Health – Using Our Senses Wisely

Our five senses are very valuable. We take them for granted and many times our senses become perverted. The use of these senses shapes our character and determines our destiny.


“Life consists of experiences secured through the combined exercise of the physical, mental, and spiritual powers—the body, mind, and spirit. The harmonious development of these three prepares one for this life and for eternity.

“The physical powers find their expression largely through the five senses—seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling, under the direction of, and through coordination with the mind.

The Senses

“The greatest satisfactions of life are not obtained from the exercise of more physical strength, but through the proper use of the five senses.

“The highest and noblest aspirations of life are gained through the enjoyment of the senses under the direction of the mind, which in turn is guided by the eternal principles of right.

Choosing the Character

“The mere possession of the five senses does not constitute character, but the daily proper use of them develops character. This is the field where man’s priceless endowment, the power of choice, is exercised for weal or woe. The daily decisions made by the mind concerning the use of these senses shape the character and determine the destiny. Habits are formed through their exercise, and the sort of habits formed depends upon the kinds of experiences chosen by the mind for the five senses to enjoy, and therefore, the use or misuse of these senses will largely determine the nature of the character being developed.


“To make the right choice in the use of the senses, two things are indispensable. The first is knowledge of their proper use; the second is self-control. …

“The world needs men today who are masters of, not slaves to, circumstances; and the master of self is fundamental to the mastery of life’s problems.

“Self-control is exercised and habits are formed through the use of the five senses, and the habits that are formed where the sense of taste is involved are very strong and some of them are very destructive. The reason follows.

The King of Senses

“Man’s physical life is maintained by food, and he was given the sense of taste that he might receive pleasure from the experience of putting into his body the things which would prolong his existence.

“It being more important that he eat and sustain life, than that he see, or hear, or smell, or touch, these senses become servants to the sense of taste, and are largely engaged in occupations which will produce the chief necessity of life—food.

“Because the satisfaction of the appetite in the proper use of food to sustain life is a first necessity to existence, it affords the greatest opportunity for perversion; and therefore, from the dawn of human history it has been man’s great weakness, and the source of the most subtle temptations, which work for his greatest degradation; it is the most vulnerable point at which to attack him.

“And, like as the other senses contribute of their powers in securing food to sustain life, so, when the taste becomes perverted, these other four senses are likewise diverted from their natural uses and become slaves to the appetite to provide the indulgences it craves.

“The sense of taste can be satisfied with things which will up-build body, mind, and soul, or it can be indulged with things which will destroy them all.

The Mind

“The use or abuse of the sense of taste, in conjunction with the other senses as helpers, will build up or undermine the mental powers with the reasoning faculties, the power of choice, and the will.

The Spiritual Life

“When the mental powers are weakened, it becomes difficult or impossible for the mind to perform its highest function in the contemplation and acceptance of spiritual ideals and opportunities.

“The mind allies the finite with the infinite. Therefore, anything that dulls its perceptions or disturbs its normal action, to some extent lessens man’s ability to comprehend divine ideals and objectives, or to lay hold of infinite power to achieve them.

“For these reasons a full spiritual experience cannot be found unless by self-control the use of the five senses is yielded to the wishes of their Author. This is one of the requisites of spiritual growth, and a most vital one.

“One author of note has said, ‘The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the up-building of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here means the surrender to evil of the whole being.’ [The Ministry of Healing, 130].

“Therefore, the most vital spot in human experience and existence is the proper use of the sense of taste in maintaining health, in the preservation of strong mental powers, and in laying the foundation for the character, which finds its highest exercise in a spiritual experience. The use or abuse of the appetite can aid in up-building or in destroying all.

“Furthermore, not only can the mental powers be weakened, the character undermined, and the spiritual powers prostituted, but the persistent violation of the laws of life through the misuse of the senses, the leader of which is the taste, places one in open antagonism to the Author thereof and so enters the realm of loyalty; for how can a person claim to be loyal to his Maker when he persists in any indulgence which is contrary to his Maker’s will as expressed in the laws of life which he has established within the body? …” Abundant Health, Julius Gilbert White, 1951, 327–330.

We truly are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).