Finding Security in a Risk-Filled World
TO WALK in a minefield can be deadly. Would it not make a difference, though, if you had a map that showed the locations of the land mines? Additionally, suppose you had been trained to identify the various mines. Clearly, such knowledge would considerably reduce the risk of your being maimed or killed.
The Bible can be compared to that map along with the training on mine identification. The Bible contains wisdom that is unsurpassed when it comes to avoiding the perils and handling the problems that arise in life.
Note this reassuring promise found at Proverbs 2:10, 11: “When wisdom enters into your heart and knowledge itself becomes pleasant to your very soul, thinking ability itself will keep guard over you, discernment itself will safeguard you.” The wisdom and discernment mentioned here are not of human origin but of divine origin. “As for the one listening to [godly wisdom], he will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.” (Proverbs 1:33) Let us see how the Bible can enhance our security and help us avoid many problems.
Avoiding Deadly Accidents
Figures recently published by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the global annual mortality caused by traffic accidents is about 1,171,000. Nearly 40 million others are injured, and just over 8 million suffer long-term disability.
Although absolute safety while driving is impossible, our personal security is enhanced considerably when we obey traffic laws. Speaking of the governmental authorities, who set and enforce traffic laws, the Bible says: “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities.” (Romans 13:1) Motorists who abide by this counsel reduce the risk of having an accident, with its often ghastly consequences.
Another inducement to drive safely is respect for life. The Bible says of Jehovah God: “With you is the source of life.” (Psalm 36:9) So life is a divine gift. Consequently, we have no right to take that gift away from anyone or to show disrespect for life, including, of course, our own.—Genesis 9:5, 6.
Naturally, respect for human life includes making sure that our car and home are as safe as is reasonably possible. In ancient Israel, safety was a high priority in all aspects of life. For example, when a house was built, God’s Law required that its roof—a place of considerable family activity—have a parapet. “You must also make a parapet for your roof, that you may not place bloodguilt upon your house because someone . . . might fall from it.” (Deuteronomy 22:8) If someone fell because this safety law had not been observed, God held the owner responsible. No doubt, application of the loving principle embodied in this law would minimize accidents at the workplace or even in recreation.
Combating Deadly Addictions
According to WHO, there are now over a billion smokers in the world, and some four million deaths a year can be attributed to tobacco. This figure is expected to rise to about 10 million over the next 20 to 30 years. Millions of other smokers, as well as users of “recreational” drugs, will ruin their health and quality of life because of their addictions.
While God’s Word does not specifically mention tobacco use and drug abuse, its principles can protect us from these practices. For instance, 2 Corinthians 7:1 advises: “Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.” There is no question that tobacco and drugs pollute, or defile, the flesh with many harmful chemicals. What is more, God wants our bodies to be “holy,” which means pure and clean. (Romans 12:1) Do you not agree that applying these principles will reduce a significant risk to one’s life?
Overcoming Risky Habits
Many people are given to extremes in eating and drinking. The consequences of overeating can include diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The abuse of alcohol leads to additional problems, such as alcoholism, cirrhosis, broken families, and traffic accidents. At the other extreme, obsessive dieting can also be harmful and can open the door to such life-threatening eating disorders as anorexia nervosa.
Though the Bible is not a medical textbook, it does give straightforward advice on the need for moderation in eating and drinking. “You, O my son, hear and become wise, and lead your heart on in the way. Do not come to be among heavy drinkers of wine, among those who are gluttonous eaters of flesh. For a drunkard and a glutton will come to poverty.” (Proverbs 23:19-21) Yet, the Bible says that eating and drinking ought to be pleasurable. “Every man should eat and indeed drink and see good for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.”—Ecclesiastes 3:13.
The Bible also encourages a balanced attitude toward physical exercise, affirming that “bodily training is beneficial for a little.” But it adds: “Godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) ‘How,’ you may ask, ‘is godly devotion beneficial even now?’ In many ways. Besides adding a vital spiritual dimension to one’s life, godly devotion nurtures such beneficial qualities as love, joy, peace, and self-control—all of which contribute to a positive outlook and good health.—Galatians 5:22, 23.
