Doing What We Can to Maintain a Better Life
EVEN though medical efforts to lengthen life have achieved only slight success, this does not mean that each individual should not do what he can to reach the age of seventy years, or even more, and particularly, to make his life a better one. For, whatever a person might do to extend his life-span, it is of little profit unless his life can be reasonably happy and of some benefit to others.
Many are the ideas put forth today for attaining to longer life—“health” foods, diets and exercises, both physical and mental. It is a common sight to see health seekers jogging down city streets and country roads. Health magazines and health-food stores abound. Thousands of psychiatrists serve as personal analysts, and there are devotees of various forms of meditation. Environmentalists fight for reduction of pollution that now menaces health in all countries.
It is certainly good to be concerned with our health and to use reasonable precautions to avoid detrimental things. A sensible diet, a reasonable amount of exercise, and care to avoid polluting our environment for the sake of ourselves and others, are all beneficial. It is obvious that excesses of any sort can be instrumental in shortening the life-span. In this classification would fall alcoholism, drug addiction and overnutrition.
Measures That Can Reasonably Be Taken
Carefulness and alertness can prevent sudden termination of our life-span. Great care in driving a car and in crossing streets would preserve tens of thousands of lives. Older persons can avoid the overexertion and fatigue caused by shoveling snow or any unusually strenuous activity. Everyone, young and old, can be seriously affected by overanxiety and tension as a result of rushing to keep pace with the business or social world. Hypertension, brought on to a great degree by modern living, is one of the worst killers of our time.
Vital also to longevity is the proper care of children in their earliest years. Says Graduate Pharmacist Louis Stambovsky:
“When should preventive measures commence to prevent the so-called diseases of old age? As early as possible, even at the moment of conception. We cannot build a strong machine, if the mother’s building materials are inadequate, quantitatively or qualitatively. Pre-natal dietary fortification has achieved amazing results. Controlled studies reveal dramatic evidence of such supplementation; the offspring were superior in every respect and the mother also benefited by uncomplicated delivery with less post partum complications. Assuming that we have a normal child entering the world, a sufficiency of constructional and functional nutritional bio-chemicals are vital from here on if we are to strive for a disease-free long life. . . . Many or most of the pathologies observed during the ‘golden years,’ were germinated during childhood and young adulthood.”
This same authority, discussing causes of overweight, a danger to long life, makes the interesting observation:
“The third origin of obesity commences during babyhood and childhood. Overfeeding during these periods will create an abnormal number of fat cells that never fully disappear. . . . these persons remain fat even after excessive intake ceases and perhaps remain so permanently throughout their entire lives.”
A Better Way
But, after all is said and done along health lines, who knows exactly what is good for the human body? To a great extent each individual has to find out for himself what foods, exercises, and so forth, are practical and helpful for him. Even then, it is virtually impossible to get all the needed vitamins, minerals, proteins and other essentials in the right proportions and combinations. With the adulterated, processed foods and the pollution of air and water and even of vegetables, meats and fruit, a person cannot avoid some of the things that damage his health.
Therefore, it is appropriate to consider very seriously the Bible’s statement: “Bodily training is beneficial for a little; but godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” In view of this fact, the counsel is given: “Be training yourself with godly devotion as your aim.”—1 Tim. 4:7, 8.
What is meant by “godly devotion”? Well, the Bible describes it simply as doing what is right as directed by the Creator. He said to those who professed to serve him: “He has told you, O earthling man, what is good. And what is Jehovah [God] asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?”—Mic. 6:8.
How will the pursuing of godly devotion prove to be the desirable and most beneficial thing? First of all, truthful, honest dealings will eliminate much trouble in your family and among friends and business associates. Honesty will prevent anguish of mind through qualms of conscience. It will induce others to trust in you. Even though your honesty may at times cause you financial loss because you refuse to enter into a dishonest arrangement or to lie to gain a point, those who practice honesty have found that, even in this dishonest world, it pays off in the long run.
To be able to practice complete truthfulness and honesty, a person needs a guide. The Bible is the most reliable guide. Also, it is a great incentive to honesty to know that, not only are people observing your fruitful course, but the Creator sees it and will reward you in the way that will be most beneficial to you. Jesus Christ said of people’s reaction to wholehearted, honest, generous action: “Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.”—Luke 6:38.
