Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. Galatians 6:4.
No one can serve God by proxy. There are so many who seem to think that there is someone in this world stronger than Christ, upon whom they can lean. And instead of coming right to Christ, just as they are, giving themselves unreservedly to Him, they reach out for human help. God wants us to have an individual experience…. I cannot work out a character for you, and you cannot work out a character for me.46The General Conference Bulletin, April 23, 1901.
The gospel deals with individuals. Every human being has a soul to save or to lose. Each has an individuality separate and distinct from all others. Each must be convicted for himself, converted for himself. He must receive the truth, repent, believe, and obey for himself. He must exercise his will for himself…. Each must surrender to God by his own act.47Manuscript 28, 1898.
The Lord does not desire that our individuality shall be destroyed; it is not His purpose that any two persons shall be exactly alike in tastes and dispositions. All have characteristics peculiar to themselves, and these are not to be destroyed, but to be trained, molded, fashioned, after the similitude of Christ. The Lord turns the natural aptitudes and capabilities into profitable channels. In the improvement of the faculties God has given, talent and ability are developed if the human agent will recognize the fact that all his powers are an endowment from God, to be used, not for selfish purposes, … but for the glory of God and the good of our fellow men.48Letter 20, 1894.
To every man God—not man—has given his work. This is an individual work—the formation of a character after the divine similitude. The lily is not to strive to be like the rose. There are distinctions in the formation of the flowers and in the fruits, but all derive their peculiar variance from God…. So it is God’s design that even the best of men shall not all be of the same character. A life consecrated to the service of God will be developed and beautified in its individuality.49Manuscript 116, 1898.