Be a Vessel for Honorable Use
“If, therefore, anyone keeps clear of the [dishonorable] ones, he will be a vessel for an honorable purpose, sanctified, useful to his owner, prepared for every good work.”—2 Tim. 2:21.
1. How do Christians view the Scriptural warning: “Bad associations spoil useful habits”?
THOSE who want to “get a firm hold on the real life” appreciate the importance and gravity of the warning: “Bad associations spoil useful habits.” They know they must keep clear from dishonorable things and from dishonorable persons, whether such persons claim to be servants of God or not.—1 Tim. 6:19; 1 Cor. 15:33.
2. Why should parents be very concerned over the widespread use of drugs?
2 In the matter of drug use, the greatest danger is to young persons. Therefore, the spotlight focuses on parents. They must see that their children do not get contaminated by the associations among which they are thrown in school and otherwise. It is not an easy task for parents. They need to have the right view of the drug problem and to know how to safeguard their children. For “by wisdom a household will be built up, and by discernment it will prove firmly established.”—Prov. 24:3.
3. What arguments do drug users present to those trying to counsel them?
3 Drug users and promoters present many arguments to justify themselves. They claim they have something new. This drug craze is thought to be a new, “modern” thing, a new way of living or of approach to some god, something that others do not know about. When others try to talk to them about it, they say: ‘Oh, well, you don’t know what you’re talking about; you haven’t tried them.’ They say, ‘You can’t realize the beauty, the euphoria, the perception you get.’ Do you have to try drugs to know what you are talking about? Well, do you?
4. Is it true that one who has not tried drugs does not know anything about their effects?
4 Have we not had centuries of information on this? Look at India; look at China in past years. The degradation of the Chinese people by the infiltration of opium into China, particularly by European nations, was one of the issues in the Boxer Rebellion of 1901. Consider the degradation that drugs brought into these countries. It is a matter of history. So, when anyone talks about drugs, if he has these facts, he knows what he is talking about. No user of drugs can truthfully say, ‘You can’t tell me anything.’
5. Cite a historical acknowledgment of the bad effects of hashish, a relative of marihuana.
5 Marihuana (marijuana) is not new, and what it does has been known for centuries. This drug is a product of the cannabis plant, from which hashish is made. Hashish, frequently called “hash,” is used by most marihuana smokers. The origin of the word “assassin” testifies to the power of hashish to incite to acts of violence. This word “assassin” is drawn from an Arabic word hashashin, a word used to describe the Order of Assassins, a Moslem order founded in Persia about 1090 C.E. At the time of the Crusades, these men terrorized Christians and other enemies by secret murders, religious assassinations committed under the influence of hashish.
JESUS’ ATTITUDE TOWARD ESCAPISM
6-8. What was Jesus’ attitude toward that which would help him to escape reality?
6 What was the attitude of Jesus, our way of approach to God, when he was offered drugs? When he was about to be put on the torture stake they offered him “wine drugged with myrrh,” which would probably have dulled his senses and would have lessened the pain somewhat. The account reads: “He would not take it.”—Mark 15:23.
7 Why did Jesus refuse a drug? Well, of all persons, Jesus Christ, through whom God created all things, certainly knew what effects drugs have on the nervous system and the mind. (Col. 1:16) Jesus was here on trial as to his integrity, his faithfulness and blamelessness toward God. He was undergoing a severe test, and he did not want his mental powers to be dulled for an instant, just for the sake of dulling the pain. He wanted to be alert to God’s will. It was God’s spirit that Christ desired, not a false feeling of ‘great perception and expansion of mind.’ He knew that drugs, rather than help him, would shut off nearness to his Father Jehovah in this time that he most needed God’s help. No drug-induced state of mind would help him to approach nearer to Jehovah God. He realized that, rather, he could, under the stupefying effect of a drug, play into the hands of the demons and lose everything for himself and the human race.
8 Jesus never sought unreality to get away from facing life. He accepted the “cup” that Jehovah had put before him to drink. (John 18:11) Earlier, when Peter tried to turn him away from reality in facing and completing the course that Jehovah had set for him, he reacted instantly by saying to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan [adversary]! You are a stumbling block to me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.” Jesus did not want to go off into dreamy unreality and be drawn under the control of the demons.—Matt. 16:21-23.
9. What is essential, in order that we may approach God and be used by him?
9 To be usable by God we must do his will, and God wants our will to be strong so that we can do his will with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. (1 John 2:17) We need every faculty fully alive and active to do it. (Eph. 5:17; Col. 1:9) The apostle Peter learned from Jesus and he later wrote, urging: “Keep your senses, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone. But take your stand against him, solid in the faith.”—1 Pet. 5:8, 9.
