Approach to Jehovah or to the Demons—Which?
“Let us, therefore, approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time.”—Heb. 4:16.
1, 2. Describe the way by which one must approach God.
JEHOVAH GOD in his heavenly abode has provided a way of approach to himself. He has ONE way. Approach must be through the right channel, faith in Jesus Christ and acceptance of his ransom sacrifice.
2 Jesus himself said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) There are no shortcuts. It is not a matter of living any way one wants to live, even if belonging to some religion. Neither can one use just any method, such as yoga, astrology, asceticism or drugs, and qualify to approach God. A person must have an earnest desire to approach God in the right way, and pray from his heart to get accurate knowledge of God’s Word. And no one is made to approach or serve Jehovah against his own will. God accepts only willing, wholehearted devotion.
3-5. (a) Having approached God, how can we maintain closeness to him? (b) What so-called “helps” do we not need to approach God?
3 Then, having come to know God’s will, a person must follow the direction of God’s Word. To stand before God requires clean hands and a pure heart. The psalmist says: “Who may ascend into the mountain of Jehovah, and who may rise up in his holy place? Anyone innocent in his hands and clean in heart.”—Ps. 24:3, 4.
4 There is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” and of the high priest through whom we approach God we read: “Seeing, therefore, that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold onto our confessing of him. . . . Let us, therefore, approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time.”—Eph. 4:5; Heb. 4:14-16.
5 God loves us; therefore he is not difficult to approach. The apostle Paul said: “He is not far off from each one of us.” We do not need helps or “crutches” such as images or earthly priests or any formalistic rites or printed prayers, neither hypnotism nor any form of drug. Adam did not approach God by means of images or drugs, neither did the “last Adam,” Jesus Christ.—Acts 17:27; 1 Cor. 15:45.
6, 7. By what way can one of God’s people come to be under demon control?
6 Satan and his associate demons, on the other hand, seek control of mankind. Satan is a mimic god. He too has ways by which he can be approached, certain things that open us up to demon control.
7 Now, Jehovah protects his people from control of the demons unless they use a channel of approach to the demons. When a person gives in to wrong or foolish desire, however, he is easily turned to some channel that the demons arrange. He then comes under their control. Such a person may not necessarily be demon possessed, but he will be doing the things the demons want him to do, the things against God. James, Jesus’ half brother, said: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.”—Jas. 1:14, 15.
8, 9. Why is it very dangerous to be associates of worldly persons?
8 Trying to imitate or be associates of worldly persons, or persons who follow the world’s thinking, is highly dangerous. Following their ways or trying to please them is one avenue that can eventually lead to control by the demons. Regardless of how fine such persons may appear to be, they are not guided by God’s spirit, but “according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience.” That is why we should take seriously the Scriptural warning: “Bad associations spoil useful habits.”—Eph. 2:2; 1 Cor. 15:33.
9 Once the demons get a hold on a person he can rapidly go into complete degradation and an untimely death. That is what the demons like to see, especially delighting in the ruin of one who has once served God.—Compare Matthew 8:28-32.
WHAT ABOUT DRUGS?
10-12. Why cannot we avoid the question, Do drugs open approach to the demons?
10 What, then, about the use of drugs? Do they affect us in this respect, one way or another? Drugs have indeed become a big issue. The use of drugs is widespread in colleges and high schools and is rapidly spilling over into grade schools. Young business people even have their social marihuana (marijuana) smokes.
11 Is it, as they claim, merely ‘a harmless diversion, a way to relax, a way to get relief from the pressures of the modern world’? Someone may say, ‘That’s all there is to it; it doesn’t have anything to do with demons; it’s just for relaxation.’
12 Yes, someone may say that, but none of us can avoid facing the issue, To whom do drugs open an approach? Why? Because drug advocates themselves say that drugs are ‘a way to get closer to God.’ Drugs, they say, ‘give a sense of awareness,’ ‘are instant paradise’ or ‘give instant self-analysis.’ Well, do drugs actually expand the mind? Can they help us to analyze our hearts for good? What things in this connection must we consider, and what do the facts show?
A SOUND MIND ESSENTIAL
13-15. Why is it necessary for a Christian to guard his soundness of mind?
13 In the matter of approaching Jehovah and winning the reward of everlasting life, Jesus brought the mind into focus when he said: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and [please note] with your whole mind.”—Matt. 22:37.