Bitter Consequences of Immorality
Today, millions have abandoned all moral restraint. The AIDS epidemic is one of the consequences. According to WHO, over 16 million have died since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, and at present, about 34 million are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Many AIDS sufferers contracted the disease through promiscuous sexual activity, contaminated syringes used by drug addicts, or tainted blood transfusions.
Other consequences of loose morals include herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis. Although such medical terms were not used in Bible times, the target organs of certain sexually transmitted diseases common at the time were known. For example, Proverbs 7:23 describes the fearsome consequence of fornication as ‘an arrow cleaving open the liver.’ Syphilis commonly attacks the liver, as does hepatitis. Yes, how timely and loving is the Bible’s counsel that Christians ‘abstain from blood and from fornication’!—Acts 15:28, 29.
The Snare of the Love of Money
In an effort to get rich quickly, many people take big risks with their money. Sadly, taking such risks often leads to financial loss or ruin. To the servant of God, however, the Bible says: “Let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work, that he may have something to distribute to someone in need.” (Ephesians 4:28) True, the hard worker may not always become wealthy. Yet, he has peace of mind, self-respect, and perhaps even funds that he can donate to a worthy cause.
The Bible warns: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have . . . stabbed themselves all over with many pains.” (1 Timothy 6:9, 10) There is no denying that many “who are determined to be rich” do get rich. But at what cost? Is it not true that their health, family, spirituality, and even the quality of their sleep suffer?—Ecclesiastes 5:12.
A wise person realizes that “life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Money and some possessions are necessary in most societies. In fact, the Bible states that “money is for a protection,” but it adds that “the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12) Unlike money, the right knowledge and wisdom can help us in all circumstances, but especially in matters affecting our life.—Proverbs 4:5-9.
When Wisdom Alone Will Protect Us
True wisdom will soon ‘preserve alive its owners’ in an unprecedented way—protection through the fast-approaching “great tribulation,” when God destroys the wicked. (Matthew 24:21) At that time people will be throwing their money into the streets as “an abhorrent thing,” according to the Bible. Why? Because they will have learned the hard way that gold and silver will not buy them life during “the day of Jehovah’s fury.” (Ezekiel 7:19) On the other hand, “a great crowd,” who prudently ‘stored up their treasures in heaven’ by putting spiritual interests first in their life, will benefit from their sure investment and gain eternal life in a paradise earth.—Revelation 7:9, 14; 21:3, 4; Matthew 6:19, 20.
How can we gain this secure future? Jesus answers: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Millions have found this knowledge in God’s Word, the Bible. Not only do such ones have a wonderful hope for the future but they also experience a measure of peace and security now. It is just as the psalmist expressed: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you yourself alone, O Jehovah, make me dwell in security.”—Psalm 4:8.
Can you think of any other source of information that can help reduce risks to your health and life to the extent that the Bible does? No other book has the Bible’s authority, and no other book can help you find true security in today’s risk-filled world. Why not examine it further?
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Better Health and Security—Thanks to the Bible
To escape from life’s realities, a young woman named Jane * habitually used marijuana, tobacco, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, and other drugs. She also drank heavily. According to Jane, her husband was in no better shape. Their future looked grim. Then Jane came in contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses. She began attending Christian meetings and reading The Watchtower and its companion magazine, Awake!, which she shared with her husband. They both started to study the Bible with the Witnesses. As they developed an appreciation for Jehovah’s high standards, they quit all substance abuse. The result? “Our new life has brought us so much joy,” Jane wrote some years later. “I am so grateful to Jehovah for the cleansing power of his Word and for the free and healthy life that we are now able to lead.”
The value of being an honest employee is well illustrated by the case of Kurt, whose work involved caring for computer systems. New equipment was needed, and Kurt’s employer entrusted him with the task of getting it at a good price. Kurt located a suitable supplier, and a price was agreed upon. However, the supplier’s clerk made an error on the written quotation, so that the price was lowered by almost $40,000 (U.S.). Noting the mistake, Kurt called the company, and the manager said that in his 25-year career, he had never seen such honesty. Kurt explained that his conscience was molded by the Bible. The result was that the manager asked for 300 copies of an issue of Awake! that dealt with honesty in business so that he could give them to his fellow workers. As for Kurt, his honesty led to a promotion.
^ par. 30 Names have been changed.
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“I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself.”—ISAIAH 48:17