How Bible Principles Apply to Your Life
The most vital book of all time! What do you really know about it? How will it make you genuinely happier, healthier, more contented? What does it really mean to you? This article presents the clear and simple answer.
DO YOU think Bible principles really apply today, that they are a sound guide for your life? Some people will admit that they do not think these principles are practical. Other people, while not admitting this, will show by their course of action that they do not believe such principles apply now. But let us assure you that the Bible’s principles really do work, that they will make your life a healthier, happier, longer and more enjoyable one.
For example, delinquency could be eliminated through following the Bible’s principles on child raising. Divorces and broken homes can be saved through following its principles on family life. Feelings of anxiety, hostility, inferiority, envy, etc., can be overcome through following its instructions. Even further, religious differences are abolished when the Bible really is accepted by both sides. These are practical matters; they concern your everyday life. But they are only the beginning of the information that the Bible has for you. That further information will be considered in this article after we first see how it is that the Bible’s principles really will improve your daily life.
FAMILY LIFE, CHILD TRAINING, MORALS
The instructions the Bible gives about family life are pointed, simple and clear. Anyone can understand and apply them. Note, not the part that applies to the rest of the family, but the part that applies to you. Apply it, and your family life will be a much happier one: “You wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as it is becoming in the Lord. You husbands, keep on loving your wives and do not be bitterly angry with them. You children, be obedient to your parents in everything, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord. You fathers, do not be exasperating your children, so that they do not become downhearted.” (Col. 3:18-21, NW) Do you say there is no reason for you to apply this instruction to your life because the rest of the family does not? Then remember, their part of it is not your responsibility; your part is. Would the rest of the family’s attitude change if yours changed? Are you setting the right example, or the wrong one? Following this right instruction that puts everything in proper order will overcome contentiousness and reduce personal family dissensions. Try it; it really does work!
The instructions about child training? The responsibility is upon the parents to train the children in the right way. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proper parental authority must be exercised: “Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beat him with the rod, he will not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from Sheol.” However, this should never be in anger, just to ease the parent’s emotions, but should be tempered with mercy, justice and love, and should be consistent, just as Jehovah tempers his discipline with mercy, justice and love and is always consistent. To parents who themselves set the right example, and who properly discharge this obligation, delinquency is no problem.—Prov. 22:6; 23:13, 14, AS.
What about adult morals and the increasing crime that fills our prisons to overflowing? Following the one command, “You must love your neighbor as yourself,” would solve the entire problem. The people do not follow that command? Then their religious leaders have fallen down in teaching the real importance of following such principles today, as the previous article shows. True Christians really do follow that instruction. Further, they remember Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians: “What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. And yet that is what some of you were.” Yes, any previous course can be changed to the high standard that the Bible commands. And if one wishes to be a true Christian he has no choice but to conform to those high principles.—Matt. 19:19; 1 Cor. 6:9-11, NW.
Jehovah’s witnesses today are living testimony to the fact that Bible principles really are practical in this second half of the twentieth century. The joy, orderliness and unselfish co-operation shown at the assemblies of these people cause much comment. Following the Bible’s principles there are no social inequalities, racial prejudices or nationalism, but these have been replaced with love. It is recognized that all men who serve God are equal. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.” There is no room for racial hatreds, social inequalities or nationalism among such people. Bible principles have overcome these divisive problems.—Gal. 3:28, NW.
Is anxiety a problem? Then practice love, love of God and love of your fellow man. “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.” Remember, too, Jesus’ counsel: “Quit being anxious about your souls as to what you will eat or about your bodies as to what you will wear. Who of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his life span? If, therefore, you can not do the least thing, why be anxious about the remaining things?” And, as Paul pointed out, Jehovah has promised his servants: “I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.” Thus, to the true Christian, anxiety should be no problem.—Luke 6:38; 12:22, 25, 26; Heb. 13:5, NW.
Are you hostile, having personal hatred toward others? Then follow the instruction: “Let the sun not set with you in a provoked state.” Do you feel inferior? Then remember: “God chose the ones who are poor respecting the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to those who love him, did he not?” Do you envy others? Then remember that all that we have that is of real value comes from God, and if we have his favor we have the greatest thing. And remember, also, that the antidote for envy is generosity, loving one’s fellow as oneself. “Love is long-suffering and obliging. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury.” How many of today’s problems love would solve!—Eph. 4:26; Jas. 2:5; 1 Cor. 13:4, 5, NW.
Such love allows no room for hostility, inferiority or envy, and removing these things from the mind improves not only your mental but also your physical health, because the mind has a great effect upon the body’s well-being. Thus, it is true that “a liberal man will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” And, “A man who is kind benefits himself.”—Prov. 11:25, 17, RS.
WHY APPLY SUCH PRINCIPLES?
“But why should I practice these principles when other people do not?” “Why should I show love to people who hate me?” “Why should I be honest with people who steal?” “Why should I take my time to help people who have never helped me?” These are common questions. But why not do these things? Why restrict your own happiness just because others throw theirs away? Why follow their bad example rather than letting them see your good one? Just to spite the world, do not take a course of greed that adds to your own unhappiness. You can avoid that by following the right course that Jesus set out. “To this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely. He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth. When he was being reviled, he did not go to reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go to threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously.” Can you find a better course to follow than that one? Are you really happier for trying to follow a different course? Then show the strength, determination and integrity necessary to follow the sound, life-giving Bible principles that have here been set out.—1 Pet. 2:21-23, NW.