14 It is obvious, therefore, that to approach Jehovah requires the full use of a healthy mind, keeping our power of perception and our power of reason clear and keen. Thus it requires a sound mind. Further, Paul stresses that Christians, all Christians, must be sound in mind. He exhorts that the aged men be sound in mind, that the aged women help younger women to be sound in mind, and that Titus himself keep on exhorting the younger men to be sound in mind.—Titus 2:2-6.
15 Therefore, as Christians, we cannot do anything that would place the soundness of our Christian mind in jeopardy. We are told: “Present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.” (Rom. 12:1) To do otherwise would be to lose out on our approach to Jehovah and would put us in great danger of getting involved with the demons.
16. Why does a Christian have to be concerned as to the effects of marihuana on the mind?
16 Since marihuana’s effects are not so violent as the “hard” drugs, its use is more widespread among worldly people. Even Jehovah’s people, particularly those who are in school, may be tempted to use it. This raises the question: Would a Christian be giving evidence of a sound mind, a healthy mind, by using marihuana, or even contemplating its use? This is a very serious question, for the increase in frequency of the use of marihuana is staggering.
MARIHUANA’S EFFECTS ON THE MIND
17, 18. Did the use of marihuana prove to be ‘a harmless diversion’ to a certain sixteen-year-old girl?
17 For evidence of marihuana’s detrimental effects on one’s mind, morals, life and body, let the reader consider with us some concrete facts as submitted by medical doctors whose findings are reported in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, of April 19, 1971.
18 “A 16-year-old girl in whom there was no prior psychiatric difficulty smoked cannabis derivatives (marihuana and hashish) . . . for a period of two years. She began to lose interest in academic work . . . From a quiet and socially popular girl, she became hostile and quite impulsive in her inappropriate verbal attacks on teachers and peers. . . . After withdrawal from the drug, . . . Ten months of follow-up showed continued impairment of memory and thought disorder . . . she . . . could not transform her thoughts into either written or spoken words as she had once been able to do quite easily.”
Marihuana a harmless diversion? Rather, a ruination of mental health and soundness of mind.
19. What experience reveals that marihuana’s use can bring out viciousness in its user?
19 “A 20-year-old man developed delusions of omnipotence and grandeur six months after starting to smoke marihuana. He believed that he was in charge of the Mafia and that he was an Eastern potentate of the Ku Klux Klan. He began to collect guns and knives in addition to training his German shepherd dog to attack others.”
This individual’s mind was greatly damaged. It became unsound, sick. Was he obeying God’s command to ‘beat swords into plowshares’ and to love his neighbor? Whom was he approaching—Jehovah or the demons?
20. What degraded works were produced in a fourteen-year-old user of marihuana?
20 “Shortly after a 14-year-old boy began to smoke marihuana, he began to demonstrate indolence, apathy, and depression. . . . his condition worsened until he began to hallucinate and to develop paranoid ideas. Simultaneously, he became actively homosexual. . . . he attempted suicide by jumping from a moving car he had stolen.”
We ask: Marihuana, ‘an approach to paradise’? Homosexuality and suicide—instant paradise?
21, 22. What religious and spiritistic connections do we observe in the experiences of two young marihuana users?
21 Often only a short period of marihuana use has ruinous effects, as experienced by another young man:
“A 19-year-old boy smoked marihuana for four months, . . . Believing he had superhuman mental powers, he felt that he was able to communicate with and control the minds and actions of animals, especially dogs and cats. . . . [he believed] that he was the Messiah.”
Communication with dogs and cats and presumptuously thinking one is the Messiah makes approach to Jehovah impossible.
22 “An 18-year-old boy who smoked marihuana and hashish regularly for a three-year period became progressively withdrawn, confused, and depressed. His interest in astrology and Eastern religions increased. He became a vegetarian and practiced yoga. He had the delusion that he was a guru and eventually believed that he was the son of God. . . . he moved to the west coast and continued his unproductive, aimless life, supported financially by his parents.”
Again, we face the question: Approach to Jehovah or the demons—which? These two last-cited cases definitely show that a form of spiritism was involved.
23. (a) Why cannot one rely on worldly counselors? (b) Cite an instance in proof.
23 In connection with the use of drugs as in other matters affecting us spiritually we should turn our ears away from the counselors of this world, which is sick in mind. We should recognize this counsel for what it is: the wisdom of this world whose god is Satan the Devil. Weigh the value of such counsel given to a college student.