10. What method do the demons use to get control of humans, and how do drugs serve this purpose?
10 The demons, on the other hand, want to dull us so that we are not functioning exactly right. They want to weaken our will to do right. Then they can easily get control of us. They want to becloud and confuse our minds, directing them toward other things so that we will be easily influenced to “do the things not fitting.” (Rom. 1:28) Drugs can be a tool of the demons to accomplish this. A folder published by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare says this about marihuana: “A person using marijuana finds it harder to make decisions that require clear thinking. And he finds himself more easily open to other people’s suggestions. Doing any task that takes good reflexes and thinking is affected by the drug.”
IS THIS GENERATION “DIFFERENT”?
11. Show the fallacy of arguments that drug users present to uphold their supposed “right” to use drugs.
11 Those who are fighting for the so-called “right” to use drugs present such arguments as, ‘Why, it’s no worse than a cigarette,’ or ‘It shows our generation is different.’ Some youths among Jehovah’s witnesses have been infected by such ideas. But why fight against the warning of God’s Word and of his congregation, which has always served him faithfully and is telling us the truth about these drugs? Cigarettes are admittedly ruinous, as is excessive drinking. Even if marihuana were no worse than a cigarette, well, what good is there in either one? If others want to do bad or ruin themselves, why should you?
12. (a) Was Jesus influenced in his course because of the practices of the generation among which he lived? (b) Why would the argument ‘our generation is different’ be no reason for changing to conform to their practices?
12 Did Jesus go bad or relax his morals just because his generation was most corrupt? Oh, they presented arguments to show they were justified. They thought they had the way of approach to God. But Jesus asked their leaders: “How are you to flee from the judgment of Gehenna?” (Matt. 23:33) He told them that the men of Sodom were actually better than that generation. (Matt. 10:15) And as to the argument that free drug use ‘shows our generation is different,’ this is the very generation that Jesus Christ said would be on earth when the “great tribulation” hits the world, and which would be destroyed.—Matt. 24:21, 34; 2 Tim. 3:1-5.
13. What are some parents doing because of the increase of immorality?
13 This generation is getting so bad that there are many parents who want to take their children out of school when they legally can, because of the increase of immorality. They prefer teaching them at home. Many are encouraging their children to get part-time work, so as to be self-supporting. They want the youths to get an appreciation of values and to be real, reliable men and women. Then they encourage them to enter the full-time preaching work.
PARENTAL EXAMPLE REGARDING DRUGS
14. What questions should parents ask themselves about the example they are setting?
14 Drug use surrounds children in many schools to the extent that it is affecting some youths among Jehovah’s witnesses. Parents, are you concerned about you children? Then what about your own life—the example that you are setting? Are you overindulging in alcoholic drinks? Are you constantly talking about such things as drinking? Or, do you take weight-reducing amphetamine pills, not due to a glandular problem, but because you lack self-control in eating? Or, do you use “pep” pills to drive yourself beyond your normal limits?
15. How dangerous is the habitual use of amphetamines?
15 Doctor George R. Edison, of the University of Utah, says that “amphetamine abuse is the major drug-abuse problem in the U.S. outside of the large cities where heroin addiction is so prevalent.” “Speed,” as some amphetamines are called, can cause serious brain damage. In some localities doctors have voluntarily put a ban on prescribing amphetamines.
16. What great dangers exist in the tranquilizer drugs, and to what, rather, should one turn for encouragement?
16 Admittedly, there are legitimate medical uses for various pain-killing preparations in cases of accident or incurable disease. But parents, do you abuse or overuse tranquilizer drugs or barbiturates simply to avoid facing up to life every day? These can make you an addict. They can bring sudden death, particularly if you combine the use of barbiturates with alcohol. Do you not, rather, get comfort and courage from God’s Word to face up to the everyday things of life? (2 Cor. 1:3, 4) If you are addicted to such drugs yourself, do not be surprised if you are found to be like the mother who wrote to TV personality Art Linkletter and who said: “I am so frightened. My daughter is experimenting with drugs because I notice that some of my barbiturates have been missing.”
17. Can we confidently take drugs merely because a doctor has prescribed them?
17 You may say, ‘But my doctor prescribed them.’ What doctors prescribe cannot always be taken without question, especially when dangerous drugs are involved. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports: “Hyperkinetic [overactive] children treated with amphetamines behave better in the classroom, according to a panel of physicians who met in Boston.” But in such cases parents would do better first to apply Bible principles of love and understanding and proper discipline. Doing this may often bring much better results, as some Christian parents have found.
PARENTS, BE ALERT, WATCHFUL
18, 19. What serious situation do parents face, and what should they do?
18 Parents, do you know about your own children in this respect? Just because they are your children do not say to yourself, ‘Oh, they wouldn’t use drugs.’ Have you actually talked to them about drugs and their dangers and found out how your children feel about the issue? Have you forewarned them of things they do not know? That is, not a mere stern warning or threat that something is going to be done if they are found using drugs. Have you, rather, reasoned with your children, finding out their situation and thoughts? This takes time, but it is time that you could not spend in a better way, for their lives are valuable to you. Also, what your children do may mean life or death to YOU.
