Ancient Principles that still Benefit Us Today.
The pursuit of happiness. From the moment a child is born, every single thing he does is in order to make himself more comfortable, happier, satisfied with life and who can blame him? The truth is that we all want to be happy. However, we live in a fast paced world. All around us there are a lot of pressures. Pressure to have good education, pressure to secure a good job, pressure to be rich even pressure to have a family. In order to cope with such pressures a lot of us develop habits to help alleviate some of the stress. But do these habits really help? True, each time we engage in unhealthy habits we reduce our lifespan. Where though can we turn to for sound advice and guidance on how to live a healthy and more meaningful life? For a lot of us, the answer to this question would be: "A doctor or a shrink". However, the functions of a doctor are mostly curative. The Bible is not just another religious book, it contains principles which, when applied, can help us improve our quality of life and keep us away from the hospital for a long time. We are going to consider a few of such Bible principles.
PRINCIPLES ON EMOTIONS AND OUTLOOK
Proverbs 14:30-“A calm heart is the life of the fleshly organism, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.”
Now how can we have a “calm heart”? Let us consider another principle.
Ephesians 4:31-“Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from you along with all badness.
The principle here is that we need to control our emotions. Often times certain people who claim to be professionals in psychology and mental health might encourage us to act out our feelings and emotions rather than control them. Does this really work? Venting out our anger and frustration may make us feel better at that point in time but the relief is only temporary. Experience has shown that venting out anger only leads to tension, damaged relationships and sometimes physical injury to others. Instead of acting out our negative emotions, what can we do in order to have “a calm heart” even when provoked?
Ephesians 4:32-“Become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another.”
We must replace the negative emotions with positive ones not just for the physical safety of others but also for our benefit. In his book, The Broken Heart, Dr. James Lynch wrote: “Caring is biological. The mandate to ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself is not just a moral mandate -it’s a psychological one.” It has been proven that having people around us who love and care for us can provide us with feelings of security, contentment and optimism which are all great antidotes for stress.
Therefore, instead of taking sedatives and medication for stress related illnesses, applying these principles can help us avoid those illnesses altogether.
PRINCIPLES ON UNHEALTHY HABITS AND ADDICTIONS
2Corinthians 7:1-“Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of the flesh and spirit.”
How can we apply this principle and with what benefits? One example that readily comes to mind is smoking. Research has shown that tobacco contains substances such as nicotine, arsenic, alcohol and ammonia. It is like a collection of poisons in one small package.
Tobacco befouls our body, clothes and environment. It is not essential to our well-being but rather injurious to our health. Breaking free from drug addictions can also help us improve our lives by no longer having to support such an expensive habit.
Heavy drinking and chewing betel nuts also falls under this category as well, but there is a vital one which most of us take for granted; illicit sexual activities. Apart from the emotional stress of sex outside marriage, there is also the trauma of sexually transmitted infections. The temporary relief and enjoyment these activities bring never outweigh the cost. When we abstain from these things we enjoy better, healthier, happier lives.
Acts 15:29-“To keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled and from sexual immorality. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!”