Let none who profess godliness regard with indifference the health of the body, and flatter themselves that intemperance is no sin, and will not affect their spirituality. A close sympathy exists between the physical and the moral nature.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 43.
When Sanctification is Impossible
“The heart cannot possibly maintain consecration to God while lustful appetite is indulged. A diseased body and disordered intellect, because of continual indulgence in hurtful lust, make sanctification of the body and spirit impossible. The apostle [Paul] understood the importance of the healthful conditions of the body for the successful perfection of Christian character. He says, ‘I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.’ [1 Corinthians 9:27.] He mentions the fruit of the Spirit, among which is temperance. ‘They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.’ [Galatians 5:24.]” Ibid., 44.
Mental Effects of Disobedience to Physical Law
“God requires of His people continual advancement. We need to learn that indulged appetite is the greatest hindrance to mental improvement and soul sanctification. With all our profession of health reform, many of us eat improperly.” Ibid., 45.
Effect on Appreciation of Truth
“You need clear, energetic minds, in order to appreciate the exalted character of the truth, to value the atonement, and to place the right estimate upon eternal things.” Ibid., 47.
Effect Upon Discernment and Decision
“All are required to do what they can to preserve healthy bodies and sound minds. If they will gratify a gross appetite, and by so doing blunt their sensibilities, and becloud their perceptive faculties so that they cannot appreciate the exalted character of God, or delight in the study of His word, they may be assured that God will not accept their unworthy offering any sooner than that of Cain. God requires them to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” Ibid., 49.
“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. Therefore, in order for the people of God to be in an acceptable state with Him, where they can glorify Him in their bodies and spirits, which are His, they must with interest and zeal deny the gratification of their appetites, and exercise temperance in all things.” Ibid., 50.
“Our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us the great blessing of light upon the health reform, that we may obey the claims which He has upon us, and glorify Him in our bodies and spirits, which are His, and finally stand without fault before the throne of God. Our faith requires us to elevate the standard, and take advance steps.” Ibid., 51.
“The diet has much to do with the disposition to enter into temptation and commit sin.” Ibid., 52.
“Our own strength is weakness, but that which God gives is mighty, and will make every one who obtains it more than conqueror.” Ibid., 53.
Effect Upon Influence and Usefulness
“The affliction of the stomach affects the brain. The imprudent eater does not realize that he is disqualifying himself for giving wise counsel, disqualifying himself for laying plans for the best advancement of the work of God. But this is so. . . . The food he has eaten has benumbed his brain power.” Ibid.
“The light has been shining upon your pathway in regard to health reform, and the duty resting upon God’s people in these last days to exercise temperance in all things. . . . As the light of truth is received and followed out, it will work an entire reformation in the life and character of all those who are sanctified through it.” Ibid., 57.
“Eating, drinking, and dressing all have a direct bearing upon our spiritual advancement.” Ibid.
“All who are partakers of the divine nature will escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is impossible for those who indulge the appetite to attain to Christian perfection.” Ibid.
“This is true sanctification. It is not merely a theory, an emotion, or a form of words, but a living, active principle, entering into the everyday life. It requires that our habits of eating, drinking, and dressing be such as to secure the preservation of physical, mental, and moral health, that we may present to the Lord our bodies,—not an offering corrupted by wrong habits, but ‘a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.’ [Romans 12:1.]
“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.” Ibid., 57, 58.
“The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. And as we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.” Ibid., 59.
Relation of Diet to Morals
“ ‘Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul,’ is the language of the apostle Peter. [1 Peter 2:1.] Many regard this warning as applicable only to the licentious; but it has a broader meaning. It guards against every injurious gratification of appetite or passion. It is a most forcible warning against the use of such stimulants and narcotics as tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and morphine. These indulgences may well be classed among the lusts that exert a pernicious influence upon moral character. The earlier these hurtful habits are formed, the more firmly will they hold their victim in slavery to lust, and the more certainly will they lower the standard of spirituality.” Ibid., 62, 63.
“Moral principle, strictly carried out, becomes the only safeguard of the soul. If ever there was a time when the diet should be of the most simple kind, it is now. Meat should not be placed before our children. Its influence is to excite and strengthen the lower passions, and has a tendency to deaden the moral powers. Grains and fruits prepared free from grease, and in as natural a condition as possible, should be the food for the tables of all who claim to be preparing for translation to heaven. . . . Gratification of taste should not be consulted irrespective of physical, intellectual, or moral health.” Ibid., 64.
Follow the Saviour
“O how many lose the richest blessings that God has in store for them in health and spiritual endowments! There are many souls who wrestle for special victories and special blessings that they may do some great thing. To this end they are always feeling that they must make an agonizing struggle in prayer and tears. When these persons search the Scripture with prayer to know the expressed will of God, and then do His will from the heart without one reservation or self-indulgence, they will find rest. All the agonizing, all the tears and struggles, will not bring them the blessing they long for. Self must be entirely surrendered. They must do the work that presents itself, appropriating the abundance of the grace of God which is promised to all who ask in faith.
“ ‘If any man will come after Me,’ said Jesus, ‘let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’ Luke 9:23. Let us follow the Saviour in His simplicity and self-denial. Let us lift up the Man of Calvary by word and by holy living. The Saviour comes very near to those who consecrate themselves to God. If ever there was a time when we needed the working of the Spirit of God upon our hearts and lives, it is now. Let us lay hold of this divine power for strength to live a life of holiness and self-surrender.” Ibid., 58.
Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent.