January 20, 2013 – January 26, 2013
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 11 Corinthians 7:1.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 1, 485–489, 618; The Desire of Ages, 114–123.
“Those who claim to believe in health reform, and yet work counter to its principles in the daily life practice, are hurting their own souls and are leaving wrong impressions upon the minds of believers and unbelievers.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 37.
“The abuses of the stomach by the gratification of appetite are the fruitful source of most church trials. Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. An intemperate man cannot be a patient man. It is not necessary to drink alcoholic liquors in order to be intemperate. The sin of intemperate eating, eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food, destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting. And this is a fruitful source of church trials. … All those who are indifferent and excuse themselves from this work, waiting for the Lord to do for them that which He requires them to do for themselves, will be found wanting when the meek of the earth, who have wrought His judgments, are hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 618, 619.
“He who cherishes the light which God has given him upon health reform has an important aid in the work of becoming sanctified through the truth, and fitted for immortality.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 59, 60.
“Just where the ruin began, the work of our redemption must begin. As by the indulgence of appetite Adam fell, so by the denial of appetite Christ must overcome.” The Desire of Ages, 117.
1 ALL PARTS EQUAL ONE
- What components make up the human being? Luke 10:27.
Note: “If your lives are conformed to the life of Christ through the sanctification of mind, soul, and body, our example will have a powerful influence on the world.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 300.
“The Lord accepts no divided heart. He wants the whole man. He made all there is of man. He offered a complete sacrifice to redeem the body and soul of man.” Special Testimonies on Education, 83.
- What is the relationship between what we do physically and our spiritual condition? III John 2; I Corinthians 3:17.
Note: “Let it ever be kept before the mind that the great object of hygienic reform is to secure the highest possible development of mind and soul and body. All the laws of nature—which are the laws of God—are designed for our good. Obedience to them will promote our happiness in this life, and will aid us in a preparation for the life to come.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 23.
“It is impossible for those who indulge the appetite to attain to Christian perfection.” Ibid., 22.
“If we weaken these powers of mind or body by wrong habits or indulgence of perverted appetite, it will be impossible for us to honor God as we should.” Ibid., 21.
“It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the ten commandments. To do either is to break God’s laws. Those who transgress the law of God in their physical organism, will be inclined to violate the law of God spoken from Sinai.” Ibid., 17.
- How does Scripture depict the sacredness of our responsibility in caring for our body? Romans 12:1.
Note: “In the time of ancient Israel every offering brought as a sacrifice to God was carefully examined. If any defect was discovered in the animal presented, it was refused; for God had commanded that the offering be ‘without blemish.’ So Christians are bidden to present their bodies, ‘a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.’ In order to do this, all their powers must be preserved in the best possible condition. Every practice that weakens physical or mental strength unfits man for the service of his Creator. And will God be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer?” The Great Controversy, 473.
2 CHARACTER ON A PLATE
- In what sense should we take no thought about what we are going to eat or drink tomorrow (Matthew 6:25–33; Luke 12:29–31)? Psalm 37:25. What does the Bible say in relation to our choice of food? I Corinthians 10:31.
Note: “The habits of the age are serious obstacles to the perfecting of Christian character. Physically we are composed of what we eat, and our minds are greatly influenced by our bodies.” The Signs of the Times, January 6, 1876.
- What does our choice of food have to do with character development? Proverbs 23:1–7.
Note: “Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 372.
“By what means shall the young man repress his evil propensities, and develop that which is noble and good in his character? Let him heed the words, ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God’ (I Corinthians 10:31).” Gospel Workers, 127, 128.
- How can our eating habits affect others? I Timothy 4:12.
Note: “Sickness is caused by violating the laws of health; it is the result of violating nature’s law. Our first duty, one which we owe to God, to ourselves, and to our fellowmen, is to obey the laws of God, which include the laws of health. If we are sick, we impose a weary tax upon our friends, and unfit ourselves for discharging our duties to our families and to our neighbors. And when premature death is the result of our violation of nature’s law, we bring sorrow and suffering to others; we deprive our neighbors of the help we ought to render them in living; we rob our families of the comfort and help we might render them, and rob God of the service He claims of us to advance His glory. Then, are we not, in the worst sense, transgressors of God’s law?” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 21.
3 ANGRY ACTIVATORS
- Can what we eat actually cause wrong behavior? Ecclesiastes 10:17; Psalm 141:4.
Note: “When we have tried to present the health reform to our brethren and sisters, and have spoken to them of the importance of eating and drinking and doing all that they do to the glory of God, many by their actions have said: ‘It is nobody’s business whether I eat this or that. Whatever we do we are to bear the consequences ourselves.’ Dear friends, you are greatly mistaken. You are not the only sufferers from a wrong course. … But what care we for your judgment, if your brain nerve power has been taxed to the utmost, and the vitality withdrawn from the brain to take care of the improper food placed in your stomachs, or of an enormous quantity of even healthful food? What care we for the judgment of such persons? They see through a mass of undigested food. Therefore your course of living affects us. It is impossible for you to pursue any wrong course without causing others to suffer.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 356, 357.
