“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). …
All heaven is cognizant of every thought and every action. Your actions may be unseen by your associates, but they are all open to the inspection of angels. The angels are commissioned to minister unto those who are striving to overcome every wrong habit, and stand clear from the devices of Satan.
The power of little acts of evil, of small inconsistencies to mold character, are not estimated as they should be. The grandest and most elevated principles are revealed to us in the word of God. They are given to us to strengthen every effort for good, to control and balance the mind, to lead us to aspire to reach a high standard.
In the history of Joseph, Daniel, and his fellows, we see how the golden chain of truth may bind the youth to the throne of God. They could not be tempted to turn aside from their course of integrity. They valued the favor of God above the favor and praise of princes, and God loved them and spread His shield over them. Because of their faithful integrity, because of their determination to honor God above every human power, the Lord signally honored them before men. They were honored by the Lord God of hosts, whose power is over all the works of His hand in heaven above and the earth beneath. These youth were not ashamed to display their true colors. Even in the court of the king, in their words, their habits, their practices, they confessed their faith in the Lord God of heaven. They refused to bow to any earthly mandate that detracted from the honor of God. They had strength from heaven to confess their allegiance to God.
You should be prepared to follow the example of these noble youth. Never be ashamed of your colors; put them on, unfurl them to the gaze of men and angels. Do not be controlled by false modesty, by false prudence which suggests to you a course of action contrary to this advice. By your choice words and a consistent course of action, by your propriety, your earnest piety, make a telling confession of your faith, determined that Christ shall occupy the throne in the soul temple; and lay your talents without reserve at His feet to be employed in His service.
For your present and eternal good it is best to commit yourself wholly to the right, that the world may know where you are standing. Many are not wholly committed to the cause of God, and their position of wavering is a source of weakness in itself, and a stone of stumbling to others. With principles unsettled, unconsecrated as they are, the waves of temptation sweep them away from what they know to be right, and they do not make holy endeavor to overcome every wrong, and through the imputed righteousness of Christ, perfect a righteous character.
The world has a right to know just what may be expected from every intelligent human being. He who is a living embodiment of firm, decided, righteous principles, will be a living power upon his associates; and he will influence others by his Christianity. Many do not discern and appreciate how great is the influence of each one for good or evil. …
Assert Your Liberty
Make it the law of your life from which no temptation or side interest shall cause you to turn, to honor God, because He “so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). As a redeemed, free moral agent, ransomed by an infinite price, God calls upon you to assert your liberty, and employ your God-given powers as a free subject of the kingdom of heaven. Be no longer under the thralldom of sin, but as a loyal subject to the King of kings, prove your loyalty to God.
Through Jesus Christ show that you are worthy of the sacred trust with which the Lord has honored you in bestowing upon you life and grace. You are to refuse to be in subjection to the power of evil. As soldiers of Christ we must deliberately and intelligently accept His terms of salvation under every circumstance, cherish right principles, and act upon them. Divine wisdom is to be a lamp to your feet. Be true to yourselves, be true to your God. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken; but rooted and grounded in the truth, you will abide with those things that cannot be shaken. The law of God is steadfast, unalterable; for it is the expression of the character of Jehovah. Make up your mind that you will not by word or influence cast the least dishonor upon its authority.
To have the religion of Christ means that you have absolutely surrendered your all to God, and consented to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit moral power will be given you, and not only will you have your former intrusted talents for the service of God, but their efficiency will be greatly multiplied. The surrender of all our powers to God greatly simplifies the problem of life. It weakens and cuts short a thousand struggles with the passions of the natural heart. Religion is as a golden cord that binds the souls of both youth and aged to Christ. Through it the willing and obedient are brought safely through dark and intricate paths to the city of God.
There are youth who have only common faculties, and yet by education and discipline under teachers who are actuated by high and pure principles, they may come forth from the training process qualified for some position of trust to which God has called them. But there are young men who will make a failure because they have not determined to overcome natural inclinations, and they will not listen to the voice of God in His word. They have not barricaded their souls against temptation, and determined to do their duty at all hazards. They are like one who in a perilous journey refuses any guide or instruction whereby he may escape accident and ruin, and goes on in a certain course of destruction.
Choosing Your Destiny
O that every one might realize that he is the arbiter of his own destiny! Your happiness for this life, and for the future, immortal life lies with yourself. If you choose, you may have associates who, by their influence, will cheapen your thoughts, your words, and your morals. You can give loose rein to appetite and passion, despise authority, use coarse language, and degrade yourself to the lowest level. Your influence may be such as to contaminate others, and you may be the cause of ruining those whom you might have brought to Christ. You may lead from Christ, from right, from holiness, and from heaven. In the judgment the lost may point to you and say, “If it had not been for his influence, I would not have stumbled and made a mock of religion. He had light, he knew the way to heaven. I was ignorant, and went blindfolded on my way to destruction.” O, what answer can we give to such a charge? How important it is that every one shall consider where he is leading souls. We are in view of the eternal world, and how diligently we should count the cost of our influence. We should not drop eternity out of our reckoning, but accustom ourselves to ask continually, Will this course be pleasing to God? What will be the influence of my action upon the minds of those who have had much less light and evidence as to what is right?
Messages to Young People, 27–32.