19 So, parents, talk this matter over periodically with your children, whether you feel that they are using drugs or not. We are all in a fight to maintain integrity for life. To lose integrity means death. The pressures get stronger on us, but at the same time Jehovah kindly makes the issue so clear that there is no haziness to confuse us. It is merely a matter of doing what his Word says. But we have to do our part in maintaining self-control and staying on the right track.
20. Why is it very dangerous even to toy with drugs, for example, to ‘try them just once’?
20 Now is no time to be indifferent, careless or stupefied by drugs. This is a time of final judgment on this world. Anything that weakens self-control, or makes one more open to suggestions from others, deprives one of one’s own full willpower. One is in extreme danger. The spirit of the world is becoming increasingly demonic. If one toys with drugs one is in great peril of weakening one’s integrity. Giving in only once to the world’s spirit may mean falling into the hands of the demons, and death.
21. To what bad things does drug use expose one?
21 Marihuana and such other drugs, as well as excessive drinking of alcohol, do indeed weaken inhibitions and control. They lower the bars of morality. One is open to suggestions from bad associations. It is a trap of the demons. The Bible says: “As a city broken through, without a wall, is the man that has no restraint for his spirit.” (Prov. 25:28) When the wall of an ancient city was broken through, its defenses were gone. It was open to invasion by the enemy. Do not forget that the demons exist and are our foremost enemies.
TRUE SELF-ANALYSIS AND SPIRITUALITY
22. Do we need to use drugs to find out what is in our mind and heart?
22 As to the claim that drugs give self-analysis, it is not what is in our human mind and heart that brings salvation, but, rather, what is in God’s mind and heart. The apostle says: “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwells nothing good; for ability to wish is present with me, but ability to work out what is fine is not present.” (Rom. 7:18) Do we need a “trip” into drug-induced unreality and so-called self-analysis to know this, when God our Creator has already told us so in his Word?
23, 24. Where can we get reliable analysis of ourselves, with proper direction?
23 Of course, we need to examine ourselves and keep our minds and hearts in the right way. But it is the Creator, who knows us better than we ourselves do, who can tell us what to do. The Bible says: “The word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and their marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart.” So, there is where we can find reliable analysis.—Heb. 4:12.
24 God, not drugs, can direct us to lead spiritual lives. We read in First Corinthians 2:9-13: “‘Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.’ For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God.”
25, 26. (a) How can we receive deep insight? (b) What statement of the apostle Paul is a Christian denying if he uses drugs?
25 So, if we want to have deep insight, we will earnestly seek to receive God’s spirit through prayer and study of his Word. The apostle continues: “For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man that is in him? So, too, no one has come to know the things of God, except the spirit of God.” The spirit of God is the only thing that can teach us the things of God.
26 Certainly the spirit of the world is what impels so many young folks to take drugs. They want to please or be popular with their equals. So Paul declares: “We received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God. These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit, as we combine spiritual matters with spiritual words.”
27. Rather than trying to escape reality, what are Jehovah’s witnesses doing?
27 Jehovah’s witnesses are not trying to escape reality. They are living now with a purpose. They are ‘making their minds over’ from the way they formerly were being “fashioned after this system of things.” (Rom. 12:2) A musician who had lived the unreal life on drugs began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses. His associates ridiculed him, taunting: “You’re being brainwashed.” He aptly replied: “The shape our brains are in, they need a good washing.”
28. How do those following the Bible’s way have far better hope than those seeking escape through drugs?
28 Yes, Jehovah’s witnesses have cleaned up their thinking. They hold to the truth of the Bible words: “Godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” Also, they realize, as the apostle said, that their “labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.”—1 Tim. 4:8; 1 Cor. 15:58.
29. (a) How does Romans 14:17 show us that things such as drugs cannot help us to gain God’s blessing? (b) How will God view and use those who seek now to develop the fruits of his spirit?
29 So it is not eating or drinking, or smoking “pot” or using drugs that opens the approach to God, but it is Bible knowledge and the doing of God’s will. It would be well always to think of what is written at Romans 14:17, when arguments such as drug users put forward are presented to us, because we know that it is not what we eat, drink, smoke or put into our bodies that makes us God’s servants or brings his favor. The apostle wrote: “The kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking [and it might be added, using drugs], but means righteousness and peace and joy with holy spirit.” (Rom. 14:17) Pursuing the fruits of God’s spirit, we will be available for honorable use by Jehovah. He will provide a place for us in his new order.—2 Tim. 2:21.
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When parents overuse drugs, what example are they setting for their children?
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Reason with your children about the dangers of drugs. Find out how they feel about their use