- What fruit of the Spirit enables us to add patience to our character development? II Peter 1:6.
Note: “Temperance in eating must be practiced before you can be a patient man.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 65.
- What habits improve clarity of thought and discernment? Leviticus 10:9, 10. How will this help others? Daniel 12:3; Ezekiel 44:23.
Note: “Those who by habits of intemperance injure mind and body, place themselves in a position where they are unable to discern spiritual things. The mind is confused, and they yield readily to temptation because they have not a clear discernment of the difference between right and wrong. Sinful indulgence defiles the body and unfits men for spiritual worship. He who cherishes the principles of true temperance has an important aid in the work of becoming sanctified through the truth, and fitted for immortality. But if he disregards the laws of his physical being, how can he perfect holiness in the fear of God?” The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1909.
4 PROGRESSIVE DIET REFORM
- Why did God give His people specific instruction regarding what to eat? Leviticus 3:17; Acts 15:20; Exodus 15:26.
Note: “We are living in critical times. Disease of every stripe and type is afflicting the human family, and it is largely the result of subsisting upon the diseased flesh of dead animals. Some who have had the consequences of a meat diet set before them do not change. Why? Because they have educated their taste to enjoy the flesh of dead animals, and that taste must be indulged at any cost. And instead of preparing the meat in the least objectionable way, many choose the way that is most objectionable. The meat is served reeking with fat, because it suits the perverted taste. Both the blood and the fat of animals are consumed as a luxury. But the Lord gave special directions that these should not be eaten. Why? Because their use would make a diseased current of blood in the human system. The disregard of the Lord’s special directions has brought a variety of difficulties and diseases upon human beings.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 423, 424.
- What were the people of Israel instructed to avoid? Leviticus 11 (whole chapter, summarized in verses 46 and 47). What progressive changes have we been counseled to make?
Note: “Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 356.
“In most cases, two meals a day are preferable to three. Supper, when taken at an early hour, interferes with the digestion of the previous meal. When taken later, it is not itself digested before bedtime. Thus the stomach fails of securing proper rest. The sleep is disturbed, the brain and nerves are wearied, the appetite for breakfast is impaired, the whole system is unrefreshed, and is unready for the day’s duties.” Ibid., 176.
5 CLEARER DISCERNMENT
- What other benefit is the result of choosing the best articles for our diet? I Corinthians 2:14–16.
- More important than the physical benefits is the spiritual discernment. Why is it so necessary now? II Timothy 3:13.
Note: “God’s people in these last days are not to choose darkness rather than light. They are to look for light, to expect light. … The light will continue to shine in brighter and still brighter rays, and reveal more and more distinctly the truth as it is in Jesus, that human hearts and human characters may be improved, and moral darkness—which Satan is working to bring over the people of God—may be dispelled. … As we near the close of time there will be needed a deeper and clearer discernment, a more firm knowledge of the Word of God, a living experience, and the holiness of heart and life which we must have to serve Him.” That I May Know Him, 347.
- What was the first temptation brought to Christ in the wilderness, and why is this a lesson for us? Matthew 4:3, 4.
Note: “Mighty issues for the world were at stake in the conflict between the Prince of light and the leader of the kingdom of darkness.” The Desire of Ages, 114.
“Many look on this conflict between Christ and Satan as having no special bearing on their own life; and for them it has little interest. But within the domain of every human heart this controversy is repeated. Never does one leave the ranks of evil for the service of God without encountering the assaults of Satan. The enticements which Christ resisted were those that we find it so difficult to withstand. They were urged upon Him in as much greater degree as His character is superior to ours. With the terrible weight of the sins of the world upon Him, Christ withstood the test upon appetite, upon the love of the world, and upon that love of display which leads to presumption. These were the temptations that overcame Adam and Eve, and that so readily overcome us.” Ibid., 116, 117.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Are we at liberty to do whatever we want with our body without affecting the other parts of our being?
2 Why does God counsel us to avoid deceptive food? Can I think of items that should be avoided?
3 What is needed in order for us to be patient people? Am I one?
4 Why does God give such specific instruction to His people? Am I thankful for His counsel?
5 Is discernment more or less necessary as time goes by?
Walk in the Light
“There are some professed believers who accept certain portions of the Testimonies as the message of God, while they reject those portions that condemn their favorite indulgences. Such persons are working contrary to their own welfare, and the welfare of the church. It is essential that we walk in the light while we have the light.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 37.
Teach Your Children
“You should be teaching your children. You should be instructing them how to shun the vices and corruptions of this age. Instead of this, many are studying how to get something good to eat. You place upon your tables butter, eggs, and meat, and your children partake of them. They are fed with the very things that will excite their animal passions, and then you come to meeting and ask God to bless and save your children. How high do your prayers go? You have a work to do first. When you have done all for your children which God has left for you to do then you can with confidence claim the special help that God has promised to give you.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 362.
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.