Where Can We Turn for Guidance?
WHO can point the way to real success—not success in a secular sense but success as a person? As mentioned in the preceding article, true success, at the very least, must be linked to sound ethical principles and a noble purpose in life—things that do not depend on fame, fortune, or power.
Where can we find sound principles and answers to questions about life’s purpose? Is it by looking within ourselves? Let’s face it—as imperfect humans, we are prone to wrong desires that can lead us down the wrong path. (Genesis 8:21) Hence, millions continue to pursue the vanities that the Bible describes as “the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life.” (1 John 2:16) That is not the way of real success but is a counterfeit that leads to disillusionment and unhappiness. For good reason, then, many look to our Creator for the answers to life’s more profound questions. *
Should We Look to God?
Why is it reasonable to look to our Creator? He knows why he formed us and, therefore, what our purpose in life ought to be. He also knows how he formed us—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Thus, God knows the very best precepts that humans can live by. Moreover, God is the very embodiment of love, and therefore he wants us to be truly happy and successful. (1 John 4:8) Where can we turn for his loving guidance? To the Holy Bible, which God prepared for us using some 40 human penmen, or secretaries. * (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) How, though, can we be confident of the guidance found in that book?
“Wisdom is proved righteous by its works,” or results, said Jesus Christ, the foremost representative of God. (Matthew 11:19; John 7:29) Godly wisdom leads us along the way of success and lasting happiness—“the entire course of what is good”—whereas human wisdom that ignores God leads to failure and unhappiness.—Proverbs 2:8, 9; Jeremiah 8:9.
Consider the hippie era, which emerged on the world scene in the 1960’s. Rejecting the standards and authority of the older generation, many hippies promoted, among other things, the use of drugs, a live-for-now philosophy, and sexual freedom. But did that way of life manifest true wisdom? Did it give people a real purpose in life and ethical standards that fostered genuine inner peace and lasting happiness? History suggests that it did not change people for the better but contributed to the ongoing moral deterioration of human society.—2 Timothy 3:1-5.
In contrast with human philosophies, Biblical wisdom has withstood the test of time. (Isaiah 40:8) As you read the following article, you will likely see why, for it discusses six Bible principles that have helped millions of people, from virtually all nations, to become truly happy and successful—regardless of their economic or social status.
^ par. 5 See the November 2007 special issue of this magazine, which discusses the theme “Can You Trust the Bible?” The articles in that issue provide archaeological, historical, scientific, and other evidence that the Bible truly is inspired of God.
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BELIEFS THAT DEVALUE THE NOTION OF SUCCESS
Many people assert that there is no God and that life is a result of mindless evolution. If this view were true, life would simply be a product of a string of chemical and biological accidents, and our search for purpose and universal principles would be completely pointless.
Others believe that God created us and then abandoned us. In effect, this opinion renders us spiritual orphans, once again bereft of true purpose and standards. Consider: God provided each member of the animal kingdom with the instinctive wisdom needed to fulfill its niche in nature. As a result, his profound wisdom is manifest in the world around us. Would that same Creator form us and then leave us to flounder in the dark? By no means!—Romans 1:19, 20.
By rendering our search for purpose and universal principles futile, atheistic philosophies cheapen the very notion of success.
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The wisdom found in the Bible is proved sound by its good results