Is Your Life Truly Satisfying?
A MOTHER of six children in a Latin-American country knows that her husband has been having sex relations with another woman for the past ten years and is trying to “conquer” yet another. She cannot go to court to divorce him; there is no provision for divorce in that country. Nor can she afford to separate from him, because she needs the financial support for his children. If you had to live under such conditions, would you find life truly satisfying?
Perhaps your case is not so severe. But are you a housewife? Does the seemingly endless routine of cleaning, cooking, shopping, mending, washing and ironing get to you at times? And how about trying to make ends meet when faced with the ever-rising cost of living? These things have caused many a homemaker to feel that her life is far from satisfying.
Men, too, become frustrated. Overcrowded subways and buses, traffic jams and parking problems try the patience of millions daily. Sometimes the cause of dissatisfaction goes deeper, as in the case of an executive of a drug company in a large Latin-American city.
This man put his whole life into his job, even working for years without taking a vacation. Overtime work was the rule for him rather than the exception. But now, after twenty-five years of faithful service on his part, the company suffers from internal frictions and is near bankruptcy. The resulting anxiety and despair have adversely affected this man’s health and disposition. After all those years of service he wonders: “Has it really been worth it?”
What about you? Do you find your life truly satisfying? Do your goals in life seem worth while? What can you do to combat the frustrations that, for many, dampen the joy of living?
Some Causes of Frustration
While some people suffer from circumstances over which they have no control, to a large extent people cause their own vexations. It is as the Bible itself truthfully states: “Whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.”—Gal. 6:7.
Part of the problem may be one’s attitude. Do you have a tendency to stress the negative side of matters? This can be damaging, for it gives rise to feelings of self-pity and a spirit of complaint. Would it not be better to dwell upon the benefits of your daily routine? The Bible says that people should “see good” for all their hard work. (Eccl. 5:18) Viewing the positive side of things might do much to help you to get more satisfaction out of life.
Even with a positive viewpoint, however, pursuing material security as one’s principal aim in life can rob one of satisfaction. That is what happened to the executive mentioned above. He and millions like him throughout the world have learned from hard experience that the Bible tells the truth when it says: “A mere lover of silver will not be satisfied with silver, neither any lover of wealth with income. This too is vanity.” (Eccl. 5:10) Are your major goals centered around material things? Might not a fresh outlook on life be of benefit to you?
Sexual immorality, too, has become common, but what are the results? If a person is married, immorality drives a wedge between family members. The immoral person may suffer from horrible venereal diseases or other physical maladies on account of a guilty conscience. Most seriously, this type of conduct destroys one’s relationship with God. Is that really the kind of life that you want?
On the other hand, the circumstances that rob your life of real meaning may not all be of your own making. The present system of things is a major cause of vexation for many. People squirm under the pressure of housing shortages, skyrocketing food prices and high taxes. There is injustice. Racial tension, drug abuse, crime and violence plague cities throughout the world. Knowing that they are powerless to bring about a change, some become disillusioned with life.
The Key to Satisfaction in Life
Many people, though unsatisfied with their lives, do nothing about even those situations that they could improve. Some alcoholics, for example, realize the harm that they do to themselves and to their loved ones. But how many change on the basis of these things alone? A key element that could provide sufficient motivation to change is lacking in the lives of such people. What is that?
The sincere desire to please mankind’s Creator. Hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world have found that such a desire has given them the impetus to change their entire course of life. But this desire does not become an impelling force without personal effort. Are you willing to put forth such effort? What would that require?
First of all, a person must study the Bible, which will help him to get acquainted with God’s distinctive personality and His viewpoint on matters. He will learn why there have been sickness and death, why wickedness has been permitted, also concerning the Creator’s purpose to destroy the present corrupt system of things and to provide one government for all mankind, a righteous one that will control from heaven. (Dan. 2:44; Isa. 11:1-5) He will find out about God’s provision to bring back to life on this earth billions of the dead, and that at a time when the earth has been made a paradise.—Luke 23:43; Acts 24:15.
How does such knowledge affect an honest person? Well, how do you feel when you meet a warm, compassionate, impartial, thoughtful and generous person? Are you not attracted to him with the desire to return in some small way the kindness that he has shown to you? It is the same when people learn of God’s compassionate dealings with mankind and his loving purpose for their everlasting good. Such knowledge motivates them to make changes in their lives. They do this willingly, knowing that the way to show love for God is to “observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.”—1 John 5:3.
People on every continent and from all walks of life have found that love for God prompted by accurate knowledge of his Word has been the key to a satisfying life for them. Not only are God’s commandments “not burdensome,” but they bring definite benefits now to those keeping them. Consider some of these.
