Frankly, life just isn't working for some people. Maybe you have noticed the incredible proliferation of self-help books on store and library bookshelves.
Why are so many self-help books published? Could it be simply because people recognize they need help with the many problems, challenges and stresses of everyday life? Writers and publishers recognize this, and their books fly off the shelves by the thousands.
You may not realize that most families already own the best self-help book ever published. Millions of copies have been published, and it's been translated into hundreds of languages. Its words have been around for thousands of years. This book is your Bible.
Although it's a perpetual best seller, few people take the time to read and study the Bible. Most think it's nice to have around and that everybody should have one, but few seem to accept that it means much to us. After all, how could something written thousands of years ago apply to our fast-paced, technologically advanced world? Still others think the Bible is a book for theologians and cannot be understood by the average person.
Those who take the time to study the Bible, however, find it is a timeless book. It addresses the ageless issues and questions: Why are we here? Where are we going? What are the solutions to perpetual human problems? How can we learn to live together in peace? How can we live rewarding, fulfilling lives?
The Bible is filled with practical, down-to-earth advice from our Creator. It can help us see and avoid the pitfalls that come with doing things our way (Proverbs 14:12; Proverbs 16:25). It records for us vital and profound lessons from real people.
The Bible clearly shows the principle of cause and effect—that our choices and actions, good and bad, produce good and bad results. It's filled with sound counsel on how to have happy families, marriages and friendships, how to properly rear children, how to manage family finances and succeed on the job, how to maintain your health and so much more. In short, it tells us how to make life work.
In this booklet we have gathered and summarized some of the Bible's advice on these topics. But in many ways we've only scratched the surface; the Bible easily contains a lifetime's education, just waiting for us to search out its priceless gems and treasures. It's a source of spiritual and practical help that you cannot afford to be without.
The challenge of living the truth you learn
Keep in mind, however, that just because the advice is there doesn't mean it's easy to follow. It takes effort. Trying to live by the Bible's instruction is a challenge.
Our natural inclination is to go a different direction from what the Bible teaches (Romans 8:7). We're surrounded by a secular world largely oblivious to biblical values, and those who wish to obey God often find themselves swimming upstream against popular thinking and ways of doing things. Nor does it help when we see that many who profess to be Christian display little or no commitment to living by God's instructions.
Also, we need to be aware that things don't always work out the way we expect, even when we do try to follow God's instruction. Scripture tells us that "time and chance happen to [us] all" (Ecclesiastes 9:11). In other words, in spite of our best efforts, other circumstances and situations beyond our control will affect us—sometimes for the better, at times for the worse. Although we can control our own actions, we sometimes have little or no control over the actions of others that spill over and affect us.
God doesn't tell us this life will be perfect when we put His instruction into practice. In fact, He tells us to expect adversities (2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 2:20). He assures us, though, that in spite of difficulties and disappointments, "all things work together for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28).
Is living this way worth it?
In the face of such difficulties, some may question whether it is worth the effort to live a godly life. But the Bible assures us that "godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:8, emphasis added throughout).
Some people recognize that living God's way holds great promise "of the life . . . which is to come." Far fewer understand that living a godly life also has benefits in "the life that now is"—that is, our present physical lives. They misperceive God's way as restrictive and detrimental to a happy, fulfilled life.
God's way of life, however, is not a burden; it is most assuredly a blessing.
After all, God's purpose for sending Jesus Christ to earth was to give us the opportunity for eternal life. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
God is concerned about our eternal well-being. But Jesus revealed another reason for His coming when He said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John l0:l0). Jesus came so we can have eternal life, but He came also to help us understand how we can enjoy fulfilled, productive lives right now.
The apostle John expressed God's desire for us when he wrote, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" (3 John 1:2).
Even though living by God's instruction can bring trials and suffering (John 16:33; Acts 14:22), Jesus promised tangible blessings in the here and now for following God's way of life and then, in the age to come, eternal life (Mark 10:29-30). We can experience definite blessings in this life for following the instructions found in God's Word.
Since following God's way is worth the effort, what must we do to please Him? This booklet addresses some of the common issues we face—marriage, child rearing, health, employment, finances—and explains how we can structure our lives according to many principles brought out in the Bible. Continue reading to begin learning how you can live by the rules that make life work.