“A 19-year-old boy entered college with an ‘A’ average. He began smoking marihuana early in the freshman year, and within two months of starting to smoke cannabis, he became apathetic, disoriented, and depressed. At the semester’s end, he had failed all courses and lacked judgment in most other matters. . . . As with so many of our patients, this young man told his psychiatrist that he had observed changes while smoking marihuana; he even went to a college counselor and told the counselor that he felt he was having a thinking problem due to smoking marihuana. The counselor reassured him that the drug was harmless and that there was no medical evidence of difficulties as a consequence of smoking.”
However, this boy quit smoking marihuana, and gradually his apathy disappeared, his motivation returned, and his personal appearance improved. He found employment and later enrolled at another university.
24. What were some of the general effects on those using marihuana?
24 Many other cases could be cited. It might be added that a marked characteristic of marihuana users, particularly females, was the unusual degree of sexual promiscuity, both with individuals of the opposite sex and of the same sex. This was true among those who had engaged in no sexual promiscuity before using marihuana. The incidence of venereal diseases was high.
DRUGS, SPIRITISM AND DEMONISM
25. With whom are those who use drugs cooperating?
25 Whom, then, do drugs help us to approach? Who is it that is in favor of degradation of men, of filth, both physical and moral, of insanity and an early death? It is the powers of darkness that drug users are approaching and with whom they are cooperating. In fact, as to the terrible addictive drug heroin, one user says: “It has all the advantages of death without its permanence.” Yes, drug abuse leads to the deadly danger of spiritism, demon practices, demon worship, and can even result in obsession by demons. Far from godly spirituality and closeness to God, it brings closeness to the demons.
26, 27. Show that the use of drugs really leads to spiritism.
26 Either we are doing what the demons desire of us or we are obsessed and possessed by them, if we use the hallucinatory drugs. Notice this, that, in many cases, there is a leading of the person to astrology or to occult pagan religions that practice a form of spiritism and communication with the demons. There is a direct connection. One drug user said it was a thing commonly recognized among the drug users with whom he associated that (as they said) they ‘knew a guy had gone too far when he began thinking that he was a god.’ So the boys who thought they were the Son of God were no isolated cases. Now, which were they getting to be like—Jehovah God and his Son Jesus the Messiah, or the demon gods?
27 Following their approach to the demons by the use of drugs, these young persons whose cases we have just considered did not stop there. No. They followed through and displayed the works of the demons: hostility, a disposition toward violence, sexual perversion and attempted suicide.
SPIRITISM A WORK OF THE FLESH
28, 29. Why is spiritism classified by the Bible as a work of the flesh?
28 But we do not have to have examples to know these things about drugs. We already have the word of the most important authority of all, Jehovah God. At Galatians 5:19-21 we read of the works of the flesh: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, and they are fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism, enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these.” Which one of these things does the use of drugs not lead to?
29 These degrading things are not the fruits of the spirit. They are not spiritual. Spiritism itself is not spiritual, but is classified by the Bible as a work of the flesh. As an illustration: A person who commits bestiality (having sexual relations with a beast) is a human performing the act, but it is not a human act. It is the act of a beast, perverted, degraded for a human to do. Similarly, spiritism, while claiming to be spiritual, while being promoted by spirit creatures, wicked demons, is perverted, debased, a work of the flesh, not of the spirit.
30, 31. (a) How, before the Flood, did the demons demonstrate their desire to have fleshly connections? (b) Show that the action of the angels who married human women was perversion.
30 The demons pervertedly desire fleshly connections. Reflect on the pre-Flood account. The Bible reports: “Now it came about that when men started to grow in numbers on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, then the sons of the true God [angels] began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking; and they went taking wives for themselves, namely, all whom they chose.”—Gen. 6:1, 2.
31 This act of the angels was a perversion because they were not created for this purpose. The Christian writer Jude compares their action with the sex perversion of Sodom and Gomorrah, writing: “The angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day. So too Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.”—Jude 6, 7.
32. How do the demons still seek to satisfy their desire to have fleshly connections?
32 These angels who sinned cannot materialize now as they did before the Flood, because of God’s restriction. Nevertheless, by controlling the minds and bodies of persons they feel that, to some extent, they are having fleshly connections.
