemy, and his bidding is done. But when they seek to leave the black banner of the power of darkness, and range themselves under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, the struggle begins, and the warfare is carried on in the sight of the universe of heaven.14MR 294.1

    Everyone who fights on the side of right, must fight hand to hand with the enemy. He must put on the whole armor of God, that he may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.14MR 294.2

    Our foes are within and without. We are assailed by temptations which are numerous and deceiving, the more perilous because not always clearly discerned. Often Satan conquers us by our natural inclinations and appetites. These were divinely appointed, and when given to man, were pure and holy. It was God's design that reason should rule the appetites, and that they should minister to our happiness. And when they are regulated and controlled by a sanctified reason, they are holiness unto the Lord.14MR 294.3

    But men's natural appetites have been perverted by indulgence. Through unholy gratification they have become “fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Unless the Christian watches unto prayer, he gives loose reign to habits which should be overcome. Unless he feels the need of constant watching, ceaseless vigilance, his inclinations, abused and misguided, will be the means of his backsliding from God.14MR 295.1

    Jesus Christ gave His life in order to save us, soul and body. He desires to restore the moral image of God in man. In order that this may be accomplished, we must cooperate with Him. The very flesh of our bodies must be consecrated to His service. But can this be done while we place in our stomachs food which will strengthen feelings that war against holiness and happiness and purity?14MR 295.2

    A healthy experience demands growth, and growth demands that careful attention be paid to the laws of nature, that the organs of the body may be kept in a sound state, untrammeled in their action. There is great need that temperance in all things be taught and practiced. Tobacco and liquors of all kinds becloud man's reason and place him below the brute creation. These things must be strictly avoided. And only food of the most wholesome character should be used; for we are built up from the food we eat. That which we place in the stomach becomes flesh and blood, and we can make our blood impure by eating meat and other injurious articles.14MR 295.3

    God has given great light in regard to the subject of health reform, and important changes have been made by many. Wrong habits have been conscientiously corrected; injurious practices and customs have been given up. Light which God has given has been received and acted upon, and lessons which are right to the point have been given.14MR 295.4

    The Word of God is clear in regard to these things. It tells us that our appetites must be closely guarded, and that by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man our minds are to be kept pure and free to do His will. Among the workers in _____ there were some who saw the importance of these things, who were God-fearing, temperate, and economical. As these men saw the disposition to gratify appetite, and the selfishness which it revealed, they felt fearful for the progress of the work. Their faith was dampened. Brother _____ labored to bring in health reform, but the example of Brother _____ was in harmony with those who had just embraced the truth, and who had not received the light in regard to healthful living. Thus the work of Brother _____ was made hard by those who ought to have been converted by the light which God has given on this point.14MR 296.1

    Brother _____ has made meat his staple article of diet. He loves meat, and has established himself in the habit of eating it. He may be strong enough to stand a meat diet, but it is not so with his wife and family, who are not strong and well. His wife suffers and cannot tell why, but gratification of appetite is the greatest cause of her ill health. Brother _____ knows what the Word of God teaches in this matter, but he does not practice it. This is not pleasing to God.14MR 296.2

    “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do,” the Word of the Lord declares, “do all to the glory of God” [1 Corinthians 10:31]. Those who neglect to walk in the light, in order that they may glorify their appetites, bring mischief to themselves and to others. The Lord cannot manifest His glory through men who disregard His Word.14MR 296.3

    You know not the danger of eating meat merely because your appetite craves it. By partaking of this diet, man places in his mouth that which stimulates unholy passions. Unhallowed emotions fill the mind, and the spiritual eyesight is beclouded; for the tendency of self-gratification is to corrupt the taste and the judgment. By furnishing your table with this kind of food, you go counter to the will of God. A condition of things is brought about which will lead to a disregard of the precepts of God's law.14MR 297.1

    A plain, simple but liberal diet of fruits, vegetables, and grains is the best for those who are preparing for the work of God. The lower nature, with all its inclinations, must be subdued and crucified, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. It is absolutely necessary for Christians to keep the body under, bringing it into subjection, and uprooting every affection and impulse which is contrary to the will of God. The food which we eat will help or hinder us in doing this.14MR 297.2

    But it is not an easy matter to overcome hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. Self is masterful, and strives for the victory. But to “him that overcometh” the promises are given. The Lord presents the right way, but He compels no one to obey. He leaves those to whom He has given the light to receive or despise it, but their course of action is followed by sure results. Cause must produce effect. Thus the Lord dealt with the children of Israel. See Patriarchs and Prophets, 364-365.14MR 297.3

