Why were they flying so high, where the air temperature was about 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit? Besides escaping the persistent snow squalls at lower altitudes, they were riding a wind current that gave them a ground speed of about 125 miles an hour. It was estimated that the birds completed their 800-mile flight from Iceland to Ireland in just seven hours.

The world champion migrator -----the arctic tern --breeds north of the Arctic Circle yet spends the northern winter in the Antarctic. In a typical year, this small seabird travels between 25,000 and 30,000 miles---—the equivalent of circling the globe!

White storks breed in Northern Europe and winier in South Africa, making a round trip of 15,000 miles. Thousands of these birds pas s through Israel in the autumn and the spring, following a timetable known back in Bible times.---—Jeremiah 8:7

Who implanted that instinctive ability? Some 3,500 years ago, God posed the following question to the righteous man Job: Is it owing to your understanding that the falcon soars up, that it spreads its wings to the south wind? Or is it at your order that an eagle flies upward and that it builds its nest high up?” In his reply Job rightly praised God for the amazing abilities of birds and other animals. Job 39:26, 27; 42:2.

Superior to Instinct

Humans, the crowning achievement of God’s creation, are not governed primarily by instinct . Instead, we are free moral agents with a conscience and the capacity for love. (Genesis 1:27; 1 John 4:8) As a result of all these gifts, we can make just and moral decisions that sometimes reflect extraordinary love and self-sacrifice.

A person’s attitude and behavior are, of course, largely a product of the moral precepts and spiritual tenets that he was taught, or not taught, from infancy. As a result, people may differ in what they consider to be right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable. These differences, in turn, can lead to misunderstandings. intolerance, and even hatred. especially when such factors as culture, nationalism, and religion exert a strong influence.

How much better the world would be if the entire human family adhered to one set of standards that reflect moral and spiritual truth, just as we obey the one set of physical laws that govern the universe! But does anyone have the ability and the knowledge to set universal standards? And if so, will he or has he? Those questions will be considered in the following articles.

Moral compass

C ALLAVIAN’S concern has become all too real, for the growing moral vacuum many parts of the world has forced governments to pass countless laws in an effort to curb crime . At the first ever Nigerian Mothers ’ Summit, the president of Nigeria expressed his deep concern about the country’s future. He had in mind, not politics or poverty, but “ much deeper problem”—the “general erosion of...... core values within the family, at work, in the community and nationally.”

In Britain a survey of 1,736 mothers found that “the traditional family unit is in melt down due to plunging moral values and the rise of single parents.” In China too, morality is taking a nosedive. People there are having sex earlier in life and with more partners than ever, reported Time magazine. It’s my life, and I can do what I want,” said a young Chinese woman who boasted of more than 100 sexual partners.

Moral erosion has also affected those in authority. ‘People no longer look up to their leaders as Strong moral exemplars,” stated Javed Akbar in Canada’s Toronto Star news paper. Politicians, heads of corporations, and even religious leaders “appear to lack the proper moral fibre,” he said.

Why the Slide?

A number of forces are driving this down ward trend. One is a general spirit of rebellion against traditional values. For example, a poll taken in the South in the United States rcvealed that the majority of college-student respondents felt that “right and wrong is ‘a matter of personal opinion.”

Political writer Zbignicw Brzezinski touched on another factor . Today’s society, he wrote, “focuses largely on the immediate satisfaction of individual desires, in a setting in which individual and collective hedonism becomes the dominant motive for behavior.” Moral autonomy, greed, and self-gratification may have a certain appeal, but are they conducive to genuine happiness, contentment, and better relationships with others?

Wisdom is proved righteous by its works,” said Jesus. (Matthew 11:19) Are people happier and more secure because of the plunging values? Reflect on some of the results: heightened mistrust, insecurity, failed relationships, children growing up without a father or a mother, pandemics of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, drug addiction, and violence. These realities clearly do not spell satisfaction and success but, rather, sorrow and failure. Galatians 6:7, 8.

Having seen similar problems in his day, Jeremiah, a prophet of God, made the following inspired observation: I well know, 0 Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong . It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10: 23)    Yes, God did not create us to be independent from him, to choose right and wrong for ourselves. What may seem good to us may, in fact, be very harmful. “There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterward,” says the Bible at Proverbs 14:12.

An Enemy Within!

