What Are You Thinking?

The apostle Paul had a clear understanding of how your thinking affects the success of your spiritual growth. This understanding is expressed in several of his letters to the various churches. Indeed, the fact that he mentions the significance of our thinking so often should give us an indication of the importance of controlling our thoughts.

Paul covers a wide-ranging number of topics in his second letter to the Corinthians. It will be interesting to discuss with him once we cross the Jordan what provoked some of the things he wrote. However, it should be evident on this side of the Jordan how important he felt it was to be in control of our thoughts.

Toward the end of the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3–5

Clearly one of the “weapons of our warfare” that is “mighty in God” is exercising our ability to “[bring] every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Paul also refers to this weapon in his letter to the Colossians where he wrote, “Set your mind [affections] on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

Then twice in his letter to the Philippians, Paul mentions this weapon again, addressing it from two different angles. In Philippians 2:5, Paul, speaking imperatively, wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Then in the next chapter, he speaks of “the enemies of the cross of Christ” who “set their mind on earthly things.” Philippians 3:18, 19

Inspiration addresses over and over again the importance of controlling our thinking and setting our mind on things above.

“When God’s people take their eyes off the things of this world and place them on heaven and heavenly things they will be a peculiar people, because they will see the mercy and goodness and compassion that God has shown to the children of men. His love will call forth a response from them, and their lives will show to those around them that the Spirit of God is controlling them, that they are setting their affections on things above, not on the things of the earth.” Maranatha, 322

“God wishes us to have the mastery over ourselves. But He cannot help us without our consent and co-operation. The divine Spirit works through the powers and faculties given to man. Of ourselves, we are not able to bring the purposes and desires and inclinations into harmony with the will of God; but if we are ‘willing to be made willing,’ the Saviour will accomplish this for us, ‘Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 10:5.” The Acts of the Apostles, 482, 483

It is next to impossible to accomplish this essential objective without the surrender of the whole heart to the control of the Holy Spirit. Remember, this is warfare. Each of us has our own personal great controversy to deal with. It may seem counter-intuitive, but winning this war requires surrendering—not something one learns in the usual terms of worldly warfare, but “When we submit [surrender] ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312

“Moral purity depends on right thinking and right acting. Evil thoughts destroy the soul, while a right control of the thoughts prepares the mind to labor harmoniously for the Master. Every thought should be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Gospel Workers, 126, 127

“To the heart that has become purified, all is changed. Transformation of character is the testimony to the world of an indwelling Christ. The Spirit of God produces a new life in the soul, bringing the thoughts and desires into obedience to the will of Christ; and the inward man is renewed in the image of God. Weak and erring men and women show to the world that the redeeming power of grace can cause the faulty character to develop into symmetry and abundant fruitfulness.” Prophets and Kings, 233

“You should keep off from Satan’s enchanted ground and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God. Through Christ you may and should be happy and should acquire habits of self-control. Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God and your feelings under the control of reason and religion. Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have its own way without any effort at restraint or discipline. If the thoughts are wrong, the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character. When you decide that as Christians you are not required to restrain your thoughts and feelings you are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control. If you yield to your impressions and allow your thoughts to run in a channel of suspicion, doubt, and repining you will be among the most unhappy of mortals, and your lives will prove a failure.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 310

“The religion of Christ never degrades the receiver; it never makes him coarse or rough, discourteous or self-important, passionate or hardhearted. On the contrary, it refines the taste, sanctifies the judgment, and purifies and ennobles the thoughts, bringing them into captivity to Christ. God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. He has given in His holy law a transcript of His character.” Ibid., vol. 8, 63

It is this transcript that should be the guiding force in our thinking, and when this is the case, the efforts of Satan and his evil agents to inject unchristlike thoughts into our minds proves futile.

Paul provides a succinct set of criteria in his letter to the Philippians that those seeking to overcome can use as a guide for their thinking: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Perhaps understanding the challenge that the effort to restrict one’s thinking presents, Paul provided encouragement by asserting his faith in the power of Jesus to enable us to think and thus act aright: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (verse 13). It is evident from the context that Paul is not referring to physical strength, but rather to the strength which Christ provides to enable His followers to thwart the efforts continually and incessantly exerted by the enemy of souls to enshroud his victims in spiritual darkness.

It is imperative that we do not allow our actions to be influenced by thinking on inappropriate topics, thereby giving Satan ammunition in his desire to corrupt our characters.

“When we talk discouragement and gloom, Satan listens with fiendish joy, for it pleases him to know that he has brought you into his bondage. Satan cannot read our thoughts, but he can see our actions, hear our words; and from his long knowledge of the human family, he can shape his temptations to take advantage of our weak points of character. And how often do we let him into the secret of how he may obtain the victory over us. Oh, that we might control our words and actions! How strong we would become if our words were of such an order that we would not be ashamed to meet the record of them in the day of judgment. How different will they appear in the day of God from what they seem when we utter them.” The Review and Herald, May 19, 1891

Thus we see the critical connection between our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Satan is ever on the watch to “take advantage of our weak points of character.” We also must be ever watchful to ensure that we think appropriately so that improper thoughts do not result in improper words or deeds.

Although experience has perhaps revealed to us the difficulty that is inherent in controlling our thinking, remember Paul’s encouraging acknowledgment: “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

 John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at: johnpearson@stepstolife.org

Bible Study – Winning the Battle of the Mind

June 20 – 26, 2021

Key Text:

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Study Help: Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 141–144; Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 797–806.


“Thoughts and meditations upon the goodness of God to us would close the avenues of the soul to Satan’s suggestions.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 222.



1.a. What defense is available to us in the battle against temptation? Psalms 17:4; 119:11, 130.

 Note: “Let the youth … be taught to give close study to the word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptation.” Education, 190.

1.b.      What is to be our guide in directing our steps and making choices in life? Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 18:10; Matthew 4:4, first part.

Note: “I counsel you to receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your soul. The word of God is your haven. It is a tower of strength, into which you may run and be safe.” The Upward Look, 125.



2.a. How can the follower of Christ obtain positive and clear spiritual discernment? 1 Corinthians 2:9–13; Revelation 3:18, last part.

Note: “Satan has summoned the hosts of darkness to war against the saints. We cannot afford to be indifferent to his attacks. He comes in many ways, and we must have clear spiritual discernment, that we may be able to discern when he is seeking to gain possession of our minds.” Our High Calling, 19.

“Do not permit yourself to be discouraged. Do not permit yourself to be provoked, but let intelligent reason control your actions.” The Upward Look, 139.

2.b.      How is one to deal with the negative feelings of depression, fretfulness, hate, anxiety, sadness, etc.? Psalm 100:2, 4; Ephesians 6:10, 11; James 4:7, 8.

Note: “When you see iniquity all around you it makes you all the more glad that He [Christ] is your Saviour, and we are His children. Then shall we look at the iniquity around us and dwell upon the dark side? You cannot cure it; then talk of something that is higher, better, and more noble.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 490.

“It is our right, our privilege, to dismiss gloomy depression.” The Upward Look, 38.

“It is our duty not to live for self, but for the good of others—not to be controlled by feelings, but to consider that our influence is a power for good or evil.” Ibid., 55.

“It is not our efforts that bring victory. It is seeing God behind the promise, and believing and trusting Him. Grasp by faith the hand of infinite power. The Lord is faithful who hath promised.” Ibid., 133.



3.a. How can we fight the battle victoriously as Christ did? Isaiah 26:4. What are some spiritual antidotes?

For fear: Isaiah 41:10, 13

For depression/sadness: Jeremiah 31:10–13

For worry: Psalm 37:5; 1 Peter 5:7

For impurity: 1 Corinthians 6:15–20

For worthlessness: 1 John 3:1, 2.

 Note: “The word of God must not be kept apart from our life. It must be entertained in the mind, welcomed in the heart, and be cherished, loved, and obeyed. We need also much more knowledge; we need to be enlightened in regard to the plan of salvation. There is not one in one hundred who understands for himself the Bible truth on this subject that is so necessary to our present and eternal welfare.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 360.

3.b.      What theme for meditation is provided for the Christian? 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 2:6.

Note: “It is only by long and persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict that we shall be overcomers.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 324.

“With the great truth we have been privileged to receive, we should, and under the Holy Spirit’s power we could, become living channels of light. We could then approach the mercy seat; and seeing the bow of promise, kneel with contrite hearts, and seek the kingdom of heaven with a spiritual violence that would bring its own reward. We would take it by force, as did Jacob. Then our message would be the power of God unto salvation. Our supplications would be full of earnestness, full of a sense of our great need; and we would not be denied. The truth would be expressed by life and character, and by lips touched with the living coal from off God’s altar. When this experience is ours, we shall be lifted out of our poor, cheap selves, that we have cherished so tenderly.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1089.



