Brother Michel Lankford
Question: Do the Scriptures offer guidance on how to deal with difficult or pressing life issues?
The Bible is the handbook for living a good life. It has guidance for how to be a good person in general, and for how to solve more specific topics. The problem is that you have to dig for what the Bible teaches on various issues. Sometimes the answers are obvious, but other times they are not as obvious.
A few years ago I was discussing this very topic with a friend of mine. He pointed out some of the most powerful and effective self-help books on the market, and he reminded me that all of the most effective self-help books (the ones that actually help people improve their lives), all gave advice that could be directly tied back to Scripture and what the Bible teaches. In other words, they were upholding Biblical Principles, without using Bible language. The fact is that you can take almost any self-help method that works and really produces results, and the likelihood is that the Bible taught that precept first. You just have to know what you’re looking for and where to look.
Example: Have you heard of the idea of keeping a gratitude journal to help improve your outlook, and your attitude and change your circumstances? The FACT is that there are over 365 verses in the Bible directly instructing us to give thanks and to be grateful.
Example: Have you ever heard the idea that if you write down your visions, your desires, and your goals you are 90% more likely to complete your objectives successfully if you write them down? Well, there is an obscure verse in the Bible that essentially teaches the same concept. Habakkuk 2:2 teaches that we should write the vision down and make it plain so that the people can run with it.
Example: Learn to stay out of debt. The only outstanding debt we should owe anyone is the continual debt of showing Love to them (Romans 13:8). The person who borrows becomes a slave to their lender (Proverbs 22:7). I challenge you for just a moment to imagine how much stress we would relieve from our lives if we simply followed that basic instruction. If you want to be free and avoid slavery, we must discipline ourselves to live within our means and avoid debt.
Example: Have you ever heard of Ezekiel bread? It’s a single food that includes every nutrient that the human body needs in one place. The recipe for Ezekiel bread is taken directly from the Scriptures.
Example: A good overview of Biblical Guidance for solving our problems can be found by using the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). It gives practical advice on no less than 20 life topics. It deals with countless things from having a right internal attitude, to how to preserve good relationships, and the first steps to overcoming anxiety, among other helpful topics.
Example: Use the Book of Philippians to start healing from mental/emotional challenges. Have you ever heard of the concept of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) to combat anxiety, depression, and other emotional challenges? It turns out that the concepts found in this therapy are not new. The premise of this therapy is that patients can help themselves between therapy sessions. It’s built around the core principle that if we want to change our feelings for the better, we must first change and exercise control of how we choose to think. It turns out that how we feel is determined by how we choose to think. Our thinking CAUSES our feelings. Therefore, if we want better feelings, we must choose and learn to think better thoughts. That concept is not new. It sounds newer because it uses therapeutic language, but the same core concepts can be found in James chapter 1, and the book of Philippians in the New Testament. It turns out that the core concepts of REBT are more than 2000 years old. They are as old as the New Testament, but they work if we use them. I know because I do it myself. I’ve seen it work in my own life.
These are just a few examples, but they should give you an idea.
A few decades ago, Prego brand spaghetti sauce had a tagline. “It’s in there.” The idea behind it was that any flavor or ingredient that you needed to make an exceptionally good spaghetti sauce was all included in a single jar of Prego spaghetti sauce. In a way, the same concept could be used to describe the Bible when it comes to solving our spiritual, emotional, mental, relationship, interpersonal, financial, and material problems. When you’re looking for solutions to any of these issues, one could easily hold up the Bible and say, “It’s in there.” All you have to do is learn where to look and choose to follow the recipes and instructions that Scripture supplies for the problem that you are trying to solve, and you will succeed eventually.
As it is written: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:28–30, NKJV)
Regardless of what problems you are struggling with, the basic prescription to solve your problem is straightforward:
- Come to God (Isaiah 55:1-11).
- Come to the Savior Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; John 6:37).
- Admit your problems and whatever is not working in your situation (1 John 1:5-9).
- Admit your fears and insecurities in dealing with the problem (Psalm 34:1-4).
- Ask God to teach you the solution that He Provides from His Word to help solve the problem you are facing (Psalm 119:12; Psalm 25:4-5; John 16:13; James 1:5-8).
- Ask for God’s help in finding, in learning, and in doing His Instructions (Matthew 7:7-8; John 8:31-32; John 15:7).
- Make the choice and practice obeying the Instructions from God’s Word that He shows you regarding your problem (John 14:21; Luke 11:27-28; Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:12-25).
- When you screw up and you disobey His Instructions, admit it, and quickly return to this path of living (1 John 1:6-9).
- As you experience success along the way, remember to thank God for helping you (Psalm 106:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Philippians 4:4-8).
- Practice perseverance. Keep practicing all of these steps and don’t quit but continue doing them until you succeed. Don’t forget that your success is GUARANTEED IF you persevere in these things, and you don’t give up (Matthew 7:7-8; Psalm 84:11-12; Galatians 6:7-10; Revelation 21:7).
The fact is you can name almost any life problem, and the Bible will give you the roadmap to find the solutions to those problems. Some roads are obvious. Other roads are harder to see and recognize, but the solutions are in the Scriptures.
The truth is that you would be hard-pressed to find almost any human problem that the Bible does not address in some fashion. The big problem is not, ‘Does the Bible offer answers and solutions to human problems?’ The Bible clearly does that. The bigger issue is, “Are we willing to read and follow the prescriptions that Scripture offers, in order to help solve our problems?
Whatever problems you are facing, God’s Word has the core Instructions and basic structure to help you solve those problems. The answers are all in Scripture somewhere. If you are faithful to follow these steps, then you can learn and practice the solutions that God provides for us in His Word. It only remains for us to make the choice, and to follow through.
Thank you for your kind attention. Shalom.
Brother Michel Lankford