Answers That Work!
MUCH of the advice found in the numerous self-help books available today focuses on assisting people whose lives are currently in crisis. The Bible is different. Although its counsel can aid those in distress, the Bible does more than that. Its advice helps a person to avoid mistakes that can make life unnecessarily difficult.
The Bible can “give to the inexperienced ones shrewdness, to a young man knowledge and thinking ability.” (Proverbs 1:4) If you apply what is said in the Bible, “thinking ability itself will keep guard over you, discernment itself will safeguard you, to deliver you from the bad way.” (Proverbs 2:11, 12) Consider some specific examples of how following the Bible’s advice can safeguard your health, improve your family life, and make you a better worker or employer.
Be Reasonable With Alcohol
The Bible does not condemn the moderate use of alcohol. The apostle Paul pointed to the medicinal benefits of wine when he advised young Timothy: “Use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent cases of sickness.” (1 Timothy 5:23) Other Bible passages show that God intended wine to be more than just medicine. Wine is described as making “the heart of mortal man rejoice.” (Psalm 104:15) However, the Bible warns against becoming “enslaved to a lot of wine.” (Titus 2:3) It states: “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 23:20, 21) What results when such balanced advice is ignored? Note the facts from just a few countries.
The World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004 says: “Alcohol-related problems cost Irish society approximately €2.4 billion [$3 billion, U.S.] per year.” Included in this huge financial burden are “healthcare costs (€279 million), costs of road accidents (€315 million), costs of alcohol-related crime (€100 million), loss of output due to alcohol-related work absences (€1034 million),” says the report.
More important than the financial cost of alcohol abuse is the cost in human suffering. In Australia, for example, in just one 12-month period, more than half a million people suffered physical abuse by those under the influence of alcohol. In France, alcohol abuse is blamed for some 30 percent of all domestic violence. In light of these facts, does not the Bible’s advice about alcohol sound reasonable to you?
Avoid Habits That Contaminate
As early as 1942, when smoking was still viewed as fashionable, this journal helped its readers to see that using tobacco violates Bible principles and should be shunned. An article published that year reasoned that those who want to please God must follow the Bible’s command to “cleanse [themselves] of every defilement of flesh and spirit.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) Now, some 65 years later, has not this Bible-based advice proved sensible?
In 2006 the World Health Organization described tobacco use as “the second major cause of death in the world.” Each year, some five million people die as a result of tobacco consumption. By comparison, about three million die each year from HIV/AIDS. During the 20th century, smoking took the life of an estimated 100 million people, almost as many as were killed in all the wars of that century. Indeed, the wisdom of avoiding tobacco is now widely accepted.
“Flee From Fornication”
Less readily accepted is what the Bible says on sexual matters. Contrary to what many have been led to believe, the Bible does not prudishly condemn as sinful all sexual desire. But it does provide sound advice on how human sexuality should be expressed. The Bible teaches that sexual relations are reserved for a man and a woman who are married to each other. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Hebrews 13:4) Sex provides a way for marriage mates to express and receive love and tender affection. (1 Corinthians 7:1-5) Any children born of such a union benefit from having two parents who care for each other.—Colossians 3:18-21.
Regarding sexual promiscuity, the Bible commands: “Flee from fornication.” (1 Corinthians 6:18) What is one reason for this? The verse continues: “Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body, but he that practices fornication is sinning against his own body.” What results when the Bible’s advice regarding sexual matters is ignored?
Consider what is happening in the United States. That country now has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the industrialized world—some 850,000 each year. Many of the babies who escape being aborted are born to unwed mothers. No doubt, a number of these young mothers do their best to raise their children with love and discipline, and some succeed. However, the cold facts are that the sons of teen mothers are more likely to end up in prison and that the daughters are more likely to become teen mothers themselves. After reviewing statistics of the past several decades, researcher Robert Lerman wrote: “The shift toward single-parent families may have contributed to a higher incidence of other social problems, such as higher rates of school dropouts, of alcohol and drug use, of adolescent pregnancy and childbearing, and of juvenile delinquency.”
