Compilation from E. G. White’s books
Thousands pass through life as if they had no great object for which to live, no high standard to reach. One reason for this is the low estimate which they place upon themselves. Christ paid an infinite price for us, and according to the price paid He desires us to value ourselves. –Gospel Workers, p. 291.
Men and women have hardly begun to understand the true object of life. They are attracted by glitter and show. They are ambitious for worldly pre-eminence. To this the true aims of life are sacrificed. Life’s best things, simplicity, honesty, truthfulness, purity, integrity, cannot be bought or sold. They are as free to the ignorant as to the educated, to the humble laborer as to the honored statesman. For everyone God has provided pleasure that may be enjoyed by rich and poor alike, the pleasure found in cultivating pureness of thought and unselfishness of action, the pleasure that comes from speaking sympathizing words and doing kindly deeds. From those who perform such service the light of Christ shines to brighten lives darkened by many shadows. –The Ministry of Healing, p. 198.
The intense passion for money getting, the thirst for display, the luxury and extravagance -all are forces that, with the great mass of mankind, are turning the mind from life’s true purpose. They are opening the door to a thousand evils. Many, absorbed in their interest in worldly treasures, become insensible to the claims of God and the needs of their fellow men. They regard their wealth as a means of glorifying self. They add house to house and land to land; they fill their homes with luxury, while all about them are human beings in misery and crime, in disease and death. –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 90.
With many, the all-absorbing object of life -that which justifies any expenditure of labor, is to appear in the latest style. Education, health, and comfort are sacrificed at the shrine of fashion. –Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 258.
Gluttony and intemperance lie at the foundation of the great moral depravity in our world. Satan is aware of this and he is constantly tempting men and women to indulge the taste at the expense of health and even life itself. Eating, drinking, and dressing are made the aim of life with the world. Just such a state of things existed before the Flood. And this state of dissipation is one of the marked evidences of the soon close of this earth’s history. –Last Day Events, p. 22.
Many parents seek to promote the happiness of their children by gratifying their love of amusement. They allow them to engage in sports, and to attend parties of pleasure, and provide them with money to use freely in display and self-gratification. The more the desire for pleasure is indulged, the stronger it becomes. The interest of these youth is more and more absorbed in amusement, until they come to look upon it as the great object of life. They form habits of idleness and self-indulgence that make it almost impossible for them ever to become steadfast Christians. –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 54.
With worldly youth the love of society and pleasure becomes an absorbing passion. To dress, to visit, to indulge the appetite and passions, and to whirl through the round of social dissipation appear to be the great end of existence. They are unhappy if left in solitude. Their chief desire is to be admired and flattered and to make a sensation in society; and when this desire is not gratified, life seems unendurable.
Those who love society frequently indulge this trait until it becomes an overruling passion. … They cannot endure to read the Bible and contemplate heavenly things. They are miserable unless there is something to excite. They have not within them the power to be happy, but they depend for happiness upon the company of other youth as thoughtless and reckless as themselves. The powers which might be turned to noble purposes they give to folly and mental dissipation. –The Adventist Home, p. 457.
The youth should seriously consider what shall be their purpose and life work, and lay the foundation in such a way that their habits shall be free from taint of corruption. If they would stand in a position where they shall influence others, they must be self-reliant. The lily on the lake strikes its roots down deep beneath the surface of rubbish and slime, and through its porous stem draws those properties that will aid its development, and bring to light its spotless blossom to repose in purity on the bosom of the lake. It refuses all that would tarnish and mar its spotless beauty.
We may learn a lesson from the lily, and although surrounded with influences that would tend to corrupt the morals and bring ruin upon the soul, we may refuse to be corrupted, and place ourselves where evil association shall not corrupt our hearts. Individually the youth should seek for association with those who are toiling upward with unfaltering steps. They should shun the society of those who are absorbing every evil influence, who are inactive and without earnest desire for attainment of a high standard of character, who cannot be relied upon as persons who will be true to principle. Let the youth be found in association with those who fear and love God; for these noble, firm characters are represented by the lily that opens its pure blossom on the bosom of the lake. They refuse to be moulded by the influences that would demoralize, and gather to themselves only that which will aid the development of a pure and noble character. They are seeking to be conformed to the divine model. –Messages to Young People, p. 423.
Dear youth, what is the aim and purpose of your life? Are you ambitious for education that you may have a name and position in the world? Have you thoughts that you dare not express, that you may one day stand upon the summit of intellectual greatness; that you may sit in deliberative and legislative councils, and help to enact laws for the nation? There is nothing wrong in these aspirations. You may every one of you make your mark. You should be content with no mean attainments. Aim high, and spare no pains to reach the standard. –Messages to Young People, p. 36.
If you would secure the grand aim and purpose of life without mistake in your choice or fear of failure, you must make God first and last and best in every plan and work and thought. If you want a path that leads straight into darkness, you have only to cast the light of God behind you, live without God. When God points out your path and says, “This is your way of safety and peace,” you have only to set your face in an opposite direction from the way of the Lord and your feet will take hold on perdition. The voice of the Lamb of God is heard speaking to us, “Follow Me, and ye shall not walk in darkness.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 167.
He who created man has provided for his development in body and mind and soul. Hence, real success in education depends upon the fidelity with which men carry out the Creator’s plan. In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man. It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised, and a life of probation was granted to man. To bring him back to the perfection in which he was first created is the great object of life -the object that underlies every other. It is the work of parents and teachers, in the education of the youth, to co-operate with the divine purpose; and in so doing they are “laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 595.
But that which above all other considerations should lead us to prize the Bible is that in it is revealed to men the will of God. Here we learn the object of our creation and the means by which that object may be attained. We learn how to improve wisely the present life and how to secure the future life. No other book can satisfy the questionings of the mind or the cravings of the heart. By obtaining a knowledge of God’s Word and giving heed thereto, men may rise from the lowest depths of degradation to become the sons of God, the associates of sinless angels. –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 90.
From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,–power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring, -how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass,” it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows.
A careful study of the working out of God’s purpose in the history of nations and in the revelation of things to come, will help us to estimate at their true value things seen and things unseen, and to learn what is the true aim of life. Thus, viewing the things of time in the light of eternity, we may, like Daniel and his fellows, live for that which is true and noble and enduring. And learning in this life the principles of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, that blessed kingdom which is to endure for ever and ever, we may be prepared at His coming to enter with Him into its possession. –Prophets and Kings, p. 548.
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. –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 795.
The lifework given us is that of preparation for the life eternal. If we accomplish this work as God designs we shall, every temptation may work for our advancement; for as we resist its allurements, we make progress in the divine life. In the heat of the conflict, unseen agencies will be by our side, commanded of heaven to aid us in our wrestlings; and in the crisis, strength and firmness and energy will be imparted to us, and we shall have more than mortal power. …
The Holy Spirit is ever at work, seeking to purify, refine, and discipline the souls of men, in order that they may become fitted for the society of saints and angels. –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 209.