What is one reason why we need guidance on moral matters? Because our hearts can deceive us. “The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate. Who can know it?” says the Bible at Jeremiah 17:9. If you knew someone who was both treacherous and desperate, would you trust him? Of course not! Yet, each of us has a heart that can manifest those very traits. Hence, God gives us this forthright but loving warning: “He that is trusting in his own heart is stupid, but he that is walking in wisdom is the one that will escape.”— Proverbs 28:26.

There is the key: Instead of trusting in our own imperfect faculties, we need to walk in godly wisdom and thus deliver ourselves from many pitfalls. Moreover, precious wisdom is readily available to all who sincerely want it. If any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching.” —James 1:5.

Trust God “With All Your Heart”

Describing our Creator, the Bible says: “The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4 ) Yes, Jehovah is like a massive rock. He can be fully relied upon for sound moral and spiritual guidance no matter what changes occur around us. Says Proverbs 3:5, 6: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding . In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.”

Indeed, who could give us better guidance than our Creator, the one who counts the very hairs of [our] head”? (Matthew 10:30) Furthermore, he has proved to he a true friend, one who loves us enough to be honest with us at all times even when the truth may be hard for us to swallow.—Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 27:6.

Note, too, that Jehovah does not force us to submit to his gtiidance. Instead, he appeals to us on the basis of love. I, Jehovah, am the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. 0 if only you would actualIy pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17, 18) Are you not drawn to a God like that? What is more, he has made his wisdom readily available to us by means of his inspired Word, the Holy Bible, the most widely distributed book in the world’ 2 Timothy 3:16.

Let God’s Word Illuminate the Way

Concerning the Sacred Scriptures, the psalmist wrote: “Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.” (Psalm 119: 105) A lamp to our foot reveals immediate dangers, while a light to our roadway illuminates the path ahead. Simply put. God’s Word can guide us safely through life by helping us to make wise, morally sound decisions in all matters—those that bear on the present and those that may affect us in the future.

Take the Sermon on the Mount, for example.

In that short discourse, recorded at Matthew chapters 5 to 7, Jesus Christ spoke about happiness, love, hate, mercy, morality, prayer, the pursuit of riches, and many other topics that are as relevant today as they were back then.

So insightful were his sayings that the crowds were astounded at his way of teaching.” (Matthew 7:28) Why not take a few moments to read that sermon yourself. Likely you too will he impressed. ‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that man should do to you, do even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets. ( Matthew 7:12)

“Keep On Asking” for God’s Help

Admittedly, doing what is right in God’s eyes is not always easy . In fact, the Bible likens our inner struggle against sin to a war . (Romans 7:21-24) With God’s help, however, that war can be won. ‘Keep on asking,” said Jesus, “and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find ....... For everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds.” (Luke 11:9, 10) Yes, Jehovah will not turn away from anyone sincerely trying to walk the narrow path that leads to everlasting life— Matthew 7:13. 14.

Note the example of Frank, who was addicted to tobacco when he began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. After reading 2 Corinthians 7:1 and then correctly concluding that his habit was a “defilement of [the] flesh” in God’s eyes, Frank resolved to quit smoking. Acting on his resolve, however, was not so easy. On one occasion he even found himself crawling around on his hands and knees looking for old cigarette butts to light up!

This undignified behavior brought home to Frank how enslaved to tobacco he had become. (Romans 6:16) Thus, he prayed earnestly for help, took full advantage of the wholesome association provided by the local Christian congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and conquered his bad habit. Hebrews 10:24, 25.

Satisfy Your Spiritual Need

Frank’s experience is just one of many showing that the Bible provides superior moral and spiritual guidance, as well as the incentive to act on that guidance. Little wonder, then, that Jesus said: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.” Matthew 4:4.

When we take God’s precious truths to heart, we benefit in every way—mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically . says Psalm 19:7, 8: “The law of Jehovah is perfect, bringing back [or, reviving] the soul. . . . The orders from Jehovah are upright, causing the heart to rejoice; the commandment of Jehovah is clean, making the eyes shine [with hope and a clear vision of God’s purpose].”

By means of his Word, Jehovah does more than help us set our moral compass accurately and live the best life possible now. Hc also sheds light on the future. (Isaiah 42:9)


AWAKE Magazine

July 2007. (Pgs. 3-7)

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