4.a. How will true followers of Jesus be perceived by others? 1 Corinthians 4:9, 13.

Note: “When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach, worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, strait-laced extremists.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 289.

“We are to make the line of demarcation decidedly apparent.” Ibid.

“Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 216.

4.b.      How can we develop characters fit for eternity? Micah 6:8; Zephaniah 2:3; 2 Corinthians 10:5.

 Note: “If we are Christ’s, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things.” Steps to Christ, 58.

“By the life we live through the grace of Christ the character is formed. The original loveliness begins to be restored to the soul. The attributes of the character of Christ are imparted, and the image of the Divine begins to shine forth.” The Desire of Ages, 312.



5.a. As our mind is renewed, where will our thoughts and vision be directed? Romans 12:2; Hebrews 11:16; 12:2.

Note: “We should live for the next world. It is so wretched to live a haphazard, aimless life. We want an object in life—to live for a purpose. God help us all to be self-sacrificing, less self-caring, more forgetful of self and selfish interest; and to do good, not for the honor we expect to receive here, but because this is the object of our life and will answer the end of our existence. Let our daily prayer go up to God that He will divest us of selfishness.” Our High Calling, 242.

“Let every thought, every feeling be that of remembrance of God’s love. Let us gather up one token after another. …

“The evidence we have of God’s care and love for us is expressed in the lessons Christ gave to His disciples upon the things in nature.” The Upward Look, 15.

“Let nothing, nothing discourage you, and make you sad. Think of the goodness of God. Recount His favors and blessings.” Ibid., 30.

5.b.      What assurance do we have of victory? Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:24.

Note: “The more we love Jesus, the more entirely will self be humbled and forgotten. …

“Our God is a very present help in time of need. He is acquainted with the most secret thoughts of our hearts, with all the intents and purposes of our souls. When we are in perplexity, even before we open to Him our distresses, He is making arrangements for our deliverance.” The Upward Look, 46.

“If we trust in the Lord, we shall triumph in the warfare against unseen foes, but if we trust in our own strength, we shall surely meet with defeat. The armor is prepared. Put it on, and fight bravely for the Lord.” Ibid., 129.

“When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.



1    What is the source of the Christian’s strength and how is this strength received?

2    What promises does God give to the person who is struggling to control his thoughts?

3    What tools are given to each of us to win the battle for control of the mind?

4    What does God require of the Christian in regard to control of the thoughts?

5    How can you tell whether or not your mind has been renewed?

Copyright 1995 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – Guarding the Avenues of the Soul

June 13 – 19, 2021

Key Text:

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 261–268; Testimonies, vol. 8, 312–328.


“The mind should not be left to wander at random upon every subject that the adversary of souls may suggest.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 460.



1.a. What battle is being waged for the control of our minds? Why is it important to be under the constant control of the Spirit of God? Acts 26:18; Luke 11:24–26.

 Note: “We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not co-operate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.” The Desire of Ages, 324.

1.b.      What has Satan been doing for the last 6,000 years? Isaiah 14:3–17.

Note: “For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women that none but his voice will be heard.” Medical Ministry, 111.



2.a. What choice is every man given? Revelation 3:20; 22:17 (John 7:37); Matthew 16:24.

 Note: “I entreat you to open the door of your heart and let your Saviour in. Give Him the whole heart—that which He has purchased. Ever bear in mind that it is you who must choose. God forces no man. He has chosen you, and engraven your name in the palms of His hands. Will you not give yourself fully to Him?” The Upward Look, 25.

2.b.        What precious hope does the follower of Christ have regarding the final victory over sin? John 16:33, last part; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.

Note: “Today, Satan has great power in the world. He has been permitted to have proprietorship of this earth for an appointed time. During this period, when iniquity prevails, men and women are given a chance to take sides. In every possible way, Satan tries to make the broad road attractive and the narrow road grievous, humiliating, and objectionable. He lays ingenious plans to allure men and women to indulge appetite. Cheap, unsatisfying pleasures are made all and in all in this degenerate age. Satan throws his glamour about these amusements, which eclipse eternal things. Many will sell their birthright, as did Esau, for trifling consideration … . worldly pleasure will appear more desirable to them than the heavenly birthright.

“But Christ has overcome in our behalf.” The Upward Look, 39.



3.a. Describe the effectiveness of Lucifer’s musical ability in heaven. Ezekiel 28:13.

 Note: “Satan had led the heavenly choir. He had raised the first note; then all the angelic host had united with him, and glorious strains of music had resounded through heaven in honor of God and His dear Son.” The Story of Redemption, 25.

3.b.      Research information indicates that music is a powerful stimulant affecting the whole body through the mind. How can Satan in his fallen state use music to deceive, if possible, even the very elect? Exodus 32:17–19.

Note: “They [the Israelites] ventured upon the forbidden ground, and were entangled in the snare of Satan. Beguiled with music and dancing, and allured by the beauty of heathen vestals, they cast off their fealty to Jehovah.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 454.

“They [young Sabbath-keepers] have a keen ear for music, and Satan knows what organs to excite to animate, engross, and charm the mind so that Christ is not desired. …

“The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer. Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 497.

“The low, common pleasure parties, gatherings for eating and drinking, singing and playing on instruments of music, are inspired by a spirit that is from beneath. They are an oblation unto Satan.” Messages to Young People, 382.



4.a. Where are we to focus our attention and our thoughts? Colossians 3:1, 2.

 Note: “You should control your thoughts. This will not be an easy task; you cannot accomplish it without close and even severe effort. Yet God requires this of you; it is a duty resting upon every accountable being. You are responsible to God for your thoughts. If you indulge in vain imaginations, permitting your mind to dwell upon impure subjects, you are, in a degree, as guilty before God as if your thoughts were carried into action.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 561.

4.b.      How only can man have proper thoughts and a “right mind”? Hebrews 12:1, 2; John 17:17, 19; Psalms 119:9, 97.

 Note: “We have a work to do to resist temptation. Those who would not fall a prey to Satan’s devices must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 460.

“Christ alone can direct the thoughts aright. He alone can give noble aspirations and fashion the character after the divine similitude. If we draw near to Him in earnest prayer, He will fill our hearts with high and holy purposes, and with deep longings for purity and righteousness.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 323.



5.a. How is the book of nature useful in quickening the mind? Romans 1:20.

Note: “Through the creation we are to become acquainted with the Creator. The book of nature is a great lesson book, which in connection with the Scriptures we are to use in teaching others of His character, and guiding lost sheep back to the fold of God. As the works of God are studied, the Holy Spirit flashes conviction into the mind. …

“Too often the minds of students are occupied with men’s theories and speculations, falsely called science and philosophy. They need to be brought into close contact with nature.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 24, 25.

5.b.      How can Christ’s presence be made more real to each of His followers? Psalms 1:1–3; 8:3, 9. On what topics should our minds dwell? Matthew 5:5, 8; Philippians 4:8; 2 Peter 3:13.

 Note: “On the holy rest day, above all other days, we should study the messages that God has written for us in nature. We should study the Saviour’s parables where He spoke them, in the fields and groves, under the open sky, among the grass and flowers. As we come close to the heart of nature, Christ makes His presence real to us, and speaks to our hearts of His peace and love.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 26.

“Our minds should be constantly dwelling on the goodness of God and the future home of the saints, and we should ever be striving for perfection of character, that at last we may be given entrance into the City of God.” The Upward Look, 325.



1    Discuss the battle being waged for the control of the human mind.

2    Discuss the individual freedom to choose.

3    How does the enemy of souls use music to influence the human mind?

4    How is the mind brought under “right control” and how does it become “right-minded”?

5    Where should the mind’s eye be focused? Mention some practical ways in which this aim can be achieved.

Copyright 1995 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – Battle for the Control of the Mind

June 6–12, 2021

Key Text

“They cried to God in the battle, and He was intreated of them; because they put their trust in Him” (1 Chronicles 5:20, last part).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 683–689; The Story of Redemption, 32–41.


“The perils of the last days are upon us. Satan takes the control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God.Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 79. [Emphasis author’s.]



1.a. How did Satan beguile men in the past and how is he preparing to gain complete control over human minds today? Exodus 7:11, 22; Acts 8:9–11; Revelation 13:4, 13, 14; 16:13, 14.

Note: “It was the hand of God, and no human influence or power possessed by Moses and Aaron, that wrought the miracles which they showed before Pharaoh. Those signs and wonders were designed to convince Pharaoh that the great ‘I AM’ had sent Moses, and that it was the duty of the king to let Israel go, that they might serve the living God. The magicians also showed signs and wonders; for they wrought not by their own skill alone, but by the power of their god, Satan, who assisted them in counterfeiting the work of Jehovah.

“The magicians did not really cause their rods to become serpents; but by magic, aided by the great deceiver, they were able to produce this appearance. It was beyond the power of Satan to change the rods to living serpents.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 264.

