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Christian Behavior in the Family, on the Job, in the Congregation and also as it relates to Government

Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? — Acts 9:6

Once again we arrive at the beginning of another year with a call for retrospection and introspection. Appropriately enough this season betokens a time for resolutions to improve our lives. Unfortunately it also conjures up memories of resolutions broken from prior years. This observation, however, provides no excuse not to fail to make our resolves for the coming year: A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again (Prov. 24:16).

In this issue of the HERALD the focus is on our theme text from Acts 9:6: Lord, What wilt thou have me to do?

When the Apostle Paul asked this question he was at the turning point of his career. He had just seen a vision. He had come face to face with the one he had been persecuting-Jesus of Nazareth-as of one born out of due time (1 Cor. 15:8).

His life changed. The persecutor became one of the persecuted. The Pharisee became one of the disciples of the man he had considered the arch apostate. It is little wonder that he spent three years in Arabia (Gal. 1:17, 18) to fully settle what the Lord would have him to do.

When he returned he soon became as active in the cause of the Nazarene as he had been in persecuting it. The zeal that had driven him to hunt out the Christians now drove him to seek new converts to the new religion.

No individual, other than Jesus himself, has left as deep an impact on the age to come as the Apostle Paul. His was the commission to the gentiles. His mission provided the bulk of the writing for the New Testament. His was the work of organizing the Christian church throughout much of the far-flung Roman Empire.

 

What Are We To Do?

Paul’s question is also ours. Each year, yes, each day, we constantly evaluate the will of God for us in our continuing walk. And this is a profitable area of study. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

Articles in the following pages deal with areas of Christian responsibility in the various fields of life.

“First Things First” deals appropriately enough with the primary area of our responsibility-our obligation to the Lord. Having taken on a commitment in our lives to serve him, what does he expect in our discipleship?

“Temple Builders” probes another area of the Christian’s life, his relationship with other believers in church or ecclesia arrangements. From the very onset of Christianity, meeting together formed the focal point of the Christian’s spiritual life. What are the responsibilities within the Christian community?

None of us make a more solemn commitment, after our covenant with God in the vows of consecration, than that of marriage. “Love and Marriage” view the responsibilities of this estate as a training ground for a still future marriage, which the members of the church look forward to-with their heavenly bridegroom.

As one thing leads to another, so frequently marriage leads to the joys and responsibilities of parenting. The challenges of properly rearing children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4) is another daunting task. Its reward is well expressed by the beloved apostle, I have no greater joy than to hear my children walk in truth (3 John 4). “Train Up A Child in the Way He Should Go” examines this subject.

Another area of life which demands a large amount of time for most Christians is the workplace. In a two-part series, “Of Slaves and Masters,” the authors examine the obligations of both employers and employees.

The natural reward of labor in the workplace is financial remuneration. Proper management over one’s funds presents its own share of difficulties. Many of these challenges are treated in the article on “Stewardship.”

The final article in the series, “Our Heavenly Citizenship,” is a treatise on civic responsibility and how the Christian relates to government.

The Echoes from the Past feature is a condensation of a discourse by the late A. L. Muir: “Spiritual Sicknesess.”

The Question Box looks at a related query, How can we know the will of God in our lives?

We are omitting our regularly featured verse-by-verse Bible study from this issue because of lack of space, but will continue this series in the next issue.

Our wish for each of you in 1994 and the future is that each year may bring you closer and closer into the likeness of your Lord and Master as we each seek to fulfill our responsibilities as mature Christians, reflecting the life of our Master to the world around us.

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10 comments to Christian Behavior in the Family, on the Job, in the Congregation and also as it relates to Government

  • Tonya

    Hello Jacqueline,
    Haven’t had any questions lately. Hoping that you as well as the brothers and sisters worldwide are doing well as permitted.
    I have however, been having some issues within my marriage that has caused me concern for my welfare. No psychical or emotional abuse, but things that I do not approve of. My husband is a wonderful man as far as providing for me. However, he has an issue with drugs which I did not know when we met and got married. After about a year into it, I found out about his problem with drugs. I chose to stay with him and try to make things work, but the lies just became more and more as he was trying to cover his tracks to keep me from finding out. In July we will be married 10 years and it is still going on. We were not married at KH or by any elder and I was not baptized when we married. I’m wondering if I have grounds for a divorce under Jehovah’s guidelines since I am baptized now but been disfellowshipped. Oh yeah, could you tell me if we are now in the millennial reign of Christ. Reading so much stuff gets confusing when you are coming out of the JW organization.
    Looking forward to your reply!

