How You Can Satisfy Your Spiritual Needs
“IN THE past decade, more than 300 titles on workplace spirituality—from Jesus CEO to The Tao of Leadership—have flooded bookstores,” says U.S.News & World Report. This trend is merely a reflection of the fact that in many materially prosperous lands, there is a growing hunger for spiritual direction in life. Commenting on this, the business journal Training & Development observes: “At a time when technology will drive every other aspect of our lives, we are searching for deeper meaning, for purpose, and for greater personal satisfaction.”
Where, though, can you find satisfying spiritual guidance? In the past, people looked to established religion to help them find “deeper meaning” and “purpose” in life. Today, many have turned their backs on organized religion. A survey of 90 high-level managers and executives found that “people differentiate strongly between religion and spirituality,” states Training & Development. The survey respondents viewed religion as “intolerant and divisive,” whereas spirituality was seen as “universal and broadly inclusive.”
Many young people in the more secular societies, such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Europe, likewise see a distinction between religion and spirituality. Professor Ruth Webber, writing in Youth Studies Australia, asserts: “A majority of young people believes in God, or some kind of supernatural force but do not see the church as important or helpful in expressing their spirituality.”
True Religion Promotes Spirituality
This skeptical view of religion is understandable. Many religious organizations are mired in political intrigue and moral hypocrisy and are drenched in innocent blood from countless religious wars. However, while rejecting the religious organizations that are sullied by hypocrisy and deception, some have made the mistake of also rejecting the Bible, which they think condones such practices.
In reality, the Bible condemns hypocrisy and lawlessness. Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of every sort of uncleanness. In that way you also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”—Matthew 23:27, 28.
Moreover, the Bible encourages Christians to be neutral in all political affairs. Rather than urging believers to kill one another, it directs that they should be willing to die for one another. (John 15:12, 13; 18:36; 1 John 3:10-12) Instead of being “intolerant and divisive,” true religion, based on the Bible, is “broadly inclusive.” The apostle Peter said: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
The Bible—A Reliable Guide to Spiritual Health
The Bible tells us that humans are created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:26, 27) While this does not mean that humans resemble God in a physical way, it does mean that humans have the ability to reflect God’s personality traits, including the capacity for spiritual things, or spirituality.
That being the case, it is logical to believe that God would also provide us with the means to satisfy our spiritual needs, as well as proper direction by which we can distinguish between what is beneficial and what is harmful to us spiritually. Just as God created our bodies with a superbly designed immune system, which fights disease and helps keep us healthy, he also equipped us with a conscience, or inner voice, which can help us make right decisions and avoid practices that are harmful physically and spiritually. (Romans 2:14, 15) As we know, for our immune system to work, it must be nourished properly. Similarly, for our conscience to work, we need to feed it with good spiritual food.
Identifying the kind of food that will keep us spiritually healthy, Jesus said: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.” (Matthew 4:4) Jehovah’s utterances are recorded in his Word, the Bible, and they are “beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight.” (2 Timothy 3:16) It is, therefore, up to us to put forth the effort to take in that spiritual nourishment. To the extent that we come to know the Bible and endeavor to apply its principles in our life, to that extent we will benefit spiritually and physically.—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
Is It Worth the Effort?
Granted, it takes time to improve our spiritual health by studying the Bible; and time, it seems, is an increasingly rare commodity. But the rewards are worth the effort! Listen to some busy professional people explain why taking time to care for their spiritual health is important to them.
Marina, a medical doctor, says: “I never really thought about my spirituality until I started working in a hospital and began to feel deeply the suffering of others. I then realized that I had to acknowledge and satisfy my spiritual need if I was to gain contentment and tranquillity, since the pace of life and the demand of caring for people’s concerns can become overwhelming for someone in my profession.
“I now study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. This study helps me examine my actions and motives in a constructive way and trains my thought processes to be more positive, so that I can keep my life in perspective. I do find great satisfaction in my secular career. But it is my Bible study that has improved my emotional health, helping me to control negative feelings, reduce tension, and be more patient and compassionate with people. Applying Bible principles has also benefited my marriage. Most important, I have come to know Jehovah and to experience, in a small measure, the free flow of his spirit, which has given my life greater meaning.”
Nicholas, an architectural designer, says: “Before studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I had no spiritual interests. My sole aim in life was to succeed in my chosen profession. My Bible study has taught me that there is more to life and that doing Jehovah’s will brings true and lasting happiness.
“My secular career does bring me a sense of satisfaction, but it is the Bible that has taught me the importance of keeping life simple by focusing on spiritual things. By doing so, my wife and I have avoided much of the stress that comes from a materialistic life-style. We have also made many real friends through our association with those who have a similar spiritual outlook on life.”
Vincent, a lawyer, says: “A good secular career can provide a measure of satisfaction. However, I have found that much more is needed to gain happiness and contentment. Before becoming aware of the Bible’s teaching on the subject, I recall being struck by the sheer pointlessness of life—being born, growing up, getting married, working at a job to provide what is needed materially to raise one’s children, training them to follow the exact same life cycle, and finally getting old and dying.
“It was only after studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses that I received satisfying answers to my questions about the purpose of life. My Bible study has enabled me to come to know Jehovah as a person and to develop a deep love for him. This provides the basis for me to maintain a healthy spiritual outlook as I endeavor to live my life in harmony with what I know to be his purpose. Now, both my wife and I have the satisfaction of knowing that we are using our life in the most meaningful way possible.”
You too can gain a sense of purpose and meaning in life by studying the Bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses are happy to help you. Like Marina, Nicholas, and Vincent, you can gain the satisfaction that comes from learning about Jehovah and his purposes for mankind in general and for you as an individual. Not only will you have the joy of fulfilling your spiritual needs now but you will also gain the prospect of enjoying endless life in perfect physical health—a prospect open only to those “conscious of their spiritual need.”—Matthew 5:3.
One way to develop our spirituality is through prayer. Jesus took the time to teach his disciples how to pray, giving them what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. What meaning does that prayer have for you today? How can you benefit from it? You will find the answers in the next two articles.
[Pictures on page 6]
[Pictures on page 7]
[Pictures on page 7]