1.b.      How did Ellen White explain the term “empty deceit” of Colossians 2:8?

Note: “Thousands, I was shown, have been spoiled through the philosophy of phrenology and animal magnetism, and have been driven into infidelity. If the mind commences to run in this channel, it is almost sure to lose its balance and be controlled by a demon. ‘Vain deceit’ fills the minds of poor mortals. They think there is such power in themselves to accomplish great works that they realize no necessity of a higher power. … He [Jesus] did not direct the minds of poor mortals to themselves, to a power which they possessed. He was ever directing their minds to God, the Creator of the universe, as the source of their strength and wisdom.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 297.



2.a. What is the result of watching other people sin whether through media or in real life? 1 Corinthians 15:33; Psalms 101:3, 4.

2.b. How is the ninth commandment broken in all dramatical productions? Exodus 20:16; Zechariah 8:16.

Note: “Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd gestures, expressions, and attitudes, deprave the imagination and debase the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence, as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 653.



3.a.       What moral responsibility do we have for what we look at? Luke 11:34.

Note: “We must pray more and exercise faith continually. I feel the necessity of drawing nearer and closer to Jesus. I see I must labor to the point to keep my mind ascending to God continually if I would maintain the victory over Satan’s temptations.” The Upward Look, 127.

3.b.      What are the three things in worldly entertainment (tv, movies, video) that the Christian is advised to leave alone? 1 John 2:16, 17.

Note: “You know our bodies are made up of the food assimilated. Now, it is the same with our minds.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 491.

“The mind is controlled either by Satan or by Jesus.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 495.

“None are in greater danger from the influence of evil spirits than those who, notwithstanding the direct and ample testimony of the Scriptures, deny the existence and agency of the devil and his angels. So long as we are ignorant of their wiles, they have almost inconceivable advantage; many give heed to their suggestions while they suppose themselves to be following the dictates of their own wisdom. This is why, as we approach the close of time, when Satan is to work with greatest power to deceive and destroy, he spreads everywhere the belief that he does not exist. It is his policy to conceal himself and his manner of working.

“There is nothing that the great deceiver fears so much as that we shall become acquainted with his devices.” The Great Controversy, 516.

“We carefully secure our houses with bolts and locks to protect our property and our lives from evil men; but we seldom think of the evil angels who are constantly seeking access to us, and against whose attacks we have, in our own strength, no method of defense. If permitted, they can distract our minds, disorder and torment our bodies, destroy our possessions and our lives.” Ibid., 517.



4.a. What kind of worldly conduct is the Christian to avoid? Ephesians 4:17–23.

Note: “It is one of Satan’s devices to combine with falsehood just enough truth to give it plausibility.” The Great Controversy, 587.

“The tempter assured Eve that as soon as she ate of the fruit she would receive a new and superior knowledge that would make her equal with God. He called her attention to himself. He ate freely of the tree and found it not only perfectly harmless but delicious and exhilarating … . He further told them that they could not die. Had they not eaten of the tree of life which perpetuates immortality? He said that God was deceiving them to keep them from a higher state of felicity and more exalted happiness.” The Story of Redemption, 34, 35.

4.b.      What works of the flesh are portrayed on television and other worldly entertainment? Galatians 5:19–21.

Note: “It was when the Israelites were in a condition of outward ease and security that they were led into sin. … It is thus that Satan still seeks to compass the ruin of the soul. A long preparatory process, unknown to the world, goes on in the heart before the Christian commits open sin. The mind does not come down at once from purity and holiness to depravity, corruption, and crime. It takes time to degrade those formed in the image of God to the brutal or the satanic. By beholding we become changed. By the indulgence of impure thoughts man can so educate his mind that sin which he once loathed will become pleasant to him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 459.

“Do not for a moment acknowledge Satan’s temptations as being in harmony with your own mind. Turn from them as you would from the adversary himself.” Our High Calling, 85.



5.a. What does friendship with the world do to our relationship with Jesus Christ? 1 John 2:15–19; James 4:4. What separation is required? 2 Corinthians 6:14–18.

5.b.      What kind of location did God prepare as the home of our first parents? Genesis 1:28–31; 2:8, 15.

Note: “The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. That home, beautified by the hand of God Himself, was not a gorgeous palace. Men, in their pride, delight in magnificent and costly edifices and glory in the works of their own hands; but God placed Adam in a garden. This was his dwelling. The blue heavens were its dome; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the goodly trees were its canopy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 49.



1    Describe Satan’s techniques to gain control over human minds.

2    How does the media, movies and videos, advertising, etc., exercise a powerful influence over the thoughts and actions of men?

3    How do visual images affect the thoughts?

4    Discuss Satan’s use of mingling truth and error to suit his purposes.

Copyright 1995 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – Mental and Physical Health

May 9 – 15, 2021

Key Text

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2).

 Study Help: The Sanctified Life, 18–33; Education, 195–206.


“Between the mind and the body there is a mysterious and wonderful relation. They react upon each other.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 485.



1.a. In the creation, what requirements were placed upon man that were not required of other creatures? Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:16, 17.

Note: “The harmony of creation depends upon the perfect conformity of all beings, of everything, animate and inanimate, to the law of the Creator. God has ordained laws for the government, not only of living beings, but of all the operations of nature. Everything is under fixed laws, which cannot be disregarded. But while everything in nature is governed by natural laws, man alone, of all that inhabits the earth, is amenable to moral law.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 52.

1.b.      How are Christians exhorted to strive for sanctification, both mental and physical? Romans 12:1; Philippians 2:12, last part, 13.

Note: “The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character.” The Review and Herald, January 25, 1881.

“[It presents] a lesson for all, but especially for the young. A strict compliance with the requirements of God is beneficial to the health of body and mind. In order to reach the highest standard of moral and intellectual attainments, it is necessary to seek wisdom and strength from God, and to observe strict temperance in all the habits of life. In the experience of Daniel and his companions we have an instance of the triumph of principle over temptation to indulge the appetite. It shows us that through religious principle young men may triumph over the lusts of the flesh, and remain true to God’s requirements, even though it cost them a great sacrifice.” Ibid.

“The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character.” The Ministry of Healing, 130.



2.a. How is mental effort affected by good physical health? 3 John 2; 1 Corinthians 9:27.

Note: “We should seek to preserve the full vigor of all our powers for the accomplishment of the work before us. Whatever detracts from physical vigor weakens mental effort. Hence, every practice unfavorable to the health of the body should be resolutely shunned. …

“We cannot maintain consecration to God and yet injure our health by the willful indulgence of a wrong habit. Self-denial is one of the conditions, not only of admission into the service of Christ, but of continuance therein. Christ Himself declared, in unmistakable language, the conditions of discipleship: ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me’ (Matthew 16:24).

“Yet, how many who call themselves Christians are unwilling to exercise self-denial, even for Christ’s sake. How often the love for some pernicious indulgence is stronger than the desire for a sound mind in a sound body. Precious hours of probation are spent, God-given means squandered, to please the eye or to gratify the appetite. Custom holds thousands in bondage to the earthly and sensual. Many are willing captives; they desire no better portion.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 380, 381.

2.b.      What is the effect of fleshly lusts on the mind? 1 Peter 2:11.

Note: “Study is not the principal cause of breakdown of mental powers. The main cause is improper diet, irregular meals, a lack of physical exercise, and careless inattention in other respects to the laws of health. When we do all that we can to preserve the health, then we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 299.

“By allowing ourselves to form wrong habits, by keeping late hours, by gratifying appetite at the expense of health, we lay the foundation for feebleness. By neglecting physical exercise, by overworking mind or body, we unbalance the nervous system.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 346.



3.a. What effects do temperance and discipline have on the mind? 1 Corinthians 9:25, 27.

Note: “True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual powers. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.

“There are ample reasons why there are so many nervous women in the world, complaining of the dyspepsia, with its train of evils. The cause has been followed by the effect. It is impossible for intemperate persons to be patient. They must first reform bad habits, learn to live healthfully, and then it will not be difficult for them to be patient. Many do not seem to understand the relation the mind sustains to the body. If the system is deranged by improper food, the brain and nerves are affected, and slight things annoy those who are thus afflicted. Little difficulties are to them troubles mountain high.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 434.

3.b.      How can a person’s dietary practices affect and influence the faith of others? Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:13; Daniel chapter 1.

Note: “We are composed of what we eat, and eating much flesh will diminish intellectual activity. Students would accomplish much more in their studies if they never tasted meat. When the animal part of the human agent is strengthened by meat eating, the intellectual powers diminish proportionately. A religious life can be more successfully gained and maintained if meat is discarded.” Medical Ministry, 277, 278.