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Hi Tonya nice hearing from you again! Tonya trying to fix or run your life according to an organization rules will cause problems in your marriage and your life in general. The bible does not address your issue here. I assume your husband is not a witness and might not be trying to follow Bible principles to the degree you are. You are not going to the kingdom hall so there is not the issue of dealing with them and if he is not a witness a mature and up to date elder body will not get in your personal family affairs.
      So it leaves you to work through this. It is tricky now because marijuana is legal in some states. So he might have this to say on that. Also is it control over what he does that you are concerned about? And this causes him to have to lie to you? Certain prescribed drugs cause some serious problems in a marriage also.
      You say all is fine otherwise but he has to lie to you to hide his still taking drugs? Did he tell you he would stop? How is it affecting you other than him lying? Is there a serious money issue with this habit? Is it affecting his work? It seems it is not affecting your relationship otherwise. These are things for you to ponder maybe, pray personally to God to help you get insight into what is really going on. How is he if he doesn’t have to hide his problem from you? Does or will he go to a drug counselor? Does he want to? Would you know he is using if you didn’t question him? I am not playing down drug use but I am realistic about applying Bible principles to an issue where it really is silent on the matter. It give adultery as you know as a ground for divorce for REMARRIAGE, but it doesn’t deal with divorce for protection etc. that is a legal matter. Remarriage is when you will consider if you as a person are free to do so. The bible doesn’t prohibit divorce. It tells a Christian that for remarriage purposes adultery is the grounds. I hope this helps, because from what you are revealing it seems it is lying about his use that is the problem.
      On the question of the millennial reign of Christ. I can tell you the way I see it from scripture, some may differ. The 1,000 year reign of Christ to me may overlap as he takes down society during armageddon and the end of this system of things. To me, when I think of his 1,000 year reign it will be evident to all mankind that it has begun and knowledge of what Jehovah wants will be in play and in time resurrection and the bringing of all things into order will happen after satan is no longer an influence. To me if satan is not bound and still has influence then the 1,000 year reign as you and I think of it of peace can not co-exist, side by side. I see satan’s influence on this earth more than Jesus in regards mankind.
      You might notice there might be a difference of how other Bible students view this. That is the freedom and Liberty we have in Christ to sort it out on a personal level. We can’t change it and it won’t determine our salvation if we can’t see him reigning in his 1,000 years now or if we see it. I do believe he is present in kingly power and is making preparations to physically bring this system to an end. But as you and I as a former witness would be thinking, I don’t see that the thousand year peaceful rule without satan’s influence as having begun.
      Tonya, you can call me also if you need to just talk about what I know is a troubling situation for you. Many who have mates with mental illness and they are on their meds have drug problems also. Mostly that they are not taking them. So let’s talk if you want to. Take Care.

      • Tonya

        Thank You Jacqueline for you comments as well as your number. Thinking of all you said???

        • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

          Tonya, I pray you are able to work this out as your partner in marriage is precious to you. I understand the emotions you are going thru, I have been there. Remember to take your time, hang in there if no threat to you. Are there children? That is a loaded question because it changes the game. As women we can ignore a lot and sometimes we have to even when a mate smokes we just have to insist it is outside. Lol

          • Tonya

            Hey Jacqueline,
            There are no biological kids or grands. However, grands do not know the difference as I would NEVER do that.If it were only marijuana, that would be great even though I don’t like that either. It’s more with “crack and meth.” He keeps the sores on his face and this keeps us from being able to do anything outside of the house together because of “shame” and this really gets old. I am a very outgoing person, and I love going different places and meeting new people. I just can’t fathom the thought of being married to someone who chooses to live like this. I mean really, I don’t get it. I know I deserve better and I’m tired of begging him to quit. I feel as though if he loved me he would stop. But then I think…..how can he love “me” when he don’t even love himself. He can’t love himself, but I think of myself with cigarettes too so I can’t even go there either.I keep praying to Jehovah that HE will make a way out for me if this is not where I need to be or either change my husband.

