Why Live by Bible Standards?
You’re in the cafeteria eating lunch with two girls at school when the new boy walks in.
“You know, Brett really likes you,” the first girl says to you. “I can tell by the way he stares at you. His eyes are all over you!”
“And guess what?” the second girl whispers as she leans toward you. “He’s available!”
You already suspected all of that. After all, just the other day Brett invited you to his house for a party. You declined, of course, although you secretly wondered what it would have been like.
The first girl interrupts your thoughts.
“Too bad I’m not available,” she says. “I’d go out with Brett in a heartbeat.”
Then she looks at you, puzzled. You know what’s coming.
“Hey, how come you don’t have a boyfriend?” she asks.
You dread that question! The fact is, you’d like to have a boyfriend. But you’ve been told that it’s best to wait until you’re ready for marriage before you start dating. If only it weren’t for . . .
“Your religion, right?” the second girl says.
‘Was she reading my mind?’ you think to yourself.
“With you it’s always Bible, Bible, Bible,” she taunts. “Why can’t you have a little fun sometimes?”
HAVE you ever been ridiculed because of trying to live by Bible standards? If so, perhaps you wondered if you were missing out on something. A youth named Deborah felt that way. “Bible standards felt restrictive,” she recalls. “My school friends’ uninhibited lifestyle appealed to me.”
A Reality Check
Experience is not always the best teacher. In fact, it’s both wise and Scriptural to learn from the mistakes of others, as did the psalmist Asaph. For a time, he felt that God’s standards were too restrictive. But examining the course of those who had abandoned God’s ways gave him a reality check. Asaph later concluded that they were on “slippery ground.”—Psalm 73:18.
With that in mind, consider the following comments from youths who, for a time, abandoned Bible standards and became involved in premarital sex.
● What factors influenced your thinking and actions?
Deborah: “I went through school seeing everyone else having boyfriends and girlfriends, and they seemed to be happy. When I hung out with them and saw them kissing and embracing, I felt jealous and lonely. I often allowed myself to spend hours fantasizing about a certain boy I liked. This heightened my desire to be with him.”
Mike: “I read material and watched programs that glorified sex. Talking about sex with my friends heightened my curiosity. Then, when I was alone with a girl, I’d think that I could be physically intimate with her without having sex, that I could stop anytime.”
Andrew: “I habitually viewed pornography on the Internet. I started drinking a lot of alcohol. And I attended parties with youths who had little respect for the Bible’s moral standards.”
Tracy: “I knew in my mind that premarital sex was wrong, but I didn’t hate it. I didn’t intend to start a sexual relationship before marriage, but my emotions overrode my thinking. For a while, my conscience was numb to any feelings of guilt.”
● Did your lifestyle make you happy?
Deborah: “At first, I felt a rush of freedom and was happy that I finally fit in with my peers. But those feelings didn’t last. I started to feel dirty, robbed of innocence, empty. I felt a deep sense of regret that I’d thrown away my virginity.”
Andrew: “It became easier and easier to act on wrong desires. But at the same time, I was consumed with feelings of guilt and was disappointed with myself.”
Tracy: “Immorality ruined my youth. I thought that my boyfriend and I would have such fun. We didn’t. We ended up causing each other pain, misery, and heartache. I spent night after night sobbing in bed, wishing I’d done things Jehovah’s way.”
Mike: “I started to feel like part of me had died. I tried to disregard the effect my actions were having on others, but I couldn’t. It pained me to realize that in seeking my own pleasure, I was hurting others.”
● What advice would you give to youths who wonder if the Bible’s moral standards are too restrictive?
Tracy: “Live by Jehovah’s standards, and associate with people who do the same. You will be happier that way.”
Deborah: “It’s not just about you and what you want. Your actions will affect others. And if you ignore God’s advice, you will damage yourself.”
Andrew: “When you’re inexperienced, you think your peers’ lifestyle is exciting. Their attitudes will rub off on you. So choose your friends wisely. Trust Jehovah, and you’ll save yourself a lot of regrets.”
Mike: “Among the most valuable possessions Jehovah gives you are your dignity and innocence. To throw those gifts away because you can’t control yourself is to sell yourself cheap. Talk to your parents and other mature people about your problems. If you make a mistake, be quick to speak up and correct the situation. If you do things Jehovah’s way, you will gain a real sense of peace.”
Bible Standards—Straitjacket or Seat Belt?
Jehovah is “the happy God,” and he wants you to be happy too. (1 Timothy 1:11; Ecclesiastes 11:9) The standards recorded in the Bible are for your benefit. True, you could view them as a straitjacket that limits your freedom. In reality, though, the Bible’s moral code is more like a seat belt that helps protect you from harm.
Certainly, you can trust the Bible. If you choose to live by its standards, you’ll not only make Jehovah happy but also benefit yourself.—Isaiah 48:17.
You can be God’s friend. Find out how.
“I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself.”—Isaiah 48:17.
Think of how you would defend the wisdom of Bible standards to a younger sibling. Speaking about your beliefs is a powerful way to solidify them in your heart.
DID YOU KNOW . . . ?
It takes only moments to damage your relationship with Jehovah, but it could take years to repair it.
To help me understand the wisdom of Bible standards, I will ․․․․․
If I start to envy those who live by the world’s standards, I will ․․․․․
What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
● When it comes to the consequences of disobeying God’s laws, why is personal experience not the best teacher?
● What do you learn from the comments of Deborah, Mike, Andrew, and Tracy?
● Why might some people view Bible standards as a straitjacket, but why is that view shortsighted?
[Blurb on page 285]
“The despair of being disciplined for wrongdoing isn’t as bad as the pain of trying to hide it.”—Donna
[Pictures on page 288]
Bible standards don’t restrict your happiness; they protect you