Making Christianity Your Way of Life
FIRST-CENTURY followers of Jesus Christ were spoken of as belonging to “The Way.” (Acts 9:2) That can still be said of true Christians. Why? Because their manner of life centers around faith in Christ. And, like Jesus, they are wholeheartedly devoted to Jehovah God. It is their way of life.
Perhaps you have been studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Christian witnesses and attending meetings at their local Kingdom Hall. If so, you probably are happy with the spiritual things you are receiving. But very likely you realize that being a worshiper of Jehovah is not simply a matter of adhering to certain doctrines and meeting with those who believe in God and Christ. Rather, practicing true religion influences every aspect of the Christian’s life.
Some people think that being so concerned with spiritual matters is too restrictive. They may reason that they already are accountable to “Caesar’s” tax regulations, traffic laws and many other rules, and that is enough for them. Such individuals say that they want to be free. They do not yet realize that “where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.” They have yet to experience that “his commandments are not burdensome.”—2 Cor. 3:17; 1 John 5:3.
Actually, great freedom and happiness result from adhering to God’s requirements and making Christianity one’s way of life. For example, consider the matter of employment. Since the Bible condemns laziness, one who is a real Christian works diligently. (Prov. 20:4) Being industrious, he is likely to become quite skilled. In turn, increased proficiency can make his job more secure, or it may result in advancement. If an employer must reduce his working force, such a person is likely to be retained. There is a demand for conscientious and skillful workers. Appropriately, God’s Word says: “Have you beheld a man skillful in his work? Before kings is where he will station himself; he will not station himself before commonplace men.”—Prov. 22:29.
But suppose your employer wants you to be dishonest in dealing with his customers. Well, the Scriptures say, “A cheating pair of scales is something detestable to Jehovah.” God hates “a false tongue,” and “one of little means is better than a lying man.” (Prov. 11:1; 6:16, 17; 19:22) As a person who is trying to please God, therefore, doubtless you would respectfully tell your employer that you will neither cheat nor lie at his behest. Would that result in the loss of your job? Not necessarily, for often a principled man or woman gains increased respect. Furthermore, most employers would be delighted to have workers who will not lie to them or steal things at their places of employment.
It is possible, of course, that your firm stand for what is right might result in the loss of your job. In that event, other employment would have to be sought that requires no violation of Christian conscience. But Jehovah’s hand is not short. “A young man I used to be,” declared the psalmist David under divine inspiration, “I have also grown old, and yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, nor his offspring looking for bread.”—Ps. 37:25.
A similar desire to conduct oneself “honestly in all things” motivates schoolchildren who are making Christianity their way of life. (Heb. 13:18) Since they do not cheat during examinations, they get more benefit from instruction that is being provided than do the students who cheat when taking tests. So the Christian course is more practical. Besides that, honest Christians can “spend the night satisfied” instead of being unable to sleep well because of a guilty conscience.—Prov. 19:23.
Those making Christianity their way of life also shun sexual immorality, because they wish to please Jehovah and realize that “God will judge fornicators and adulterers” in an adverse way. (Heb. 13:4) Today many persons desire supposed sexual freedom and do not want Biblical restraints. But who has true freedom from the anxieties of marital unfaithfulness and a host of other troubles? Those making Christianity their way of life.
The Bible book of Proverbs represents a “young man in want of heart,” or lacking good motive, as being misled by an immoral woman. “All of a sudden,” it is said, “he is going after her, like a bull that comes even to the slaughter . . . until an arrow cleaves open his liver, just as a bird hastens into the trap, and he has not known that it involves his very soul.” (Prov. 7:6-23) As it is, syphilis sometimes attacks the liver, even as it does other organs of the body. The consequences of this venereal disease can be fatal, but the person who really makes Christianity his way of life refrains from immoral conduct that is physically, mentally and spiritually detrimental.
Now, please think about your homelife. For example, consider the husband-wife relationship. The apostle Paul wrote: “Let each one of you individually so love his wife as he does himself; on the other hand, the wife should have deep respect for her husband.” (Eph. 5:33) Of course, to be loved and appreciated by her husband, a woman must conduct herself in ways that produce these feelings. Then, too, a husband will not be respected deeply unless he acts in a manner that earns such esteem.
Surely Christian attitudes would benefit any marriage. And family life in general goes well when those in the household display godly traits. Obviously, any family has reason for happiness when its members exhibit qualities such as love, compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness and long-suffering.—Col. 3:12-14.
Making Christianity one’s way of life certainly results in many benefits. Yet, it does not require asceticism or extreme self-denial. For instance, proper recreation has its place among Christians. The Scriptures say: “For everything there is an appointed time . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to skip about.”—Eccl. 3:1, 4.
As you progress in knowledge of God’s Word, the Bible, you will appreciate more and more that a Christian life truly is balanced, joyous and satisfying. The person adhering to Jehovah’s requirements does not feel burdened with oppressive rules. Rather, he knows real freedom and happiness because he has come to ‘know the truth, and the truth has set him free.’ (John 8:32) That is the lot of all who really make Christianity their way of life.