“I frequently sit down to the tables of the brethren and sisters, and see that they use a great amount of milk and sugar. These clog the system, irritate the digestive organs, and affect the brain. Anything that hinders the active motion of the living machinery, affects the brain very directly. And from the light given me, sugar, when largely used, is more injurious than meat. These changes should be made cautiously, and the subject should be treated in a manner not calculated to disgust and prejudice those whom we would teach and help.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 328.



4.a. What forces does happiness release? Proverbs 15:15, last part; 16:24, first part.

 Note: “The pleasure of doing good animates the mind and vibrates through the whole body. While the faces of benevolent men are lighted up with cheerfulness, and their countenances express the moral elevation of the mind, those of selfish, stingy men are dejected, cast down, and gloomy. Their moral defects are seen in their countenances.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 534.

4.b. What are the best practices/habits for diseased bodies and minds? Proverbs 3:1–8.

Note: “The consciousness of rightdoing is the best medicine for diseased bodies and minds. The special blessing of God resting upon the receiver is health and strength. A person whose mind is quiet and satisfied in God is in the pathway to health.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 502.



5.a.       What effect will following Jesus have on the mind? Malachi 4:2; John 14:27.

 Note: “When the gospel is received in its purity and power, it is a cure for the maladies that originated in sin. … Not all that this world bestows can heal a broken heart, or impart peace of mind, or remove care, or banish disease. Fame, genius, talent—all are powerless to gladden the sorrowful heart or to restore the wasted life. The life of God in the soul is man’s only hope.” The Ministry of Healing, 115.

5.b.      How are reason and grace bound together? Romans 6:1,2; Isaiah 1:18, 19.

Note: “The body is a most important medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding 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 often means the surrender of the whole being to evil. The tendencies of the physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. The body is to be brought into subjection to the higher powers of the being. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in the life.” Prophets and Kings, 488, 489.



1    Discuss co-dependence of the physical and mental powers.

2    How does temperance relate to physical and mental strength?

3    How does what a person eats affect his intellect?

4    What is the best medicine for sick bodies and minds?

5    What is the cure for spiritual disease originating from the commission of sin? How does this affect spiritual health?

Copyright 1995 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – Developing the Mind

Let This Mind Be in You

April 25 – May 1, 2021

Key Text

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Study Help: Education, 13–19; Our High Calling, 119.


“To deal with minds is the nicest work in which men ever engaged.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 269.



1.a. What is the “science of Christianity?” Joel 2:1, first part.

 Note: “No other science is equal to that which develops in the life of the student the character of God. Those who become followers of Christ find that new motives of action are supplied, new thoughts arise, and new actions must result. But they can make advancement only through conflict; for there is an enemy who ever contends against them, presenting temptations to cause the soul to doubt and sin. There are hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil that must be overcome. Appetite and passion must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. There is no end to the warfare this side of eternity. But while there are constant battles to fight, there are also precious victories to gain; and the triumph over self and sin is of more value than the mind can estimate.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 20.

1.b. How should one present himself to God? 2 Timothy 2:15.

 Note: “The science of a pure, wholesome, consistent Christian life is obtained by studying the word of the Lord. This is the highest education that any earthly being can obtain.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 11.

“Upon the right improvement of our time depends our success in acquiring knowledge and mental culture. The cultivation of the intellect need not be prevented by poverty, humble origin, or unfavorable surroundings. … A resolute purpose, persistent industry, and careful economy of time, will enable men to acquire knowledge and mental discipline which will qualify them for almost any position of influence and usefulness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 343, 344.



2.a. How can a person be delivered from a source of unrest and obtain peace of mind? Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7.

Note: “The religion of Christ, so far from being the cause of insanity, is one of its most effectual remedies; for it is a potent soother of the nerves.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 444.

“When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ’s love and under His protecting care. … Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace.” The Ministry of Healing, 250.

2.b. How can one be relieved of the burdens of anxiety and anxious thoughts? Matthew 11:28–30.

Note: “When men go forth to their daily toil, as when they engage in prayer; when they lie down at night, and when they rise in the morning; when the rich man feasts in his palace, or when the poor man gathers his children about the scanty board, each is tenderly watched by the heavenly Father. No tears are shed that God does not notice. There is no smile that He does not mark.

“If we would but fully believe this, all undue anxieties would be dismissed. Our lives would not be so filled with disappointment as now; for everything, whether great or small, would be left in the hands of God, who is not perplexed by the multiplicity of cares, or overwhelmed by their weight. We should then enjoy a rest of soul to which many have long been strangers.” Steps to Christ, 86.



3.a. What does sin do to our minds, the home of our characters, and how can it be eliminated from our lives? Psalms 51:1–4; 32:5.

Note: “Let none flatter themselves that sins cherished for a time can easily be given up by and by. This is not so. Every sin cherished weakens the character and strengthens habit; and physical, mental, and moral depravity is the result. You may repent of the wrong you have done, and set your feet in right paths; but the mold of your mind and your familiarity with evil will make it difficult for you to distinguish between right and wrong. Through the wrong habits formed, Satan will assail you again and again.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 281.

“Sin not only shuts us away from God, but destroys in the human soul both the desire and the capacity for knowing Him. All this work of evil it is Christ’s mission to undo. The faculties of the soul, paralyzed by sin, the darkened mind, the perverted will, He has power to invigorate and to restore. He opens to us the riches of the universe, and by Him the power to discern and to appropriate these treasures is imparted.” Education, 28, 29.

3.b. How does temptation begin? James 1:6, 13, 14.

Note: “The promises of God are not for us to claim rashly, to protect us while we rush on recklessly into danger, violating the laws of nature, or disregarding prudence and the judgment God has given us to use. This would not be genuine faith but presumption.” Our High Calling, 93.

“The beginning of yielding to temptation is in the sin of permitting the mind to waver, to be inconsistent in your trust in God. The wicked one is ever watching for a chance to misrepresent God, and to attract the mind to that which is forbidden. If he can, he will fasten the mind upon the things of the world. He will endeavor to excite the emotions, to arouse the passions, to fasten the affections on that which is not for your good; but it is for you to hold every emotion and passion under control, in calm subjection to reason and conscience. Then Satan loses his power to control the mind.” Ibid., 87.



4.a. How does Satan seek to take control of the mind? 1 Peter 5:8.

 Note: “Satan’s work is to discourage the soul. Christ’s work is to inspire the heart with faith and hope. Satan seeks to unsettle our confidence. He tells us that our hopes are built upon false premises rather than upon the sure, immutable word of Him who cannot lie.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 32.

“When the character is lacking in purity, when sin has become a part of the character, it has a bewitching power that is equal to the intoxicating glass of liquor. The power of self-control and reason is overborne by practices that defile the whole being; and if these sinful practices are continued, the brain is enfeebled and diseased, and loses its balance.” Maranatha, 229.

“We have found in our experience that if Satan cannot keep souls bound in the ice of indifference, he will try to push them into the fire of fanaticism.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 644.

4.b. How are minds strengthened and healed? Matthew 9:2–7, 20–22.

Note: “Talk courage to the people; lift them up to God in prayer. Many who have been overcome by temptation are humiliated by their failures, and they feel that it is in vain for them to approach unto God; but this thought is of the enemy’s suggestion. When they have sinned, and feel that they cannot pray, tell them that it is then the time to pray. Ashamed they may be, and deeply humbled; but as they confess their sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive their sins and cleanse them from all unrighteousness.” The Ministry of Healing, 181, 182.



5.a. How can a person be encouraged to gain the strength of an overcomer? Hebrews 11:32–40.

Note: “All minds are not naturally constituted alike. We have varied minds; some are strong upon certain points and very weak upon others. These deficiencies, so apparent, need not and should not exist. If those who possess them would strengthen the weak points in their character by cultivation and exercise they would become strong.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 33.

“All the powers of the mind should be called into use and developed in order for men and women to have well-balanced minds.” Ibid., 152, 153.



1    How can one obtain the best education in the world?

2    What should you do when stressed out and anxiety-laden?

3    What does sin do to your mind?

4    What is the prescription needed to cure a sinful mind?

5    How do feelings relate to mental weakness and how might a person gain strength in this area?

Copyright 1995 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – The Influence of the Mind

April 18 – 24, 2021

Key Text

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 241–259; Education, 123–127.


“As a safeguard against evil, the preoccupation of the mind with good is worth more than unnumbered barriers of law and discipline.” Education, 213.



1.a. Describe the relationship existing between the mind, emotions, and body. Isaiah 21:3, 4.

Note: “Disease is sometimes produced, and is often greatly aggravated, by the imagination. … Many die from disease the cause of which is wholly imaginary.” The Ministry of Healing, 241.

“Many are diseased physically, mentally, and morally, because their attention is turned almost exclusively to themselves.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 647.