    Eating the flesh of dead animals was permitted by God because men were determined to break down every rule or regulation in order to gratify perverted taste. But if an appetite for this diet is cultivated, serious diseases will be the result. The evidences of the curse that came upon the earth because of sin, abound everywhere. The whole creation was involved, and today animals languish under this curse. Disease prevails among them to an alarming extent. Cancers and tumors are very often seen. The tissues of the swine are peopled with living creatures; and yet this living mass is eaten and relished by men and women. Tubercular consumption is communicated by the practice of meat eating, and thus disease is extended.14MR 297.4

    Will the Lord work a miracle to counteract the evils of a meat diet? He cannot do this, for in so doing He would dishonor His name. But in His Word He lifts the danger signal, showing plainly the evils from which He would save us, and if people prefer to risk the consequences, their course will produce the sure result. Too soon they will learn that they have brought suffering upon themselves by persisting in their own way. Their appetites craved meat; the Lord would not force them into the right way.14MR 298.1

    In the warfare between good and evil, the Lord requires each one to remain faithful to his post of duty. If this is the home, take hold earnestly and willingly to make home a pleasant place. If your duty lies in the kitchen, seek to be a perfect cook. Prepare food which will be healthful, nourishing, and appetizing, so that the members of the family need not resort to stimulants of any kind. This is true missionary work.14MR 298.2

    Parents should give strict heed to every ray of light which God has given on the subject of health reform, for we are living in a degenerate age, when there is danger that passion will drive the youth into corrupting and revolting sins, into self-pollution, which ruins the mind, destroying the memory, and enfeebling every other faculty. If their consciences are aroused to see this subject in its true bearing, parents can do much to guard their children from temptation. But if they place upon their tables the flesh of dead animals, if they encourage their little ones to eat this food, they sow seeds which will bring forth a harvest of corruption.14MR 298.3

    Parents have a most solemn obligation resting upon them to conform to right habits of eating and drinking. Set before your children simple, wholesome food, avoiding everything of a stimulating nature. The effect which a meat diet has upon nervous children is not to make them sweet tempered and patient, but peevish, irritable, passionate, and impatient of restraint. Virtuous practices are lost, and corruption destroys mind, soul, and body.14MR 299.1

    Much injury is done to health by the variety of the food which is seen on so many tables. Take the different dishes which are placed on the table at one meal, and put them all together in one vessel. Stir them up together. Does it make the stomach turn to look at it? Leave it for a few hours and it will ferment. Yet thousands compel their stomachs to receive just such a mass as this every day. Half masticated meat, condiments, spices, pies, and sweet puddings are washed down with tea and coffee. The abused stomach is obliged to take them and do the best it can with them.14MR 299.2

    Is there not sin in placing upon the table such a variety at one meal? Often the desire to return to moral integrity is expressed. But this will never be until we return to simple, healthful foods, until we eat and drink to glorify God, not to gratify our perverted appetites.14MR 299.3

    Died because of bad cooking; died because of sour bread; died of medication; died of an abused stomach—this might be written over the graves of many. This suicidal process is gradual. Nature bears the abuse as long as possible, but in the end she must succumb. The oil in the lamp of life is mixed with a variety of injurious substances, and the lamp refuses to burn longer. It is extinguished, not because God willed it, but because of the manifest disregard of nature's laws.14MR 299.4

    What we eat and drink has an important bearing upon our lives and characters, and Christians should bring their habits of eating and drinking into conformity to the laws of nature. We must sense our obligations to God in these matters. Obedience to the laws of health should be made a matter of earnest study, for willing ignorance on this subject is sin. Each one should feel a personal obligation to carry out the laws of healthful living.14MR 300.1

    Many turn away from the light, offended because a word of caution is given, and ask, “May we not do as we please with ourselves?” Did you create yourselves? Did you pay the redemption price for your souls and bodies? If so, you belong to yourselves. But the Word of God declares, “Ye are bought with a price,” “the precious blood of Christ.” The Word of God tells us plainly that our habits are to be strictly guarded and controlled. “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Shall we do this? The Word of God is perfect, converting the soul. If we diligently heed its precepts, we shall be conformed, physically, spiritually into the image of God. [Romans 12:1, 2; 3:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20, quoted.]—Manuscript 47, 1896.14MR 300.2

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    April 11, 1985.

    Entire Ms.

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