The Bible says that its counsel is inspired and “beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Is that true? Consider how Biblical wisdom has helped people to avoid some of life’s hardest problems before they became entrenched.
MISUSE OF ALCOHOL
Delphine, mentioned in the preceding article, felt that her anxieties were pushing her toward overdrinking. The Bible does not condemn the moderate use of alcohol, but it says: “Do not be among those who drink too much wine.” (Proverbs 23:20) Misuse of alcohol has been linked to serious health problems, broken and damaged relationships, and millions of untimely deaths each year. Much of this trouble could be avoided if people followed the Bible’s wise advice.
Delphine did. She now says: “I realized that the alcohol was not solving my anxiety. I applied the wisdom of Philippians 4:6, 7, which says: ‘Do not be anxious over anything, but . . . let your petitions be made known to God.’ Each night when I felt my thoughts racing and anxiety rising, I petitioned Jehovah. I defined all my feelings, including anger, hurt, and despair, and I pleaded with him to help me find ways to feel more positive. In the morning, I made sure that I had truly let go of those feelings. That habit seemed to focus my mind on what I had rather than on what I did not have. I chose never to drink alcohol again. Because the peace that I found was so precious, I just could not risk losing it.”
Few problems cause as much heartbreak and misery. But Bible principles can help us avoid such problems by addressing some of the leading causes—for example, inappropriate flirting and pornography. “It was so easy to flirt,” says a young man named Samuel. “Sometimes I was not attracted to the other person, but I could tell that she liked me—and that made it entertaining to flirt.” Samuel found that he was accused of flirting so often—even when he did not intend to—that he finally decided to go ahead and flirt on purpose. But the habit bothered him. “It was harmful,” he now says, “because it develops very selfish tendencies.”
Samuel read an article for young people published on the website jw.org. And he thought about Proverbs 20:11, which says: “Even a child [or, “boy,” footnote] is known by his actions, whether his behavior is pure and right.” How did that help? Samuel realized that his flirting was neither pure nor right. He now says: “I also learned that a youth who flirts is developing qualities that make for being a bad marriage mate. I started thinking how my future wife would feel if she saw me flirting with another woman. That made me realize that the habit is not harmless. The fact that it’s easy doesn’t make it right.” Samuel changed. Avoiding flirting has also helped him to avoid immorality.
Antonio was in even greater danger from immorality: He was addicted to pornography. Although he was married to a woman he dearly loved, he found himself giving in to that habit again and again. He says that thinking about 1 Peter 5:8 really helped him. It says: “Keep your senses, be watchful! Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” Antonio comments: “Pornographic images are all around us in this world, and those images can stick in the mind. That verse really helped me to think about the source of these temptations. I needed to make it a reflex to associate those dirty images with their despicable source. Now I know that only Jehovah can help me ‘keep my senses and be watchful’ so that I can fight off those attacks on my mind, my heart, and my marriage.” Antonio received the help he needed, and at last he has put his bad habit behind him. That, in turn, has helped him to avoid even worse troubles.
Clearly, the Bible provides practical advice that can help us avoid serious problems. But what about problems that have already taken root and prove to be persistent? Let us see how God’s Word can help us to resolve such difficult issues.
The Bible’s practical guidance can help us avoid some problems