Finding the Most Beneficial Counsel
A SUCCESSFUL life is truly desirable. Good counsel and the disposition to act in harmony with it are keys to achieving such a life in this complex world. However, humans have not always been willing to pay attention to beneficial counsel. Many have claimed that man should live his life according to his own preferences. In fact, the Bible record shows that Satan, the original enemy of divine sovereignty, offered independence to the first humans. Genesis 3:5 records his assertion to Eve: “God knows that in the very day of your eating from [the tree of the knowledge of good and bad] your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.”
Were Adam and Eve able thereafter to live successfully, without dire consequences, being guided solely by their own opinions? Hardly. They were immediately disappointed with the results of presuming to know good from bad. They fell under God’s just disapproval and began a harsh life in imperfection, death being the final result. (Genesis 3:16-19, 23) Death affects us all. The Bible says: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”—Romans 5:12.
Even though there are adverse consequences of Adam and Eve’s choice, many are still not convinced of the wisdom of applying the counsel from man’s Maker. However, the Bible states that it “is inspired of God and beneficial,” and it can help us to “be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) We will certainly be happier if we follow the counsel in the Bible. Family life is a major area in which this applies.
Fidelity in Marriage
According to the Bible, God purposed marriage to be permanent. (Genesis 2:22- 24; Matthew 19:6) Furthermore, the Scriptures say that “the marriage bed [should] be without defilement,” meaning that this union should not be contaminated by sexual relations outside the marriage. (Hebrews 13:4) You likely know, however, that today many marriages do not meet this standard. Some people are in the habit of flirting on the job with individuals who are not their mates. Others lie to their families in order to spend time with a love interest other than their spouse. Some even abandon their spouse to live with a younger partner, arguing that they thus feel younger and happier, as happened in the case of Verónica, mentioned in the preceding article.
Nevertheless, a determination to please oneself at any cost will not produce lasting happiness. Ronald can bear witness to that. Convinced that he would improve his life, he abandoned his wife to have a new family with the woman who had been his secret lover for six years and with whom he already had two children. However, some time after he had ended his marriage, his lover abandoned him! Ronald finally went to live with his parents. He described his situation as “degrading.” That is but one example. Such behavior driven by selfish desires has contributed to an unprecedented wave of divorces and family breakups, resulting in suffering for countless individuals—adults and children alike.
On the other hand, observing the Bible’s counsel results in true happiness. Such was the case with Roberto, who says: “Thanks to the counsel of the Bible, I did not have to lose my wife. We do not achieve true happiness by giving in to temptation with someone who is not our spouse, even if such a person might seem charming. Bible education has helped me to value my mate, who has been by my side for so many years.” The Biblical counsel “with the wife of your youth may no one deal treacherously” played an important role in Roberto’s life. (Malachi 2:15) In what other respects can we benefit from divine counsel?
Our Children’s Upbringing
Decades ago the idea became popular that in the upbringing of their children, parents should not set many limits. It appeared reasonable to allow children to make their own decisions about how to think and behave. The objective was to avoid repressing their development. In some places, even less structured educational systems were set up in which, among other things, the pupils could decide whether they would attend classes or not and could choose the amount of recreation or instruction that they would receive. The policy of one school of this type was “to allow children to experience the full range of feelings free from the judgment and intervention of an adult.” Today, some counselors in human behavior still challenge the benefits of administering certain kinds of discipline, even in cases where the parents consider it necessary to give loving discipline.
What has been the result? There are a lot of people who believe that permissive methods of child rearing have allowed children too much freedom. This, they feel, has led to an increase in crime and drug use. A survey in the United States revealed that nearly 70 percent of respondents thought that children and young people do not get as much parental direction as they need. When trying to explain school shootings and other terrible crimes committed by teenagers, many blame “lax parental control.” And even when the results are not so tragic, parents and children reap the bitter fruits of misguided child rearing.
What does the Bible have to say in this regard? The Scriptural counsel is that parental authority should be exercised with love as well as with firmness. The Bible says: “Foolishness is tied up with the heart of a boy; the rod of discipline is what will remove it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15) Of course, all parental discipline should be appropriate to the circumstances. Mildness, self-control, and consideration should govern any discipline given. Thus it is a sign of love. The exercise of parental authority in a loving manner, not harsh brutality, offers the best likelihood of success.
There are observable good results from applying this advice. Arturo, a 30-year-old man in Mexico who recently got married, says: “My father made it clear to my brothers and me that he and my mother had the authority in the family. They never hesitated to discipline us. Yet, they always had time to talk to us. Now as an adult, I value the stable life that I enjoy, and I know that it is mostly the result of the good guidance I received.”
Take Advantage of the Most Beneficial Counsel
God’s Word, the Bible, contains the most beneficial counsel available to mankind. Its guidance is not limited to the family circle. It helps to equip us in many ways because it teaches us how to act in a world where most are not willing to accept that a superior Source of wisdom should govern their lives for their own good.
Jehovah God, the Creator of mankind, gave this assurance through the psalmist David: “I shall make you have insight and instruct you in the way you should go. I will give advice with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8) Can you imagine what it means to have the Creator watching out for us in order to safeguard us from dangers? The question for each of us, though, is this: ‘Will I humbly accept Jehovah’s protective guidance?’ His Word lovingly tells us: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5, 6.
Getting to know Jehovah requires effort and dedication, yet it is within the reach of humankind through the Bible. The way of life that he recommends “holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” It is truly a means of great gain in view of the benefits it offers.—1 Timothy 4:8; 6:6.
If you are attracted by the insight that the Bible offers and by the blessings that result from living in harmony with it, make reading and meditation on God’s Word a priority in your life. Doing so will help you to face successfully the challenges of today and any that lie ahead. In addition, you will find the hope of living in God’s new world, where all will be taught by Jehovah and their peace will be abundant.—Isaiah 54:13.
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The Bible’s counsel can strengthen the marriage bond
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Bible counsel is the basis for fine direction, yet it allows for having fun
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Those applying Bible counsel can enjoy a well-rounded life