“Sickness of the mind prevails everywhere. Nine tenths of the diseases from which men suffer have their foundation here. Perhaps some living home trouble is, like a canker, eating to the very soul and weakening the life forces. Remorse for sin sometimes undermines the constitution and unbalances the mind. There are erroneous doctrines also, as that of an eternally burning hell and the endless torment of the wicked, that, by giving exaggerated and distorted views of the character of God, have produced the same result upon sensitive minds.” Ibid., vol. 5, 444.

1.b.      How can you keep your mind and thoughts in good spiritual health? Philippians 2:5–8.

Note: “The relation which exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health of the physical system. If the mind is free and happy, from a consciousness of right-doing and a sense of satisfaction in causing happiness to others, it creates a cheerfulness that will react upon the whole system, causing a freer circulation of the blood, and a toning up of the entire body. The blessing of God is a healing power, and those who are abundant in benefiting others will realize that wondrous blessing in both heart and life.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 13.



2.a. What has a negative effect on the mind? Proverbs 27:3, 4. Name some things which are life-producing. Proverbs 3:13.

 Note: “The influence of the mind on the body, as well as of the body on the mind, should be emphasized. The electric power of the brain, promoted by mental activity, vitalizes the whole system, and is thus an invaluable aid in resisting disease. This should be made plain. The power of the will and the importance of self-control, both in the preservation and in the recovery of health, the depressing and even ruinous effect of anger, discontent, selfishness, or impurity, and, on the other hand, the marvelous life-giving power to be found in cheerfulness, unselfishness, gratitude, should also be shown.” Education, 197.

2.b.      How does our mind affect our body? Proverbs 17:22.

Note: “A great deal of the sickness which afflicts humanity has its origin in the mind and can only be cured by restoring the mind to health. There are very many more than we imagine who are sick mentally.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 184.



3.a. What directs, commands and controls the human body and its components? Proverbs 23:7, first part.

Note: “The brain is the capital of the body. If the perceptive faculties become benumbed through intemperance of any kind, eternal things are not discerned.” The Review and Herald, September 8, 1874.

“Every organ of the body was made to be servant to the mind. The mind is the capital of the body.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 136.

3.b. How does the Bible describe the effects of alcoholic beverages on the mind? Proverbs 23:29–35.

Note: “On every side, Satan seeks to entice the youth into the path of perdition; and if he can once get their feet set in the way, he hurries them on in their downward course, leading them from one dissipation to another, until his victims lose their tenderness of conscience, and have no more the fear of God before their eyes. They exercise less and less self-restraint. They become addicted to the use of wine and alcohol, tobacco and opium, and go from one stage of debasement to another. They are slaves to appetite. Counsel which they once respected, they learn to despise. They put on swaggering airs, and boast of liberty when they are the servants of corruption. They mean by liberty that they are slaves to selfishness, debased appetite, and licentiousness.” Temperance, 274.



4.a. What principles help us in the cultivation of our own happiness? 1 Peter 1:22; 4:8; John 13:34, 15.

Note: “A cultivated intellect is a great treasure; but without the softening influence of sympathy and sanctified love, it is not of the highest value. We should have words and deeds of tender consideration for others. We can manifest a thousand little attentions in friendly words and pleasant looks, which will be reflected upon us again. Thoughtless Christians manifest by their neglect of others that they are not in union with Christ. It is impossible to be in union with Christ and yet be unkind to others and forgetful of their rights. Many long intensely for friendly sympathy. God has given each of us an identity of our own, which cannot be merged in that of another; but our individual characteristics will be much less prominent if we are indeed Christ’s and His will is ours. Our lives should be consecrated to the good and happiness of others, as was our Saviour’s. We should be self-forgetful, ever looking out for opportunities, even in little things, to show gratitude for the favors we have received of others, and watching for opportunities to cheer others and lighten and relieve their sorrows and burdens by acts of tender kindness and little deeds of love. These thoughtful courtesies, that, commencing in our families, extend outside the family circle, help make up the sum of life’s happiness; and the neglect of these little things makes up the sum of life’s bitterness and sorrow.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 539, 540.

4.b. How do heavenly inspired writings affect our mind? Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 19:7, 8.

Note: “The Bible is our guide in the safe paths that lead to eternal life. God has inspired men to write that which will present the truth to us, which will attract, and which, if practised, will enable the receiver to obtain moral power to rank among the most highly educated minds. The minds of all who make the word of God their study will enlarge. Far more than any other study, this is of a nature to increase the powers of comprehension, and endow every faculty with new vigor. It brings the mind in contact with broad, ennobling principles of truth. It brings us into close connection with all heaven, imparting wisdom, and knowledge, and understanding.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 13, 1898.



5.a. List some of the effects of negative mental foods. Mark 7:20–23; 1 Timothy 5:13.

Note: “It is best for every soul to closely investigate what mental food is served up for him to eat. When those come to you who live to talk, and who are all armed and equipped to say, ‘Report, and we will report it,’ stop and think if the conversation will give spiritual help, spiritual efficiency, that in spiritual communication you may eat of the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. … We are not to be tattlers, or gossipers, or talebearers; we are not to bear false witness. We are forbidden by God to engage in trifling, foolish conversation, in jesting, joking, or speaking any idle words. We must give an account of what we say to God. We will be brought into judgment for our hasty words, that do no good to the speaker or to the hearer. Then let us all speak words that will tend to edification. Remember that you are of value with God. Allow no cheap, foolish talk or wrong principles to compose your Christian experience.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 458.

5.b.  Contrast the results obtained from evil thoughts with those of good thoughts. Luke 6:43–45.

Note: “When Christ took human nature upon Him, He bound humanity to Himself by a tie of love that can never be broken by any power save the choice of man himself. Satan will constantly present allurements to induce us to break this tie—to choose to separate ourselves from Christ. Here is where we need to watch, to strive, to pray, that nothing may entice us to choose another master; for we are always free to do this. But let us keep our eyes fixed upon Christ, and He will preserve us. Looking unto Jesus, we are safe. Nothing can pluck us out of His hand. In constantly beholding Him, we ‘are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).” Steps to Christ, 72.



1    Where do most diseases have their origin, and how can such diseases be avoided?

2    What is the commander of the body, and how is it to be protected?

3    How do decision-making and Bible study affect mental health?

4    Explain why a proper mental diet is important.

Copyright 1995 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – The Mind

April 11 – 17, 2021

Key Text

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

 Study Help: Medical Ministry, 110–117; Selected Messages, Book 2, 349–353.


“The brain nerves which communicate with the entire system are the only medium through which Heaven can communicate to man and affect his inmost life.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 347.



1.a. Where do both good and evil communication and thoughts have their origin? Luke 6:45; Matthew 15:18.

 Note: “The mind controls the whole man. All our actions, good or bad, have their source in the mind. It is the mind that worships God, and allies us to heavenly beings.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 426.

“When the thought of evil is loved and cherished, however secretly, said Jesus, it shows that sin still reigns in the heart. The soul is still in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. He who finds pleasure in dwelling upon scenes of impurity, who indulges the evil thought, the lustful look, may behold in the open sin, with its burden of shame and heart-breaking grief, the true nature of the evil which he has hidden in the chambers of the soul. The season of temptation, under which, it may be, one falls into grievous sin, does not create the evil that is revealed, but only develops or makes manifest that which was hidden and latent in the heart.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 60.

1.b.      What is the function/purpose of the brain? Proverbs 23:7.

Note: “The brain is the capital of the body, the seat of all the nervous forces and of mental action. The nerves proceeding from the brain control the body. By the brain nerves, mental impressions are conveyed to all the nerves of the body as by telegraph wires; and they control the vital action of every part of the system.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 69.

“The brain is the organ and instrument of the mind and controls the whole body. In order for the other parts of the system to be healthy, the brain must be healthy.” Counsels on Health, 586.

“The brain is the citadel of the being.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 299.



2.a. Describe the relationship between the mind and the physical appearance. Proverbs 15:13, first part; Nehemiah 2:2.

2.b. Why is it so important to protect the healthy function of the mind (heart)? How can we do this? Proverbs 4:23, 27.

Note: “The [spiritual] heart is to be carefully kept and guarded. ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul’ (Mark 8:36, 37)? Christ must abide in the heart by faith. His word is the bread of life and the water of salvation. Trust in its fullness comes to us through constant communion with God. By eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ we gain spiritual strength. Christ supplies the lifeblood of the heart, and Christ and the Holy Spirit give nerve power. Begotten again unto a lively hope, imbued with the quickening power of a new nature, the soul is enabled to rise higher and still higher.” Counsels on Health, 593.



3.a. Describe the basic battle of the great controversy within human hearts. Galatians 5:16, 17. Why are we warned in this regard? 1 Corinthians 10:12.

Note: “Satan well knows the material with which he has to deal in the human heart. He knows—for he has studied with fiendish intensity for thousands of years—the points most easily assailed in every character; and through successive generations he has wrought to overthrow the strongest men.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 457.