And as to God’s concern for the person who does what is right because of his love for his Creator and for truth and justice, the Bible says: “As regards Jehovah, his eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.”—2 Chron. 16:9; Ps. 34:15.
Practicality of Truthful, Honest Conduct
Will the honest, truthful course really prove to be practicable? Examples can be cited that answer Yes. Probably you yourself have found that this is true. Jehovah’s Witnesses have found that it is so. Many people acknowledge that the Witnesses conscientiously follow what they believe to be Scripturally right. They have come from all backgrounds, but have changed their former course of life and, to the best of their ability, have conformed to Scriptural principles. Some experiences may be related briefly that show that truthfulness and honesty, not only contribute toward a good conscience, but also are conducive to better relations with others and bring good to the one adhering to right principles.
In Sweden, where unemployment is an increasing problem, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses applied for a job and was carefully questioned by the managing director and his assistants. After a pause the manager asked: “Do you belong to a religious organization?” On receiving the reply, “Yes, I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the man said: “Excellent. We already have three Witnesses at the plant and find them really good people. You must keep a very high standard of morals, don’t you?” It turned out that the manager had in the past been a trainee in a company in the United States where Witnesses were employed. The Witness, in relating this experience, added: “It was a proof of the truthfulness of Jesus’ words when he spoke of the material necessities of life and then said: ‘Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.’”—Matt. 6:33.
A gas-station attendant in Spain pumped petrol (gasoline) for a customer, but before he was paid his co-worker inadvertently served another patron out of the same pump, canceling the quantity and price. The customer demanded proof and became quite annoyed when he discovered what had happened. He remarked: “Why, only if you were one of Jehovah’s Witnesses would I accept your word for it.” The attendant was able to answer truthfully: “I am a Witness.” “Then enough said. If you say forty liters, then it was forty liters. I am an inspector of police in Granada and I know enough about the Witnesses to know that they would not lie.” And he paid for the gasoline.
Many Heartaches Can Be Avoided
Moreover, staying by right morals prevents many diseases and heartaches and much hurtfulness to others. Morality is the primary basis for family life. Those who have ignored this principle have found that promiscuity, even when engaged in openly with the knowledge of both parties of a marriage, results in the eventual breakup of the marriage. Though the couple may be living together in only a consensual arrangement, they experience the same emotional upsets and jealousies that a legitimately married couple undergo when unfaithfulness on the part of either mate takes place. And promiscuity on the part of parents has a most demoralizing effect on their children.
All the problems caused by dishonesty, untruthfulness and immoral living result in frustration, confusion and mental anguish, not to speak of bad consciences. This, in turn, brings loss of joy and, all too often, produces physical and mental sickness.
There is no doubt that a psychosomatic process operates in the human body. The things that affect our physical health affect our mental condition, and our mental attitude has much to do with our physical health. If you are unhappy or discontented, you do not feel well physically. Unhappiness results in tension, discouragement, depression and dejection, often anger and self-pity or self-incrimination. These, in turn, can bring upon us the worst of maladies.
Lost Happiness May Be Regained
Perhaps a person has not lived in a way that is good, and is unhappy. It is never too late to seek to remedy the situation, hoping to regain a great measure of happiness. Consider the example of a man in Niger, Africa, who had the reputation of being a drunkard and spendthrift, who cared little for his family and provided little for them. His wife had left and had obtained a well-paying job as a schoolteacher in another country (Togo). In his unhappiness, the man sought help from the Bible. It was not long after he had begun a serious study of the Scriptures that he started to change his habits. He stopped giving himself to excesses in wine and began to use his money in providing for the needs of his family. He even sent half his salary each month to his wife. The wife finally visited him and was astonished to see the changes that he had made in his life. She decided to give up her job in Togo and remain with her husband, looking into the Bible along with him. How happy this family was to be united again!
Really, who can say that it is not practical to practice good and beneficial things, even in a selfish world? It certainly makes life more worth while now. But is this all? Is there more than a temporary reward?
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Careless driving can drastically shorten one’s life-span
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Honesty and truthfulness are appreciated by others
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The Bible is the only sure guide for a better life
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Untruthfulness and dishonesty can break up a marriage