Serving God may not always prove the most profitable course financially or socially, but it is better even to take a material loss than to lose God’s favor and everlasting life. Not just a more contented life today, but the spiritual benefit that the Bible provides is the most important thing for us. Right thinking is needed. Not religious formalism—the lighting of candles, counting of beads, fasting, singing or just attending a Sunday sermon—but a real warmhearted devotion to righteousness is what we must have. The world’s thinking is vastly different from what God outlined in the Bible. Why is this true? Because Satan is responsible for the world’s thinking. “The god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” But you do not have to follow the world’s wrong thinking. You can reject the ways of the present system sponsored by the father of disobedience, Satan, and take the course that is outlined in the Word of the Father of life, Jehovah. To do this you must gain a right knowledge of God’s Word and “quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and complete will of God.”—2 Cor. 4:4; Rom. 12:2, NW.
THE COURSE TO FOLLOW
We must remember that while today’s clergy often try to please almost everyone, the Bible does not try to please anyone. Anyone who wants to put things in their right order and please God can follow it, but it does not come down to the level of those who do not wish to do that, no matter how many of such people there might be. This Book offers safeguards for the minds and hearts of the men who will accept it. It reveals the mind of the Creator. Through getting a right knowledge of what it says we can make our minds over, putting things in the right order and pleasing God. Psalm 119:9 (AS) puts it very simply: “Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
Now, in all probability your home has a Bible. Most homes do. But just having it is not the important thing. You must know what it says, believe it, apply its instructions, use it as your life guide. As Paul advised Timothy, you must be “a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.”—2 Tim. 2:15, NW.
What do you learn from God’s Word? First, that you must avail yourself of Christ’s ransom sacrifice, doing something about it. We read that “the Son of man came . . . to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” Note: not for all, but for many. Yes, it is a free gift, but it takes two to make a gift, a giver and a receiver. To accept the ransom you must take a positive action, taking advantage of its provisions. You must recognize Jehovah God as the Supreme Ruler of the universe, the Father of the ransomer, the one to whom “salvation belongeth,” and you must obey the instructions that are contained in his Word. It is through thus faithfully serving him that you show appreciation for the loving provisions that he has made.—Matt. 20:28, NW; Ps. 3:8.
Further, you learn that this is not an isolated action on your part but that you must faithfully and regularly assemble with God’s people, “not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day [of the old world’s end] drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25, NW) Where can you assemble with such people to study such things? Certainly not in the majority of church organizations today where people have been members for forty or fifty years and still are unable to explain the elementary doctrines of Christianity. But you do meet people who can give you such encouragement, and you really do study God’s Word when you attend the regular meetings at the more than 14,000 Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the world.
A third thing you learn when you study the Bible is that you must be diligent in presenting this message to others, telling them of the good things you have learned. In true Christianity there is no room for the apathy that marks most of today’s religions. One whose heart really is filled with joy at receiving the truth will feel compelled to speak it out. “For out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.” It is commanded that the Christian publicly declare this good news, telling it to others; thus this is necessary for your own salvation as well as for the salvation of those who listen to you. “For if you publicly declare that ‘word in your mouth’, that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved.”—Luke 6:45; Rom. 10:9, NW.
You learn, too, that this activity is not just a hobby, diversion or casual pastime, but that it is of vital importance and is a permanent way of life. It is in fulfillment of such a vital mission that, world-wide, Jehovah’s witnesses go from house to house with the message of God’s kingdom, visiting the people in their homes with the good news of his Word. Like the psalmist, they say: “I will sing unto Jehovah as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have any being.” Can one honestly claim to be a Christian while offering God less than that? How much of your effort is thus being spent in helping others to learn of God’s way?—Ps. 104:33, AS.
THE VALUE OF THIS SERVICE
Why is this course of such great value? First, it brings happiness and contentment now. Second, and far more important, it provides Jehovah’s protection through the impending time of trouble. The Bible’s prophecies refer to our day. They warn that ours is earth’s most crucial period when the “accomplished end” of Satan’s wicked rule is at hand. (Matt. 24:14, NW) The graft, violence, insecurity and worry that are so evident today are soon to be abolished. They will cease and righteous conditions will replace them. God has promised: “I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” Would you like to live under those conditions? Then follow the instructions of God’s Word and receive his favor, because “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, and though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas.”—Isa. 65:17; Ps. 46:1, 2, AS.
Thus, following the Bible’s principles will improve your family life, will help you to raise better children and to have a more peaceful, contented mind. Further, you will see that Christ’s ransom makes it possible for you to benefit from God’s provisions, but that to accept that ransom you must take a positive course of action, must assemble with other Christians and participate with them in God’s service. So, study God’s Word, learn how it will benefit you and what is expected of you. Then follow its sound principles and obey its righteous instructions. Doing so is of vital importance, because it means your very life!