“In every soul two powers are struggling earnestly for the victory. Unbelief marshals its forces, led by Satan, to cut us off from the Source of our strength. Faith marshals its forces, led by Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Hour by hour, in the sight of the heavenly universe, the conflict goes forward. This is a hand-to-hand fight, and the great question is, Which shall obtain the mastery? This question each must decide for himself. In this warfare all must take a part, fighting on one side or the other. From the conflict there is no release.” Sons and Daughters of God, 328.

3.b. What is Satan doing in these last days? Job 1:7; Revelation 12:12.

Note: “The work of Satan as an accuser began in heaven. This has been his work on earth ever since man’s fall, and it will be his work in a special sense as we approach nearer to the close of this world’s history. As he sees that his time is short, he will work with greater earnestness to deceive and destroy. He is angry when he sees a people on the earth who, even in their weakness and sinfulness, have respect to the law of Jehovah. He is determined that they shall not obey God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 167, 168.

“The temptations of Satan are greater now than ever before, for he knows that his time is short and that very soon every case will be decided, either for life or for death.” Early Writings, 46.



4.a. Explain Satan’s techniques to gain control over the human mind.

  1. Lying: Genesis 3:1–5.
  2. Deception: Matthew 24:4; Acts 5:3.
  3. Flattery and inducements: Luke 4:5, 6.
  4. Threats and intimidation: Acts 4:15–18, 21.
  5. Force: Acts 5:26–29, 40.

Note: “Satan exercised his power of hypnotism over Adam and Eve, and this power he strove to exercise over Christ.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1081.

4.b. Upon whom is Satan focusing his main attention in these last days? Matthew 24:24; Revelation 12:17.

Note: “False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God’s people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Most seducing influences will be exerted; minds will be hypnotized.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 293.

“Satan, surrounded by evil angels, and claiming to be God, will work miracles of all kinds, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. God’s people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan will counterfeit the miracles that will be wrought. God’s tried and tested people will find their power in the sign spoken of in Exodus 31:12–18. They are to take their stand on the living word: ‘It is written.’ This is the only foundation upon which they can stand securely. Those who have broken their covenant with God will in that day be without God and without hope.” Ibid., vol. 9, 16.



5.a. Describe God’s method of developing human mental faculties. Joshua 24:15; Proverbs 23:26; Philippians 2:5.

Note: “The Lord requires His people to use their reason, and not lay it aside for impressions. His work will be intelligible to all His children. His teaching will be such as will commend itself to the understanding of intelligent minds. It is calculated to elevate the mind.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 230.

“God sets before man life and death. He can have his choice.” Early Writings, 221.

“Now we may go into a cellar and stay there and look around into its dark corners, and we can talk of the darkness and say, ‘Oh, it is so dark here,’ and keep talking about it. But will it make it any lighter? Oh, no! What are you going to do? Come out of it; come out of the dark into the upper chamber where the light of God’s countenance shines brightly.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 490, 491.

5.b.      How does God’s method of influencing the mind differ from Satan’s? Isaiah 1:18, 19; John 8:32, 44.

Note: “God does not force the will or judgment of any. He takes no pleasure in a slavish obedience.” The Great Controversy, 541.

“In His dealing with sin, God could employ only righteousness and truth. Satan could use what God could not—flattery and deceit.” Ibid., 498.

“God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan’s constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself.” Ibid., 591.



1    What is the relationship between the mind and the body?

2    Where is the battleground of life’s greatest conflict?

3    What methods does the adversary use to control the will?

4    Discuss God’s methods of developing the human mind in preparation for eternity.

Copyright 1995 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

What Occupies Your Mind?

In the space of one week there are one hundred and sixty-eight hours. If you sleep for eight hours each night you will be asleep for fifty-six hours, leaving another one hundred and twelve hours. God claims twenty-four of those hours to be kept as a Sabbath and that leaves you with eighty-eight hours of your own time each week to do as you will. Possibly half of that time is taken up with employment, but how do you spend that free time and what is it that you do to occupy your mind during those hours each week?

The world today, especially the Christian world, seems to be in a condition very similar to that into which Jesus came as a baby. The minds of the people were engrossed in the common place matters of daily life in this world. This was just as Satan had designed to keep people so busy in their temporal affairs that they would not notice the arrival of the One sent from Heaven, who alone could deliver them from sin. Satan well knew that sin and love of the world would have to be expelled from the hearts of the people in order for the love of God to accomplish its work and make a people ready for salvation. For this reason, all manner of distraction has been invented to blind the eyes of the people and for many centuries the devil has had overwhelming success in his evil deeds.

One of the chief purposes of Jesus in coming to this world was to remove from the heart of man his love for material things and his love of sensual pleasure and replace it with a heart of love for God, which had been lost since our first parents sinned in the Garden of Eden. But the world that Jesus came into did not receive Him because His teaching did not harmonize with that of their man-made religion.

The religion of the Jews in the time of Christ consisted of forms and ceremonies and the offering of sacrifices. These sacrifices, intended to prefigure the great sacrifice that would be offered on the cross of Calvary, were an abomination to God, because they had lost their meaning and were not offered with contrition and humility and in faith of the coming Messiah. Instead, their religion was useless. Jesus told them that their religion was in vain and that they taught for doctrines the commandments of men.

Jesus came to bring an adjustment, a transformation, and He foresaw that at the end of the world the situation would be very similar to the way it was at His first coming. He talked to His disciples about this: “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly, For it will come as a snare [a trap] on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth, Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34–36).

Some manuscripts read in verse 36, “Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may have strength to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

So, what is it that occupies your mind? The choices you make on a daily basis will determine your eternal salvation. It is not enough to have a shallow experience, expecting your religious belief to save you. Unless your religion changes your heart into the likeness of Jesus, that religion will be a trap and a snare.

The Bible describes those at the end of time as having a marvelous religious experience and having the greatest revival of all time. But the majority will meet with a dreadful disappointment when Jesus comes.

Matthew 7:21 to 23 says,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ”

This passage of Scripture is describing religious people. Remember Cain. He was a religious person. In fact, it was religion that got Cain in trouble. In Genesis 4:3 and 4 it says, “In the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering.”

We read in Patriarchs and Prophets, 62, that Adam and Eve and their children came every Sabbath day, the seventh day, to the entrance of the Garden of Eden. There an angel guarded the way and they were prohibited from entering the garden because of sin. However, they came to the entrance where they conducted their worship service. It was on one of these Sabbath days that Abel brought a sacrificial offering and God had respect to Abel and his offering. However, though Cain brought an offering that was valuable, God did not have respect to his offering. It was easy for Abel to bring a lamb for his offering because he was a shepherd. His business was keeping sheep. But Cain was a tiller of the soil and he brought produce from his business.

The problem here was that Abel’s offering showed that he believed not only that he was a sinner, but that he needed a sacrifice, a blood atonement, to pay the price of his sin. The animal sacrifices all were a figure or type of the coming Saviour. Each time an animal was sacrificed at the hand of the penitent one, he saw that animal die at his own hand. The sacrifice was designed to teach the lesson that though we are all sinners and deserve to die, God has made a way that the price has been paid for us. Every animal sacrifice represented the fact that someday the real sacrifice, the Son of God, would pay the price for our sins.

It was known that animal sacrifices did not pay the price of sin. Our first parents knew the sacrificial lambs were just representative of the Savior to come. Cain’s offering made no confession of his sinful condition or acknowledgment that he needed the sacrifice of Christ for him to be given pardon and eternal life.

Cain determined to worship God in his own way, demonstrating his self-sufficiency. Throughout history, and even today, there are many people just like Cain who look and depend on their own achievements for salvation. The Bible teaches that we are helpless to do anything to save ourselves. Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Our eternal salvation depends on a sacrifice. Before Christ died, the people looked forward to the Saviour to come, Jesus, the true sacrifice. Today, we look back dependent on Jesus, the sacrifice that has been made.

What this sacrifice represents and has achieved and what it has established is a huge subject of study. Ellen White says in the first few pages of The Desire of Ages that both the unfallen angels and the redeemed will study the subject of the cross of Christ throughout all of eternity. In fact, she said that eternity itself can never totally reveal the immensity of this subject. Even though it will never be exhausted, we need to study to understand as much as we can because it establishes some things that we must learn if we are going to be saved.

The cross establishes an immutable accountability of the whole human race. Accountability is an unpopular subject in today’s society, but a necessary subject for those preparing for the kingdom of heaven. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, all have obligations that cannot be evaded. Paul wrote, “You were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

If we were bought at a price, we no longer belong to ourselves. The whole race was lost and has been bought from the bondage to Satan and sin. “For by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage” (2 Peter 2:19). “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men” (Romans 5:12).