            • greg (Bible Student)

              Tonya,

              I really want to express my awareness of the gravity of your conflicting feelings when you mentioned your own challenges with cigarettes and your husband’s addictions. I well know the internal stress and confusion of circumstances like these. It can often leave you fearful of presenting as hypocritical. There often exists in us a war between our Inner Chooser and our Inner Educator. Our Chooser tries to prompt us to act to meet the needs of which it becomes aware. Our Educator tries to prompt us to become aware of how the urgings of our Chooser aren’t meeting other needs or values we have. WE end up feeling frustrated because we can’t seem to make peace between the two.

              To that, I’d like to say that it’s also my understanding that Jehovah and Christ Jesus well know how we are made, and well understand those internal conflicts we experience. Perhaps I can offer something that helped me keep things clear: Sometimes it helps to focus on the fact that if you KNEW HOW to do differently, you would. And then you might find it in your heart to allow that if your husband KNEW HOW to do differently, he likely would also.

              I make NO diagnoses here. I only offer you something to consider: Has your husband experienced some form of trauma, as a child, or an adult?

              Now I would not recommend you just outright ask such a question of him, although depending on the level of trust one has in a relationship, one *could* just ask. You see, it’s my experience that people who “self-medicate” often do so to try and cope with trauma and it’s aftermath and yet, ironically, many of them don’t even realize they’ve experienced something traumatic.

              There are many wonderful resources on the internet that one can explore so as to become “trauma informed” and that can help make sense of otherwise bewildering actions and behaviours, as well as give you a direction to explore. Try searching for: trauma symptoms drug addictions

              It might at least be worth ruling out. And if you continue to work at your problem, I’m confident Jehovah will bless your efforts in one way or another.

              Warmly and sincerely,
              -greg.

            • Lee Anthony

              Tonya,
              Hi Tonya, my name is Lee Anthony. In my life before Jesus I had many addiction issues. Smoking, drinking, drugs etc… I worked in the recovery field a couple of years also so I am very familiar with both sides of the coin. I cannot tell you how to resolve your issue but I can share what I have personally seen and experienced. I have seen many people unable to quit even for the sake of their own children. Unfortunately addiction makes a slave of us (literally) and without help and the realization that we have a problem and cant fix it alone we can never succeed. A support group ( in my case other christians) is necessary. I know some who went to N.A. /A.A. , in-patient detox and rehab centers, among other things and have been successful as well. I had to start with these things myself, and today it is still a struggle. Only Jehovah and Jesus and the many provisions like the bible and other christians keep me focused. I feel for your situation and pray your husband may realize his need for help as I am sure you have tried to get him to see. Im confident Jehovah will give you a way out, just keep praying and remember love never fails. (1 cor. 13:8)

            • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

              Tonya I feel where you are coming from. You are a young woman and is stuck with him and wasting away. (There I said it for you). Tonya better the devil you know than the one you don’t. Divorce will free you up to date etc and have fun. But soon you will find there will always be problems that you might not be able to accept. (Or you can get a break and meet someone different and nice.) This is from a female point of view, because we deal with it emotionally.
              I love the different angles and points that the other brothers are making. They are sound.
              Sometimes tough love works also. You do have the right to have a lucid non addicted mate. Exploring as Gregg suggested to see if there is some form of abuse in his past would be an act of your love for your husband.
              Since it seems to be only you and him you might have to insist on counseling and if he won’t go then you go alone!
              Betrayal can be hard on a marriage. Drugs are like a mistress that has a hold on the soul of the person and knows no reasoning.
              Tonya, don’t try to go this alone get to a counselor. Also if there are things you want to do, you have got to learn to do them alone or with your girlfriends or family.
              Prayer is powerful, how is your trust that God can help you? Do you believe he can guide you in the proper course?
              Remember he doesn’t give an answer right away in our timeframe. He will often set things up, put people in your space before you see his solution which you much act on as he allows free will. Look even here in our comments for maybe the answer. Talk to somebody face to face, Tonya, cry and pray every time you think to Jehovah. I have seen him work miracles in my life and it was no doubt that it is him. Be very specific with him as to what you want him to show you.
              Tonya also keep talking here and everyone will keep talking to you. Take Care of yourself in all this, too. Go get a massage!

              PS: I just noticed your last statement that God will make a way or or change your husband. You love your husband Tonya, it shows in your wording. He can also help you to accept this as his problem and you learn to be solo with your friends and do things that you like. Don’t feel you have to stop living because he has this demon on his back. You do deserve better. Even God feel we all deserve better than the hand dealt us by our adversary and Adam. Try doing things without him and see if it fits and keep encouraging him to get help. If all goes South, get help for yourself. Praying for you.

