What About Your Own Health?
MEDICINE tries to cure disease. Often it succeeds in doing so, but a healthful course of life might have prevented the illness in the first place.
Dr. Halfdan Mahler, director-general of WHO, said we must rise to our own health responsibilities, “eating wisely, drinking moderately, smoking not at all, driving carefully, taking enough exercise, learning to live under the stress of city life, and helping one another to do so.”
The Bible with its wise counsel and sound advice can help us a great deal in this matter. Its principles lead to a more tranquil life and thus to better health in our stressful world. Its teachings are “healthful words” not just in a spiritual sense but also in a physical sense. Its good sayings “are life to those finding them and health to all their flesh.”—2 Timothy 1:13; Proverbs 4:22.
But even more, Bible principles can reduce serious, death-dealing problems. How is that possible? Here are some examples:
The U.S. government calls cigarette smoking “clearly the largest single preventable cause of illness and premature death in the United States.” Cancer deaths are six times higher among men who smoke than among those who do not. The Bible says: “Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) Jehovah’s Witnesses have long applied this also to tobacco smoking. Thus, for themselves they have greatly reduced a major cause of one of the world’s most dreadful diseases.
Alcohol abuse and drunkenness cause not only cirrhosis of the liver but also fights, arguments, violence, and a modern plague of death-dealing automobile accidents. Would the Bible help here?
It counsels moderation in the use of alcohol, saying: “Neither . . . drunkards, nor revilers . . . will inherit God’s kingdom. And yet that is what some of you were.” Again: “Wine is a ridiculer, intoxicating liquor is boisterous, and everyone going astray by it is not wise.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Proverbs 20:1) Does that healthful Biblical counsel make good sense?
The abuse of narcotic drugs has become a serious health problem among today’s youth. Health Crisis 2000 says: “A great deal of money is spent on law enforcement against drug trafficking while only a little is spent on preventing our vulnerable youth from becoming addicted in the first place.” Jehovah’s Witnesses apply to mind-bending drugs the same Bible-based principle that applies to tobacco. (2 Corinthians 7:1) The parents set the example in this regard, teaching it to their children, and this goes a long way toward preventing addiction in the first place.
Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and AIDS, are an increasing threat to people who have multiple sex partners. What does the Bible say about this? It soundly condemns sexual immorality. It teaches marriage to one partner for life and being morally faithful to that person. It says: “Let marriage be honorable among all, and the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.” (Hebrews 13:4) Further, it states: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, and they are fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct . . . Those who practice such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.”—Galatians 5:19-21; Matthew 5:32.
Such sound Biblical principles lead to better health even in today’s trouble-filled world, but they cannot offer permanent healing. Permanent healing is the subject of the following article.
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“We have inflicted wounds on ourselves, in the belief that science, doctors and hospitals would find a cure, instead of preventing the very causes of illness in the first place.”—Health Crisis 2000