You Can Clean Up Your Life—with God’s Help
WORLD conditions have changed drastically since 1914 C.E. “Critical times hard to deal with” envelop the whole human family. On an unprecedented scale men have become “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . without self-control, fierce, . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.”—2 Tim. 3:1-4.
The churches of Christendom have been powerless to stem the tide of crime, sexual immorality, drug abuse and violence that plagues major cities throughout the earth. People feel trapped, forced to ‘go along with the crowd’ in order to get by in today’s world.
But there are some who stand out in refreshing contrast to this. They are changing their way of life to one that is satisfying, resulting in good relations with other people, and a clean conscience before God.
How have they succeeded in doing this? Why have the churches of Christendom failed? Can you, too, remold your life to conform to the principles of God’s Word?
Transforming Power of Bible Truth
“The word of God is alive and exerts power,” says Hebrews 4:12. Why is this true? It is because “all Scripture is inspired of God.” (2 Tim. 3:16) When people of meek disposition read the Bible they realize that it contains the viewpoint of Jehovah God, not that of men. This moves them to make changes in their lives.—1 Thess. 2:13.
In the first century C.E. the transforming power of true Christian teaching was clearly evident. People throughout the Roman Empire had got into a “low sink of debauchery.” (1 Pet. 4:4) But Bible truth produced rewarding changes for those who applied it in their lives. Historian John Lord observed in The Old Roman World: “The true triumphs of Christianity were seen in making good men of those who professed her doctrines . . . We have testimony to their blameless lives.”
But what about today? Is it not true that Christendom with her thousands of sects, Catholic and Protestant, is teeming with degradation? Does this indicate that Christianity has lost its power to change people’s lives for the better? No, it does not. Why not? Because Christendom is not Christian. She does not represent the Christianity of the Bible.
In fact, the clergy of Christendom are largely responsible for the sick state of the world. Pointing his finger at the clergy, Roman Catholic Archbishop Dom Helder Câmara of Brazil commented: “The very grave religious problem is the mystery of knowing why the great religions did not succeed in overcoming selfishness . . . to the point that we see today the beginning of an explosion of hatred and violence all over the world. May my Christian brothers permit me the confidence and courage to admit that among the most responsible in the face of humanity, we find ourselves.” Why is this true?
Because the religions of Christendom have thrust aside God’s Holy Bible. They have disobeyed Bible counsel that Christians should be “no part of the world.” (John 17:16) The churches have involved themselves in politics, supported wars, approved of violence and revolution. Consequently, Christendom is filled with disunity and confusion. She exercises no influence toward bettering the lives of her members.
But how different true Christianity is from Christendom! In the first century those who became Christians changed their lives. They were “washed clean” from such things as drunkenness, violence and sexual immorality. (1 Cor. 6:9-11) Today, too, people who apply Bible principles in their lives are making changes. The following experiences from Brazil demonstrate this.
“Clean” from Drunkenness and Violence
A man known as the “terror of the neighborhood” in the town of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais State, used to go on pilgrimages of the Roman Catholic Church. His favorite pastime at these affairs was drinking and rowdiness. Everybody was afraid of him. Then he started studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses and began to change his way of life. His wife opposed him at first, but he kept up his Bible study anyway. Because of the wholesome influence of Bible truth on him the former neighborhood “terror” is now an active Christian minister. Now his wife joins him in studying the Bible and attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Neighbors, friends and even the police are all astounded at the great changes in this man’s life.
A young man in São Paulo took up a life of crime in his youth. He tells of being arrested fifteen times for drunkenness, drug trafficking, robbery and rowdiness. Then Jehovah’s witnesses began to study the Bible with him, using the book The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life. From this study he learned the Scriptural principle: “Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work.” (Eph. 4:28) Consequently, he obtained secular work to care for himself in an honest way. Later he was baptized in symbol of his dedication to God. Now, instead of being a rebel, this man teaches others to respect the laws of God and of the government.—Mark 12:17; Rom. 13:1-5.
