“Draw Close to God, and He Will Draw Close to You”
Before and After—God’s Word at Work
IF YOU had met Tony in his early teens, you would have found a rough and aggressive boy frequenting some of the run-down parts of Sydney, Australia. He counted gang members among his friends. They were often involved in burglaries, gang warfare, and street shoot-outs.
Tony started smoking at age nine. By 14, he was a regular marijuana user and was leading an immoral life. By the time he was 16, he was a heroin addict, and this led to the use of cocaine, LSD—“in fact, anything I could get a high on,” as Tony puts it. He then established drug-dealing contacts with two notorious crime syndicates. Soon Tony became known as one of the most reliable drug suppliers on the east coast of Australia.
Tony’s heroin and marijuana habit cost him between $160 (U.S.) and $320 (U.S.) a day. But it was costing his family much more than that. “My wife and I,” he says, “had shotguns and knives thrust in our faces on several occasions by criminals who were looking for the drugs and cash that we had on our premises.” After being in prison three times, Tony felt compelled to examine the direction his life was taking.
Although he used to go to church, Tony felt alienated from a God who supposedly burned sinners in hell forever as punishment. When visited by two of Jehovah’s Witnesses, though, Tony was surprised to learn that God is not like that. And Tony was glad that he could indeed put his life in order and receive blessings from God. Tony was moved by Jesus Christ’s statement: “All things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) Especially was Tony touched by the heartening words: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”—James 4:8.
Tony now faced the challenge of bringing his life into harmony with Bible standards. He says: “The first thing I gave up was smoking, something that I could never do before, although I had tried many times. With power from Jehovah, I was able to give up heroin and marijuana, drug habits that had gripped me for the previous 15 years. I never thought that it would be possible to break these habits.”
Instead of fearing a God that torments people eternally in hell—a doctrine found nowhere in the Bible—Tony and his wife came to embrace the hope of living forever on a paradise earth. (Psalm 37:10, 11; Proverbs 2:21) “It took a lot of time and hard work for me to bring my life into line with God’s standards,” Tony admits, “but with Jehovah’s blessing I have succeeded.”
Yes, this former drug addict became a Christian. Volunteering their time and resources, he and his wife have spent thousands of hours in Bible educational work. They are also busy raising two God-fearing children. This radical change was accomplished through the irresistible power of God’s Word, the Bible. Indeed, as the apostle Paul says, “the word of God is alive and exerts power.”—Hebrews 4:12.
Despite such positive examples, some unjustifiably contend that the Bible-based educational work of Jehovah’s Witnesses destroys families and erodes wholesome values in young people. Tony’s case certainly refutes that assertion.
Like Tony, many have learned that deadly addictions can be overcome. How? By faith in God and reliance on him and his Word, as well as through the support of concerned and loving Christian associates. Tony happily concludes: “I have seen how the principles of the Bible have protected my children. Bible teachings have saved my marriage. And my neighbors sleep easier because I am no longer a threat to them.”
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‘With power from Jehovah, I was able to give up a drug habit that had gripped me for 15 years’
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Bible Principles at Work
Various Bible principles have helped many a drug addict to steer away from this debilitating habit. Among these principles are the following:
“Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in God’s fear.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) Taking drugs is against God’s law.
“The fear of Jehovah is the start of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Most Holy One is what understanding is.” (Proverbs 9:10) Reverence for Jehovah based on accurate knowledge of him and his ways has helped many to break free from the influence of drugs.
“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6) Devastating habits can be broken by heartfelt trust in God and full reliance upon him.