Because of Christ’s sacrifice the human race no longer belongs to the devil. We are Christ’s possession even if we do not acknowledge the fact. He purchased us so we would no longer have to be slaves to sin. Accountability is needed in this generation. A whole generation of youth and young people are being raised without understanding the concept of accountability. As a result, our country and this world are headed toward a time of trouble like we have never seen or heard of before.

Ellen White wrote in The Review and Herald, September 22, 1891, a few things about accountability. She said, “The life He has given us is a sacred responsibility, and no moment of it is to be trifled with; for we shall have to meet it again in the record of the Judgment. In the books of heaven our lives are as accurately traced as in the picture on the plate of the photographer. Not only are we held accountable for what we have done, but for what we have left undone.” This should bring us to our knees to ask if there are things that have been neglected.

“We are held to account for our undeveloped characters, our unimproved opportunities.” Ibid. God provides people opportunities which He expects to be taken and used. Remember, “There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” (Matthew 10:26, last part).

Moses said, “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). Never think you can sin without meeting it again. No, we are accountable. If you respond to the Holy Spirit and repent and confess your sins and be converted, Jesus Christ will forgive you and your sins will be covered. Later, at the cleansing of the sanctuary, your sins will be blotted out. No sin is ever committed alone in the depth of the night that nobody else in the world knows, for God knows. The wise man said, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

1 Timothy 5:24 says, “Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later.” Those sins that “follow later” are those that are not confessed, not repented of, and not forsaken. One of the biggest games in this world is the attempt to cover sin.

Sins that are not covered cannot be forgiven and will not be blotted out. They will be met again at the Judgment. That judgment of the lost will occur at the end of the millennium and those sins will be revealed. (See Revelation 20:11–15.) Those who are saved will have already been in heaven for a thousand years.

We have no idea what kinds of books or records God has. In this age we have electronic books ourselves. God’s ways are beyond our imagination, but we can be sure His records are exact and there is a time coming when those who have refused the gospel invitation will give an account. Then they will be without excuse, for the evidence will be overwhelming. Every thought and feeling, every motive and comment, every deed done will be laid bare.

Today is the day to learn the lesson of accountability and take hold of the invitation for salvation. We are not only accountable to God, but also to those whom we have wronged. For some reason to admit to our sins is a really hard lesson to learn.

“We must deny self, take up the cross, and follow Jesus. Not one of us can reach heaven, save by the narrow, cross-bearing way. …

“The cross is not to please self; it lies directly across the path of the pleasure-lover, and cuts through our carnal desires and selfish inclinations. The cross rebukes all unfaithfulness in your labors. If you bear the cross of Christ, you will not shun responsibilities or burden-bearing. If you are abiding in Christ, learning in His school, you will not be rude, dishonest, or unfaithful. The cross of Christ cuts to the root of all unholy passions and practices.” The Review and Herald, September 22, 1891.

Notice that those abiding in Christ and learning in His school will not be dishonest, or rude, or unfaithful. Unfortunately, often a person who finds it necessary to tell the truth about something that is unpleasant for a person to hear is considered rude.

The Bible talks about a person who rebukes sin being considered hateful or an undesirable person. However, the Bible teaches that if you are a follower of God, not only do you have love in your heart, but you will have a hatred for sin. Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).

“Whatever the nature of your work, you will carry the principles of Christ into your labor, and identify yourself with the task given into your hands. Your interest will be one with that of your employer. If you are paid for your time, you will realize that the time for work is not your own—but belongs to the one who pays you for it. If you are careless and extravagant, wasting material, squandering time, failing to be painstaking and diligent, you are registered in the books of heaven as an unfaithful servant.

“Those who are unfaithful in the least of temporal affairs, will be unfaithful in responsibilities of greater importance.” The Review and Herald, September 22, 1891.

Jesus said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own” (Luke 16:10–12)?

Our talents belong to God and should be devoted to His service. If we do nothing for our employer except that which is commanded, knowing that the prosperity of the work depends on extra exertion on our part, we fail in being faithful servants.

“There are many things not specified that wait to be done, that come directly under the notice of the one employed. Leaks and losses occur that might be prevented if painstaking diligence and unselfish effort were manifested.” The Review and Herald, September 22, 1891. Ellen White elaborates on this theme of honesty and how it carries over into a person’s service for God. Ephesians 6:6–8 about servants is quoted: “Not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.”

If you are a faithful worker, you will be rewarded by the Lord someday. The real reward is not the wages you may receive in this world, but eternal life. Never forget that you have been bought at an incredibly high price and have an obligation to be a faithful servant.

The question that comes to mind is how will you respond.

Paul’s prayer for the church was, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” (Ephesians 1:17–19).

“That He [God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:16–20).

God wants to do something in you that is beyond anything you can ask or think. Do you appreciate what has been done for you and are you willing to respond to His appeal?

It may not look like it at the present time, but the time is soon coming when the cross of Christ is going to triumph over every opposition in this world. When that happens, will you be a soldier of the cross and triumph with it? Notice what Paul says about this in Philippians chapter 2 verses 9 through 11: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

There is no neutral ground. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30).

There is a war raging between good and evil—righteousness and wickedness. The war is between the government of God and the government of the devil. There are no fence-sitters. Either you are lending your time, your influence, and your money on the devil’s side or putting your energy to the Lord’s side. At the end of time many people will call themselves Christians who will find out when it is too late that they were on the wrong side of the great controversy. You either support God’s side or you are hindering it.

The Christian religion is not a pretend or fairy-tale religion. It deals with reality every passing moment every day of the week and not only the few hours of worship on Sabbath mornings and at prayer meeting. The religion of Jesus Christ permeates every decision you make and everything you do. When that is your experience you will look forward to the day when Satan, the “accuser of the brethren,” will be silenced and you will hear the words of Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:23).

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: historic@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

The Battle for the Mind

Healed by Satan

In the case report which follows, we relate the astounding experience of a Seventh-day Adventist woman who was “healed” through an agent of Satan. We cannot emphasize too strongly that whenever we submit to be healed by one of Satan’s agents the devil does not work His miracles and then leave us alone. Whenever such a miracle takes place the healed one remains in the hands of Satan as his captive.

This experience occurred in Jamaica some years ago, and was told by a now deceased Seventh-day Adventist American missionary minister, John ___. We will refer to him as Elder John.

In Elder John’s church, a Seventh-day Adventist member suffered from a form of palsy which caused her to have a severe and rather disabling tremor, possibly much like Parkinsonism. She asked Elder John if he thought it wise that she consult a certain Jamaican healer who was reputed to have great success in healing all manner of diseases. Quickly Elder John advised her: “No, do not go!” Nevertheless, eventually she went to the healer and was apparently healed of her affliction. She did not fully realize that “the enemy [Satan] is revealed in persons to whom he has given power to work miracles.” Manuscript 125, 1901.

Concurrently with her healing, however, she stopped attending church services. She was very happy about being healed, but at the same time she had lost all interest in spiritual things. The Holy Spirit kept on wooing her, and in due time her lack of interest in spiritual matters began to worry her. She finally became so concerned and frightened that she sent for Elder John. She explained to him that she was greatly troubled, for since her healing she had lost all her desire to read her Bible or attend religious services.

“If I pray for you,” Elder John said, “should it be God’s will would you be willing to have the return of your former affliction, provided you could love God again, and worship with His people?” Undoubtedly, he explained to her how this might happen. “Yes, oh, yes, I would!” she answered. So Elder John offered a brief, sincere prayer in her behalf. Instantly, even during his prayer, she began to tremble with her hands as she had formerly done, indicating that her affliction had returned. However, her mind was once again attracted to the teachings of the Bible and she now desired to return to church to worship with God’s people. She had experienced a reconversion.

Satan Works Miracles

We are told that, where miracles are concerned, we will not be able to depend upon the evidences of our senses—what we see with our eyes and what we hear with our ears. (See The Great Controversy, 625.) We must depend wholly upon the counsels of inspiration; upon a “thus saith the Lord.”

Through His written Word, God clearly reveals that Satan is to work miracles by which he will take the world captive: “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Revelation 13:13, 14.

“Evil angels are working all the time upon the hearts of men. Satan is working with everyone who is not under the control of the Spirit of God. It is the lying wonders of the devil that will take the world captive, and he will cause fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men. He is to work miracles; and this wonderful, miracle-working power is to sweep in the whole world.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 51.

Posing as leader of the Christian world, Satan will cause disease and then apparently heal it: “We are approaching the end of this earth’s history, and Satan is working as never before. He is striving to act as director of the Christian world. With an intensity that is marvelous he is working with his lying wonders. . . . He creates sorrow and suffering and disease. Seeming to change his attributes, he apparently heals those whom he himself has tormented.” Manuscript 125, 1901.

In this connection, note the following passage: “Men under the influence of evil spirits will work miracles. They will make people sick by casting their spell upon them, and will then remove the spell, leading others to say that those who were sick have been miraculously healed. This Satan has done again and again.…These works of apparent healing will bring Seventh-day Adventists to the test.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 53.