Benefits from the “New Personality”
The apostle Paul, at Colossians 3:9, 10, 12, 13, counsels: “Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality. . . . clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another.” Perhaps you say that you are just not that sort of person. But the Bible can help you to change, and how worth while it is! These godly qualities can aid you to face calmly the many irksome situations that befall a person every day, even if matters should be as trialsome as those of the woman mentioned at the outset of this article.—See also Ephesians 4:20-32.
Think, too, of the benefits of obeying the Scriptural command: “Deaden, therefore, your body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite, hurtful desire, and covetousness.” (Col. 3:5) And what a notable blessing results from observing the precept: “Now really put them all away from you, wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of your mouth”! (Col. 3:8) The clean conscience, self-respect, improved health and emotional security that can result to a person and his loved ones from such a change make it well worth all the effort.
“Never Be Anxious” for Life’s Necessities
Anxieties over obtaining necessary things such as food and clothing steal satisfaction from the lives of millions of people. But, as recorded in the Bible at Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus Christ counseled: “Never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’ . . . Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.” Not that Christians expect God to provide for them miraculously without any effort on their part. The Scriptural rule is: “If anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat.” (2 Thess. 3:10) But the Bible has aided them to have strong faith in God, so they do not become frantic over these matters.
Even more of life’s frustrations disappear when one develops the Bible’s view of what is truly valuable. We read at Psalm 119:72: “The law of your [God’s] mouth is good for me, more so than thousands of pieces of gold and silver.” Those who consider spiritual things of greater worth than material ones find themselves agreeing with the apostle Paul, who said: “Having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.” (1 Tim. 6:8) Whatever their circumstances, they learn to make the best of them.
They Found Satisfaction in Life
In more than 200 lands throughout the earth today the Bible has helped people to overcome frustrations and to live a life that is truly satisfying. The experience of a Royal Canadian Navy veteran is an example:
“Four years of military experience during World War II changed me from a naïve young volunteer sailor into a politically conscious veteran, eager to struggle on the civilian front for the freedoms and justice for which we had fought—supposedly.
“A higher education seemed essential to achieve my goal; so off I went to a university. But I soon realized that existing political institutions and economic systems fall painfully short of satisfying man’s need for impartial justice, equality of opportunity, and genuine brotherhood. I felt disillusioned and frustrated.
“Half way through my university education my wife and I began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses. At last we started getting answers to our questions. We learned that human rule can never satisfy man’s needs, for ‘it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.’ (Jer. 10:23) Only the heavenly Kingdom government of Jehovah God can administer earth’s affairs justly. Soon God’s kingdom will replace the present corrupt system with a new one, ‘in which righteousness is to dwell.’—2 Pet. 3:13.
“The God-given hope of a new system of things filled a big gap in our lives. We were thrilled, too, to find in the Christian witnesses of Jehovah an organization that governs itself by the Bible principles that will prevail in that new order. This has satisfied our thirst for justice for the past twenty-three years.
“Further satisfaction came into our lives when we decided to move to South America. Here we enjoy to the full the privilege of searching out and teaching ‘meek ones’ how to live meaningful lives in anticipation of the coming blessings under God’s kingdom.—Ps. 25:9.
“How thankful we are to have been spared the frustrations suffered by those who strive in vain to straighten out the present system of things!”
Happier with Less
Four years ago a family of eight rearranged their affairs to spend more time in helping others to learn the divine will. This has resulted in much personal satisfaction. The five eldest children now devote their full time to teaching the Word of God to others. What led this family to do this? The mother relates:
“After World War II my husband and I left Holland and moved to Canada seeking financial security. Our goal was to raise a family on a farm there. We viewed farming as the most natural way of life, and felt that a farm would be the best inheritance that we could pass on to our children.
“Things looked promising for a while; but the cost of living continued to go up, and our family grew more rapidly than our bank account. We wondered: Will we ever reach our goal or are we chasing after the wind?
“Then a great change came into our lives. By means of a Bible study with Jehovah’s witnesses we learned that God’s promised new system of things will become a reality within the present generation. This changed our entire outlook on life.
“We came to realize that it was no longer necessary to expend ourselves to build up a sizable material inheritance for our children. In the near future God will see to it that everyone has a comfortable home and sufficient food, along with true peace and security. Now the important thing is to get out and share with our neighbors the wonderful Bible truths that we have learned.
“Though our modest income affords us few of the world’s goods, we are content having enough to eat, sufficient clothing, and a house in which to live. We have personally experienced that ‘there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.’—Acts 20:35.
“No more do I feel bogged down with the innumerable household duties involved in caring for a large family. Our children willingly help with cooking, washing, and other domestic chores. This affords all of us time to share in the all-important activity of helping others to learn ‘the truth that sets people free,’ that they, too, may enjoy a truly satisfying life.”—John 8:32.
Is your life truly satisfying? Why not take steps to make it so by enjoying a free home Bible study with Jehovah’s witnesses. Contact them locally or by writing to the publishers of this magazine.