“The youth need to be instructed, carefully and prayerfully, that they may build their characters upon the abiding foundation. The reason so many make grievous blunders is that they do not heed the teachings of experience. The counsel of parents and teachers is lost upon them, and they yield to the temptations of the enemy. God loves the youth. He sees in them great possibilities for good, if they will realize their need of Christ, and build upon the sure foundation. He also knows their trials. He knows that they will have to battle against the powers of darkness, that strive to gain control of the human mind; and he has opened the way by which young men and young women may become partakers of the divine nature. The good they may accomplish by uniting themselves to Christ they will never know until, as overcomers, they enter the kingdom of Christ.
“Character does not come by chance. It is not determined by one outburst of temper, one step in the wrong direction. It is the repetition of the act that causes it to become habit, and molds the character either for good or for evil. Right characters can be formed only by persevering, untiring effort, by improving every entrusted talent and capability to the glory of God. Instead of doing this, many allow themselves to drift wherever impulse or circumstances may carry them. This is not because they are lacking in good material, but because they do not realize that in their youth God wants them to do their very best. If the youth today would stand as Daniel stood, they must put to the stretch every spiritual nerve and muscle. The Lord does not desire that they shall remain novices. He wishes them to reach the highest point of excellence. He desires them to reach the very highest round of the ladder, that they may step from it into the kingdom of God.
“The youth who leave their homes, and are no longer under the watch-care of their parents, are to a large extent left to choose their own associates. They should remember that the eye of their Heavenly Father is upon them, and that he sees their every necessity, their every temptation. There are always to be found in schools some youth who, by their course of action, reveal that their minds are cast in an inferior mold. Through unwise training in childhood, they have developed one-sided characters; and as they have advanced in years, these defects have remained to mar their experience. By precept and example, these souls lead astray those who are weak in moral power.
“Time is golden, dear youth. You must not imperil your souls by sowing wild oats. You can not afford to be careless in regard to the companions you choose. Dwell upon that which is noble in the characters of others, and these traits will become to you a moral power in resisting the evil and choosing the good. Set your mark high. Your parents and teachers, who love and fear God, may follow you with their prayers day and night, they may entreat and warn you; but all this will be in vain if you choose reckless associates. If you see no real danger, and think you can do right as well as wrong, just as you choose, you will not discern that the leaven of wickedness is insidiously tainting and corrupting your mind.
“Christ was afflicted, insulted, abused; on the right hand and on the left he was assailed by temptation, yet he sinned not, but presented to God a perfect obedience, that was entirely satisfactory. By this he removed forever every semblance of excuse for disobedience. He came to show man how to obey, how to keep all the commandments. He lay hold of divine power, and this is the sinner’s only hope. He gave his life that man might be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
“God has given the youth talents to improve for his glory; but many apply these gifts to unsanctified, unholy purposes. Many have abilities which, if cultivated, would yield a rich harvest of mental, moral, and physical acquirements. But they do not stop to consider. They do not count the cost of their course of action. They encourage a recklessness and folly that will not listen to counsel or reproof. This is a terrible mistake. Young men would be sober-minded if they realized that God’s eye is upon them, that angels of God are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth.”
The Youth’s Instructor July 1899 by E. G. White.