33. How does the Greek word for “spiritism” or “witchcraft” indicate a connection between drugs and spiritism?
33 It is of interest to us that the Greek word used in the Bible for “practice of spiritism,” “sorcery” or “witchcraft” is phar·ma·kiʹa, which is very closely related to our word “pharmacy.” Phar·ma·kiʹa means, literally, “druggery.” Why is this word used for spiritism or sorcery? One authority says:
“PHARMAKIA . . . (Eng., pharmacy, etc.) primarily signified the use of medicine, drugs, spells; then, poisoning; then, sorcery, . . . See also Rev. 9:21; 18:23. . . . In sorcery, the use of drugs, whether simple or potent, was generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to occult powers, with the provision of various charms, amulets, etc., professedly designed to keep the applicant or patient from the attention and power of demons, but actually to impress the applicant with the mysterious resources and powers of the sorcerer.”—Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
34. How are drug users deceived, and in what will drug use eventually result for its users?
34 Is not the situation parallel today? Many drug users claim they are ‘approaching God,’ they are ‘expanding their minds.’ But actually it has to do with impressing the user with mysterious hallucinations and feelings, leading them to the demons, under the idea that the drug is freeing their minds for higher, broader thinking. If one is led into the practice of spiritism he is open to all sorts of wrong practices, demon influence, insanity and everlasting death. Spiritism, a work of the flesh, will prevent one from entering God’s kingdom, say the Scriptures at Galatians 5:21.
35. What warning does the apostle Paul give concerning the doing of anything that causes us to deviate from devotion to the true God, Jehovah?
35 The apostle Paul describes what people are doing when they engage in any religious act or practice that makes an approach to anyone aside from the true God, Jehovah. He says: “The things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers with the demons. You cannot be drinking the cup of Jehovah and the cup of demons; you cannot be partaking of ‘the table of Jehovah’ and the table of demons.” If we use drugs, we should very soberly consider Paul’s next words: “Or ‘are we inciting Jehovah to jealousy’?” he asks, then warns, “We are not stronger than he is, are we?”—1 Cor. 10:20-22.
36. What does God provide for the individual who approaches him with sincerity of heart?
36 Jehovah provides those who approach him sincerely with everything they need to be happy. Of approach and service to God, the apostle says: “To be sure, it is a means of great gain, this godly devotion along with self-sufficiency.” Seek godliness through obedience to the only One who can provide it, and be happy “along with those who call upon the Lord out of a clean heart.”—1 Tim. 6:6; 2 Tim. 2:22.
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.
[Picture on page 184]
When parents overuse drugs, what example are they setting for their children?
[Picture on page 185]
Reason with your children about the dangers of drugs. Find out how they feel about their use
Fine Conduct—a Powerful Witness
DEEP love for Jehovah God and fellow humans moves true Christians to conduct themselves in a laudable way. Their fine conduct ‘adorns the teaching of God.’ (Titus 2:10) It makes that teaching appealing to honest-hearted persons. In fact, many who are now associating with Jehovah’s Christian witnesses were initially attracted to the Bible’s message by observing the powerful witness given by commendable conduct.
● While working at the Customs Agency Service in Atlanta, Georgia, a woman met one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Regarding this Witness, she writes: “There was something outstandingly different about this woman. Her modesty and manner of conducting herself were unlike that of most businesswomen. We became friends and, during one conversation, she told me that she was one of Jehovah’s witnesses.
“Although at first this seemed rather strange to me, I was interested in hearing more about it. As she answered my barrage of questions, I realized that this was definitely the truth.”
Today this woman is also a dedicated, baptized witness of Jehovah.
● A manager of a large restaurant in the United States had his interest aroused when a Witness began working there. About twenty-five cooks and busboys and between fifty and seventy-five women worked in the restaurant. But it was the Witness who stood out from all the others. In a short period of time she became known as one of the better workers. She never cursed nor did she smoke, share in off-color stories or attend any of the after-hour parties. She also made good use of her ‘break’ periods to consider Biblical matters.
All this made a favorable impression on the manager. He tried to assist her by extending to her the opportunity to get off on religious holidays. But she would turn these opportunities down, always explaining Scripturally why she did not share in them.
Eventually the manager began to ask more questions. Discerning his interest, the Witness directed him to one of the male Witnesses, and a home Bible study was started with him.
Later, this manager married the Witness whose conduct had impressed him, quit his job as manager and, as a baptized witness of Jehovah, took up the full-time “pioneer” ministry. For some thirteen years now he has been serving as a traveling overseer.
● Relating her personal experience, a Witness from California says: “When most people think of Jehovah’s witnesses they think of their door-to-door