These are called apparent works of healing because Satan was instrumental through his agents in the tormenting of or casting a spell upon the sick one, causing the disease which he then apparently heals.

Apparent Healing—a Test

Please note carefully the last sentence of the above quoted passage: “These works of apparent healing will bring Seventh-day Adventists to the test.” Ibid. Who will be brought to the test by works of apparent healing? Specifically, Seventh-Adventists.

As we near the end, Satan will multiply his miracles and his apparent healings. He will, through his agents, appear to cure a great variety of maladies, including such physical disease as cancers and abdominal conditions, as well as psychological and demonic problems. We should not discount all of these healings as wholly fakes, for Satan is to work miracles in our day.

We have, as Seventh-day Adventists, felt secure, thinking that we, who have been warned of these false miracles, will surely recognize them. But let us remember that it is indeed Seventh-day Adventists who will be brought to the test by these miracles. Therefore it behooves us to study carefully and thoroughly the inspired differences between the false and the true.

Satan’s Agents

In these days of Satan’s multiplied deceptions, we need to realize that Satan has chosen agents to whom he gives his satanic power to work miracles. “Men under the influence of evil spirits will work miracles.” Ibid.

“He selects those who have not been drinking of the living waters, whose souls are athirst for something new and strange, and who are ever ready to drink at any fountain that may present itself.” Ibid., 50.

“The Word of God declares that when it suits the enemy’s purpose, he will through his agencies manifest so great a power under a pretense of Christianity that, ‘if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.’ The enemy is revealed in persons whom he has given power to work miracles.” Manuscript 125, 1901.

So great a power to work miracles will be displayed by Satan’s agents, that it will bring the very elect to the test. But let us bear in mind that “though they have power to any and every extent, it does not follow that they have the great power of God.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 51. Therefore, power—even great power—in working miracles is not evidence showing that an agent is a servant of God, or that his miracles are from God. On the contrary, these healings may be performed through “the miracle-working power of the great deceiver.” Ibid. Light and much power are not tests or an evidence that a work is from God.

“I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, ‘Father, give us Thy Spirit.’ Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan’s object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God’s children.” Early Writings, 56.

True light and power experienced by God’s people will be accompanied with sweet love, joy and peace.

Miracles Are Not a Test Indicating God’s Favor

Because there will be both false and true miracles, and true and false agents, having great miracle-working power, miracles, in themselves, are not a test as to whether or not they are true. Yet, Satan will point to his false miracles as evidence that his works are from God: “We are warned that in the last days he will work with signs and lying wonders. And he will continue these wonders until the close of probation, that he may point to them as evidence that he is an angel of light and not of darkness.”
Selected Messages, Book 2, 51.

While Satan and his agents will be pointing to their false miracles as evidence that Satan is the true healer, God’s people will be declaring that miracles in and of themselves, are not proof of a divine origin. Since these false miracles are to be performed before the close of probation we should expect to see them in our day—now! “The works of apparent healing will bring Seventh-day Adventists to the test.” Ibid., 53. Could it be that this testing has already begun in our midst? We must bring every miracle-working claim to the law and to the testimony to determine its origin—including exorcism miracles.

The True Test

“None need be deceived” (Ibid., 50), for Seventh-day Adventists have in their hands the true test of agents, miracles or teachings—the law and the testimony. “Satan gives his power to those who are aiding him in his deceptions; therefore those who claim to have the great power of God can only be discerned by the great detector, the law of Jehovah.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1087.

“To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20.

“Christ says, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.’ If those through whom cures are performed, are disposed, on account of these manifestations, to excuse their neglect of the law of God, and continue in disobedience, though they have power to any and every extent, it does not follow that they have the great power of God. On the contrary, it is the miracle-working power of the great deceiver.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 50, 51.

In fact every statement and every miracle must be tested by God’s Word: “The people of God are directed to the Scriptures as their safeguard against the influence of false teachers and the delusive power of spirits of darkness. Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining a knowledge of the Bible; for its plain utterances reveal his deceptions. At every revival of God’s work the prince of evil is aroused to more intense activity; he is now putting forth his utmost efforts for a final struggle against Christ and His followers. The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.” The Great Controversy, 593.

True Modern Miracles

Why are there so few modern miracles of which God is the author in this our day? If the popular healings are either fraudulent or satanic in origin, does not this offer a splendid opportunity for God’s people to demonstrate genuine miraculous healings? Sister White answers this question: “God’s people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan will counterfeit the miracles that will be wrought.” Medical Ministry, 110.

“The way in which Christ worked was to preach the word, and to relieve suffering by miraculous works of healing. But I am instructed that we cannot now work in this way; for Satan will exercise his power by working miracles. God’s servants today could not work by means of miracles, because spurious works of healing, claiming to be divine, will be wrought.

“For this reason the Lord has marked out a way in which His people are to carry forward a work of physical healing combined with the teaching of the word.” Ibid., 14.

For the reason that Satan will exercise his power in working miracles, and because of the spurious works of healing, claiming to be divine, God’s servants today will not find their safety in working miracles. Perhaps there will be but few genuine healing miracles wrought through the power of God, before that time when the latter rain falls upon God’s purified church, and then “the sick will be healed,” and “signs and wonders will follow the believers.” The Great Controversy, 612.

Sister White explains further that “The world will not be converted by the gift of tongues, or by the working of miracles, but by preaching Christ crucified.” Testimonies to Ministers, 424.

Today, our methods should be the same as were Christ’s: “He would not convert the world by His miracles. His work was to present the Word.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 411. Likewise, our work is to present the Word—Christ crucified.

Are God’s People Ready to Stand?

How sad to read that when Seventh-day Adventists are brought to the test by works of apparent healing, many, even of the members of God’s church, will be among those who will be deceived by Satan’s miracles. Are we prepared to stand during these perilous times?

“Evil angels are upon our track every moment. We expect a readiness on the part of bad men to act as Satan suggests; but while our minds are unguarded against his invisible agents, they assume new ground and work marvels and miracles in our sight. Are we prepared to resist them by the word of God, the only weapon we can use successfully?

“Some will be tempted to receive these wonders as from God. The sick will be healed before us. Miracles will be performed in our sight. Are we prepared for the trial which awaits us when the lying wonders of Satan shall be more fully exhibited? Will not many souls be ensnared and taken? By departing from the plain precepts and commandments of God, and giving heed to fables, the minds of many are preparing to receive these lying wonders. We must all now seek to arm ourselves for the contest in which we must soon engage. Faith in God’s word, prayerfully studied and practically applied, will be our shield from Satan’s power and will bring us off conquerors through the blood of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 302.

“It is fully time that every responsible worker should take his stand firmly on the word of God. This word is to be our defense when Satan works with such lying wonders that if it were possible he would deceive the very elect. It is then that those who have not stood firmly for the truth will unite with the unbelieving who love and make a lie. When these wonders are performed, when the sick are healed and other marvels are wrought, they will be deceived. Are we prepared for the perilous times that are right upon us? or are we standing where we will fall an easy prey to the wiles of the devil?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 352.

What a perilous time this will be for all of us who are living in these last days! “A superficial faith results in a superficial experience. . . . The light given me has been very forcible that many would go out from us, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” Ibid. Let us determine not to be among those having a superficial faith who will go out from us.

The Elect Shall Not Be Deceived

We have the promise that we shall not be deceived if Christ dwells within us: “Every one of us will be sorely tempted; our faith will be tried to the uttermost. We must have a living connection with God; we must be partakers of the divine nature; then we shall not be deceived by the devices of the enemy, and shall escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 50.

“Satan is playing the game of life for every soul.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 264. The battle for our minds will be severe.

“Let not the days pass by and precious opportunities be lost of seeking the Lord with all the heart and mind and soul. If we accept not the truth in the love of it, we may be among the number who will see the miracles wrought by Satan in these last days, and believe them. Many strange things will appear as wonderful miracles, which should be regarded as deceptions manufactured by the father of lies.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 53.

Have we brought the test of the law and the testimony to the miracles claimed by the modern miracle-workers of our day? Even though these men may have great power to any and every extent it may be a power bestowed upon them by the great deceiver. Satan’s agents are pointing to their miracles claiming them to be a test of their authority. Have we carefully compared their methods and miracles with God’s Word? Let us not be among that number who will accept strange things which appear as wonderful miracles, if they ought to be regarded as deceptions manufactured by the father of lies.

“God calls for men of decided fidelity. He has no use in an emergency for two-sided men. He wants men who will lay their hand upon a wrong work and say, ‘This is not according to the will of God.’” Notebook Leaflets, No. 1, 4.

Editor’s Note: Taken from The Battle for the Mind, by Lloyd and Leola Rosenvold. Excerpts from the chapters “Satan is to Work Miracles” and “Healed by Satan.”