Those who are sexually promiscuous also face major health risks, both physical and mental. For example, the journal Pediatrics reports: “Data suggest that sexually active adolescents are at high risk for depression and suicide.” Regarding other health dangers, the American Social Health Association states: “More than half of all people [in the United States] will have an STD [sexually transmitted disease] at some point in their lifetime.” Think of the heartache and suffering that could be avoided if the Bible’s practical counsel regarding sex were followed!
Build Strong Family Ties
The Bible does more than just warn against destructive habits. Note its practical advice on how to improve the quality of family life.
God’s Word says: “Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies.” (Ephesians 5:28) Rather than taking their wives for granted, husbands are urged to dwell with them “according to knowledge, assigning them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one.” (1 Peter 3:7) Regarding disputes that may arise, husbands are advised: “Keep on loving your wives and do not be bitterly angry with them.” (Colossians 3:19) Do you not agree that a husband who applies this counsel will earn the love and respect of his wife?
To wives, the Bible gives this direction: “Let wives be in subjection to their husbands as to the Lord, because a husband is head of his wife as the Christ also is head of the congregation . . . The wife should have deep respect for her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22, 23, 33) Do you not feel that a wife who follows this advice when she speaks to—or about—her husband will be deeply loved by him?
Regarding child training, the Bible’s advice to you parents is that you communicate with your children “when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7) Fathers in particular are instructed to provide their children with moral guidance and loving discipline. “Fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah,” says God’s Word. (Ephesians 6:4) In turn, children are told: “Be obedient to your parents,” and “honor your father and your mother.” *—Ephesians 6:1, 2.
Do you feel that families would benefit from applying this advice? ‘Yes,’ you may say, ‘it sounds good in theory, but does it really work?’ We invite you to visit the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. There you will meet families who are endeavoring to apply the Bible’s wise counsel. Talk to them. Observe the way the family members interact with one another. You will see firsthand that living by Bible principles really does make families happy!
A Diligent Worker and a Fair Employer
What does the Bible have to say about the daily challenge of keeping a job? It states that a worker who learns his job well is likely to be appreciated and rewarded. “Have you beheld a man skillful in his work?” asked wise King Solomon. “Before kings is where he will station himself.” (Proverbs 22:29) On the other hand, “the lazy man” is like irritating “smoke to the eyes” of his employer. (Proverbs 10:26) The Bible encourages workers to be honest and diligent. “Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work.” (Ephesians 4:28) This advice applies even when an employer is not watching. “Be obedient in everything to those who are your masters in a fleshly sense, not with acts of eye-service, as men pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, with fear of Jehovah.” (Colossians 3:22) If you are an employer, would you not value a worker who applied this advice?
For employers, the Bible provides this reminder: “The workman is worthy of his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18) God’s Law to the Israelites directed that employers provide prompt and fair payment to their workers. “You must not defraud your fellow, and you must not rob. The wages of a hired laborer should not stay all night with you until morning,” wrote Moses. (Leviticus 19:13) Would you not enjoy working for an employer who obeyed the Bible’s direction and paid you promptly and fairly?
A Superior Source of Wisdom
Does it surprise you that a book as ancient as the Bible contains counsel that is relevant today? The reason that the Bible has endured when so many other books have become irrelevant is that it contains, not the word of men, but “the word of God.”—1 Thessalonians 2:13.
We encourage you to take time to become better acquainted with God’s Word. If you do, you will start to feel a fondness for the Author of the Bible, Jehovah God. Apply the counsel he offers, and see it guard you from harm and help you improve your life. By doing so, you will “draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) No other book can help you in such a way.
^ par. 20 For a detailed discussion of Bible principles that can help your family, see the book The Secret of Family Happiness, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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Do you feel that the Bible’s view on alcohol use is practical?
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Do you agree with the Bible-based advice to avoid tobacco?
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Following the Bible’s advice improves family life
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Globe: Based on NASA photo