The Young Mans Guide to the Harmonious Development of Christian Character

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Thoughts lift your soul heavenward, or drag you toward hell. No principle of life was more constantly emphasized by the Great Teacher than the necessity of right thinking. To Him, the man was not what he appeared to be outwardly, nor what he professed to be by his words: what the man thought determined in all cases what the man was. Whether found out or not, all who commit sin pay the penalty of sin and of indiscretion. The intent that precedes the act leaves its indelible impression upon the character. No one can hide from his thoughts, nor escape from their inevitable consequences.

The Savior knew that if the mind could be directed rightly; if the evil thought and tendency could be resisted, the evil act would be minimized. Jesus does not lessen the seriousness of these acts, nor say that we should not punish them; but he emphasizes the greater need of keeping the thought clean, the mind pure. An evil tree will bring forth evil fruit; a good tree will bring forth good fruit.

Keep the tree pure, the thoughts pure, and the fruit will be pure and the life pure. An upright character is the result only of continued effort and right thinking, the effect of long-cherished associations with Godlike thoughts. Little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown by eruption. The rain does not fall in masses but in drops; the planets do not leap in their orbits, but inch by inch and line by line they circle the orbits.


The great lesson to be learned in the world today is to apply in the little acts and duties of life the glorious principles of the Gospel. Let us not think that, because some of the things may seem small and trivial, they are unimportant. Life, after all, is made up of little things. Our life, our being, physically, is made up of little heart beats. Let that little heart stop beating, and life in this world ceases. The great sun is a mighty force in the universe, but we receive the blessings of his rays because they come to us as little beams, which, taken in the aggregate, fill the whole world with sunlight.

What a man is today will largely determine what he will be tomorrow. What he has been during the past year to a great extent marks his course throughout the year before him. Day by day, hour by hour, man builds the character that will determine his place and standing among his associates throughout the ages. Character is built by adherence to principles. Character grows from within just as a tree grows, just as every living thing grows.

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There is no outward thing to be put on to make yourself beautiful; [products from] the drug store [help], it is true, but it is only superficial and temporary. Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator—individuality, power to think and to do. The men in whom this power is developed are the men who bear responsibilities, who are leaders in enterprise, and who influence character. It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men's thought.

Instead of confining their study to that which men have said or written, let students be directed to the sources of truth, to the vast fields opened for research in nature and revelation.

Teachings of David O. McKay

Let them contemplate the great facts of duty and destiny, and the mind will expand and strengthen. Instead of educated weaklings, institutions of learning may send forth men strong to think and to act, men who are masters and not slaves of circumstances, men who possess breadth of mind, clearness of thought, and the courage of their convictions. Such an education provides more than mental discipline; it provides more than physical training. It strengthens the character, so that truth and uprightness are not sacrificed to selfish desire or worldly ambition.

It fortifies the mind against evil. Instead of some master passion becoming a power to destroy, every motive and desire are brought into conformity to the great principles of right. As the perfection of His character is dwelt upon, the mind is renewed, and the soul is re-created in the image of God. What education can be higher than this? What can equal it in value?

It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, With the precious onyx, or the sapphire.

The gold and the crystal cannot equal it And the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: For the price of wisdom is above rubies. Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children. Godliness—godlikeness—is the goal to be reached.

President Nelson’s 95th Birthday Celebration

Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress. He has an object to achieve, a standard to attain, that includes everything good, and pure, and noble. He will advance as fast and as far as possible in every branch of true knowledge. But his efforts will be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth. He who co-operates with the divine purpose in imparting to the youth a knowledge of God, and molding the character into harmony with His, does a high and noble work.

As he awakens a desire to reach God's ideal, he presents an education that is as high as heaven and as broad as the universe; an education that cannot be completed in this life, but that will be continued in the life to come; an education that secures to the successful student his passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher grade, the school above. No translate. Previous Next. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Switch chapters automatically Close.

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Education — Ellen G. White Writings

Character grows from within just as a tree grows, just as every living thing grows. There is no outward thing to be put on to make yourself beautiful; [products from] the drug store [help], it is true, but it is only superficial and temporary. In the building of character as in the transforming of a landscape, the laws of peace and of happiness are ever operative. Effort, self-denial, and purposeful action are the stepping-stones of progress. Indulgence and sin are vandals and destroyers of character. Only regret and remorse follow in their wake. Self-control means the government and regulation of all our natural appetites, desires, passions, and affections; and there is nothing that gives a man such strength of character as the sense of self-conquest, the realization that he can make his appetites and passions serve him and that he is not a servant to them.

This virtue includes temperance, abstinence, bravery, fortitude, hopefulness, sobriety, chastity, independence, tolerance, patience, submission, continence, purity. What is the crowning glory of man in this earth so far as his individual achievement is concerned? It should not be the development of physical prowess, nor of intellectual strength, but his aim, the highest in life, should be the development of a Christ-like character. Children at birth are the most dependent and helpless of all creatures, yet they are the sweetest and greatest of all things in the world.

As a child grows physically by eating regularly at intervals, by breathing fresh air constantly, by resting at stated intervals, so character is built by little things, by daily contacts, by an influence here, a fact or truth there.

Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2

Fundamentally, our characters are formed in the home. The family is a divine organization. Home is the factory where these products are made. Of what infinite value to the community are teachers and trainers of youth who carve and shape the moral atmosphere in which the people live. Flowers shed beauty and fragrance for a brief time, then fade and die and are gone forever; but children who, through instruction from noble teachers, become imbued with eternal principles of truth, radiate an influence for good which, like their own souls, will live forever.

How can we incorporate these traits into our own lives? Why are noble thoughts the foundation for building a Christlike character? What can we do to develop pure thoughts? What can you do every day to become more Christlike? In what ways is obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ a critical factor in developing strength of character?

How do self-control and service contribute to this development? What can we as parents and teachers do to help young people build a Christlike character? This Page MP3. Text Settings.