            • greg (Bible Student)

              Tonya,

              I concur with Jacqueline’s sentiments. I would also like to add that, while we would never want to imagine we would be helping a person by adding to their suffering, it is OK to let a person experience the REAL consequences of their choices – but NOT fabricated ones as they only serve confuse and distract from the real issues. Still, it never helps a person to shield them from the REAL consequences of their actions. To do so actually robs them of the most wonderful opportunity to learn something useful.

              Taking that a small step further (and I do believe Jacqueline may have been strongly hinting at this) it’s vital to establish and maintain healthy boundaries for yourself.

              Stick with your values, and with prayer, and you’ll have a reliable compass to help you navigate this situation. Like Jacqueline is, I’m confident that Jehovah will take firm hold of your hand and lead you forward, even if all you can seem to see is frightening. Remember how the Israelites felt afraid when they were trapped between Pharaoh and his pursuing armies, the Red Sea, and the Mountains? If you can at all muster it, try and have a wee bit more trust in Jehovah than they had.

              Caring from the bottom of my heart,
              -greg

    • greg (Bible Student)

      Greetings Tonya.

      I certainly do not presume to know your situation. Neither do I wish to imply that I know what you should or shouldn’t do in your situation. You alone know your situation best. That makes you alone the expert. So for those reasons I’m tempted to stay very silent.

      Yet my attention is drawn to several noteworthy details in your expressions.
      1) “My husband is a wonderful man as far as providing for me.”
      2) “I chose to stay with him and try to make things work”
      3) “but the lies just became more and more as he was trying to cover his tracks to keep me from finding out.”

      And then I keep thinking of Proverbs 20:5 which says:
      The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. (NIV)

      I also am reminded of my own experiences in working with various children and adults over the years. And so for those reasons I’m tempted to offer you an idea, an insight that took me a long time to appreciate.

      Human beings never do anything except for “Good Reasons.” If one can discover another’s “Good Reasons”, then both can become united in their efforts, no longer fearing feelings of threat, shame, blame, and other defensive tendencies. Instead the two can become allies, better able to work collaboratively on the issues they are finding challenging.

      Now I do know and acknowledge that drugs of any kind do impair one’s ability to learn and grow because they essentially impede awareness of the true nature of causes, effects, and impacts.

      Still, I draw on the concept of a non-english word “Bood.” Essentially Bood means: “No, I don’t want to.” But conceptually, Bood means that one need not shield another person from the true consequences of one’s choices and actions. It also implies that while I might choose to withdraw from a situation where I might be working harder at someone’s problem than they themselves are working at it, it also means that I would never wish to add a level of distraction to an issue that only results in greater confusion and pain for everyone. Ultimatums, punishments, threats, contrived consequences, blame, enemy images, fear, revenge, etc., only ever serve to confuse and distract a person.

      I realize I’m speaking in a way that might not be easily understood by you, so I’ll try to put it simply: I have often experienced astonishing results when I work with someone who is behaving in a way that isn’t wonderful for themselves by simply putting all my energy into trying to UNDERSTAND them and their “Good reasons” for doing the things they do that I don’t like.

      By simply backing off on the attempts to CHANGE them, and focusing on trying to UNDERSTAND them, I find that they too get curious about themselves and their actions, and they develop greater insights and understanding into themselves than I could ever have imagined possible. Very often they quickly come to realize there are even better choices available that better match their own “Good Reasons”, choices that actually better meet more of their needs.

      You *could* take that approach both with the drugs, and with the lying, getting curious WITH your husband about how he sees those things as helpful in your relationship. Then you’ll both be in a better place to explore how well the strategies he’s currently using are at achieving the good he no doubt intends. It is also then more likely that the bad impacts will be more easily appreciated, and then there’ll likely be a greater readiness to explore new, better, less costly ideas as a team.

      I want to express again that I do not know your situation as well as you do, and thus I am loathe to “ADVISE” you. I merely offer an idea, knowing full well that I haven’t communicated to you all that I’ve learned about this method of working with challenging persons. Still, I have experienced astonishing joys and successes as I have practiced this way of being with another person, and so I wanted to at least encourage you to consider the notion that there might be other possibilities available to you.

      Warmly,
      -greg

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