A married man from Mato Grosso State lost his drugstore business because of heavy drinking. Although brought up a Catholic, he would get drunk three days each week and have a hangover for an additional three days. When under the influence of alcohol he would break things in his home. Then one day Jehovah’s witnesses talked to him about Bible truth for the first time. He acquired the book “Let God Be True” and read it through three times in one month, learning that Jehovah God forgives past sins on the basis of one’s faith in Christ’s sacrifice. Bible knowledge moved him to clean up his life. He stopped drinking, legalized his marriage and began to train his nine children in the way of Jehovah. He now devotes full time to teaching Bible truth to others, and his family is happy and united.
A young man in Belo Horizonte spent his years between the ages of fourteen and twenty as a member of a gang. He would steal cars, drink beer all night long and start fights. On a visit to his brother-in-law in São Caetano, he found him studying the Bible. Returning to Belo Horizonte, he observed that his mother also was studying. Then his girl friend became interested. That did it. He, too, began to study. And what a change this brought about in him! He gave up going to football matches on Sunday afternoon in order to attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Ridicule from his former associates did not deter him. Together with his onetime girl friend, now his wife, he made fine progress. Today this former gang member, thief and drunkard serves as overseer of a school for training ministers in his congregation.
“Clean” from Sexual Immorality
A vast “moral breakdown” is sweeping the earth today. Christendom cannot stop it. But Bible truth motivates people to clean up from such things. Some further experiences from Brazil illustrate this.
A former sexton of the Catholic church in the city of Salvador, Baía State, used to pray to God through Our Lady of Candeias and to observe all days devoted to “the saints.” Yet he lived an immoral life with harlots and said that the only reason he did not do worse things was that he ‘loved to be free and was afraid of prison.’ That church sexton never heard the Bible discussed in his association with the parish priest.
In time he came in touch with Jehovah’s witnesses. After only two months of Bible study with a qualified minister, using the books “Things in Which It Is Impossible for God to Lie” and From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, he cleaned up his life and began to teach others the things that he had learned from God’s Word. Today he devotes full time to this activity.
A Catholic man from the city of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, considered himself to be religious, attending Mass every Sunday. Although he was married, he would visit nightclubs four times a week, engage in drinking bouts and commit adultery. His religion failed to help him to lead a morally clean life. Deep down, however, this man was unsatisfied.
When Jehovah’s witnesses contacted him he accepted the offer of a Bible study and learned what is recorded at 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10: “Do not be misled. Neither fornicators . . . nor adulterers . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.” He viewed this as the truth from God, and it motivated him to clean up his life. He discontinued associating with immoral persons, gave up his heavy drinking and stopped using foul language. Instead, he began applying Bible principles in his daily life. Now he spends his full time teaching Bible truth to others and caring for his family.
You, Too, Can Clean Up Your Life
Some individuals become so deeply involved in sexual immorality and other vices that they think they are ‘too far gone’ to change. But this is not true. If such people want to straighten out their lives they can take comfort in the admonition addressed to unfaithful Israelites: “Let the wicked man leave his way, and the harmful man his thoughts; and let him return to Jehovah, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will forgive in a large way.” (Isa. 55:7) The following experience is interesting in this connection:
A forty-year-old widow, mother of six children, from the small town of Dores do Indaiá, Minas Gerais State, fell prey to immoral suggestions and eventually became a prostitute. She reasoned that she could use money obtained in this way to support her family. This woman heard the message of God’s Word for the first time at the home of a neighbor who was studying with Jehovah’s witnesses. But she herself declined to study. Why? She felt that she was “unworthy.” Some time later the same Witness met this woman at her home and, to her surprise, she asked for a Bible study. What had happened to change her mind? The little she had heard from the Bible on the first occasion had been sufficient to encourage her to clean up her life. She is now a dedicated, baptized Christian witness of Jehovah, zealously helping others to remold their lives with God’s help.
It is clear that the Word of God is indeed “alive and exerts power.” (Heb. 4:12) Bible study has transformed even the most dissolute of individuals into clean-living, happy servants of Jehovah God. It can do the same for you if you have not yet let its power be exerted in your life. Jehovah’s witnesses will be happy to conduct a free study of the Bible with you each week in the privacy of your own home. Just make your desire known to them at the Kingdom Hall nearest you or write to the publishers of this magazine, and we will have a qualified minister call on you. Do not hold back because of feeling unworthy. No matter what your situation, you can clean up your life—with God’s help.