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 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×; Proverbs 16:25 Proverbs 16:25There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×). 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 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×). 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 Ecclesiastes 9:11I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.
American King James Version×). 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 2 Timothy 3:12Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
American King James Version×; 1 Peter 2:20 1 Peter 2:20For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
American King James Version×). 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 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×).
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 1 Timothy 4:8For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
American King James Version×, 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 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×).
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 3 John 1:2Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.
American King James Version×).
Even though living by God’s instruction can bring trials and suffering (John 16:33 John 16:33These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
American King James Version×; Acts 14:22 Acts 14:22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×), 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 Mark 10:29-30 29 And Jesus answered and said, Truly I say to you, There is no man that has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundred times now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
American King James Version×). 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.