“Draw Close to God, and He Will Draw Close to You”
Before and After—Bible Principles Made a Difference
AS A youth, Adrian was full of rage and resentment. His quick temper led to stormy outbursts of anger. He drank, smoked, and led an immoral life. Adrian was known as a punk and got a tattoo that reflected his belief in anarchy. Describing those years, he states: “I cut my hair in the traditional punk way, superglued it, and sometimes dyed it red or another color.” Adrian also had his nose pierced.
Adrian moved into a run-down house with a few other rebellious youths. There they drank and took drugs. “I took speed and injected it with Valium and anything else I could get my hands on,” recalls Adrian. “When drugs or glue were not available, I siphoned gasoline from people’s cars and got high on that.” Living a life of street crime, Adrian became intimidating and extremely violent. People in general did not want anything to do with him. At the same time, his reputation drew the wrong crowd.
Gradually, Adrian realized that his “friends” associated with him only for what they could get. Moreover, he concluded that “all the anger and violence hadn’t achieved anything.” Feeling empty and frustrated, he left his associates. When he found a copy of The Watchtower at a construction site, he was attracted by its Bible-based message, and this led to a study of the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Adrian eagerly responded to the invitation: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) As a result, Adrian soon saw the need to start applying the principles found in the Holy Scriptures.
A growing knowledge of the Bible had a good effect on Adrian’s conscience and redirected his course in life. He was helped to subdue his quick temper and develop self-control. Thanks to the power of God’s Word, Adrian’s personality became quite different.—Hebrews 4:12.
How, though, could the Bible have such a powerful effect? Knowledge of the Scriptures helps us to “put on the new personality.” (Ephesians 4:24) Yes, our personality is changed by applying accurate knowledge found in the Bible. But how does such knowledge change people?
First, the Bible identifies undesirable personality traits that need to be shed. (Proverbs 6:16-19) Second, the Scriptures urge us to display the desirable qualities produced by God’s holy spirit. These include “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”—Galatians 5:22, 23.
Deeper understanding of God’s requirements helped Adrian to examine himself and see the personality traits that he needed to cultivate and those he should eliminate. (James 1:22-25) But that was only a beginning. In addition to knowledge, motivation was needed—something to move Adrian so that he would want to change.
Adrian learned that the desirable new personality is molded “according to the image of the One who created it.” (Colossians 3:10) He came to realize that a Christian’s personality must resemble God’s own personality. (Ephesians 5:1) Through a study of the Bible, Adrian learned about Jehovah’s dealings with mankind and took note of God’s fine qualities, such as his love, kindness, goodness, mercy, and righteousness. Such knowledge moved Adrian to love God and to strive to be the kind of person that Jehovah approves.—Matthew 22:37.
In time and with the help of God’s holy spirit, Adrian managed to bring his violent temper under control. He and his wife are now busy helping others to clean up their lives with the help of Bible knowledge. “Unlike many of my former friends who are now dead, I am alive and enjoying a happy family life,” says Adrian. He is living proof of the Bible’s power to change lives for the better.
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“All the anger and violence hadn’t achieved anything”
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Bible Principles at Work
Following are some Bible principles that have helped many wrathful and violent people to become peaceable:
“Be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath.” (Romans 12:18, 19) Let God determine when and upon whom vengeance is to be brought. He can do so with full knowledge of the facts, and any retribution originating with him will reflect his perfect justice.
“Be wrathful, and yet do not sin; let the sun not set with you in a provoked state, neither allow place for the Devil.” (Ephesians 4:26, 27) A person might justifiably become angry on occasion. If this does happen, he should not remain “in a provoked state.” Why? Because this could incite him to do something evil, thus allowing “place for the Devil,” resulting in Jehovah God’s disapproval.
“Let anger alone and leave rage; do not show yourself heated up only to do evil.” (Psalm 37:8) Unrestrained emotions lead to uncontrolled acts. If a person gives way to rage, he or she is likely to say or do things that will hurt everyone involved.