The 21st century has brought about a fast-paced society driven by mankind’s endless desire to satisfy its needs and wants. This brings with it countless problems. Gone are the days of leading a life that had balance and provided time to think—an age when the pace was slower and society still had a sense of values.
Man is now faced with problem upon problem. It seems that as time moves on, his problems increase.
Have you ever heard yourself say, “Since I have neglected to pray first thing this morning, my day is not going to go well”?—or “Since doing a specific activity, I have been feeling a pain here”?—or “One of the most important reasons I don’t eat this is because of an allergic reaction”?
Like the law of gravity, the law of cause and effect states that every problem or difficulty we experience has an underlying reason. Notice Proverbs 26: “As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come” (vs. 2).
Cause and Effect in Your Life
We have all been the victims of decisions we made, and sometimes only after the fact can we see where we went wrong in our approach. Many observations about cause and effect often come too late and negatively impact our lives. Recall the numerous examples of bad outcomes, which in many cases could have been avoided if we had made better decisions.
For example, when I was 16 years old, I wanted to buy a motorcycle. My dad, however, refused because I did not have a license and I had been planning to drive without one. In his bid to discourage me, he related a bad experience from his youth of how he had given a friend a ride on the back of his motorcycle. Subsequently, they were involved in an accident that resulted in his friend’s death. My dad was grief-stricken for many years, as his friend was newly married to a wife who was pregnant with their first child.
This incident haunted my father throughout his life. He wanted to pass on a lesson about the dangers of motorcycles and a reckless lifestyle, but I would not heed his advice. At the age of 18, I bought my first motorcycle. Over time, I bought four more. My reckless lifestyle caught up with me and I was involved in several accidents. After learning the hard way, injuring myself and paying many traffic fines, I realized the lesson my father tried to teach me. Proverbs 14:12 warns, “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Common Sense 101
There is a popular saying: “Common sense is not so common.” If we had an endless supply of common sense and learned from the lessons of others, we would avoid many of the problems we bring upon ourselves.
Man has not learned lessons from history. Instead, he becomes more ensnared in problems that threaten his very existence. As society degenerates, very few are able to see that man cannot solve his problems.
In God’s Church, we have an advantage over those not called now—we have been granted repentance and access to the Holy Spirit. We are thus able to identify the reasons behind our problems, as well as the consequences if they are not dealt with according to biblical instructions.
Use the Tools the Church Provides
Many in God’s Church suffer under a burden of problems. For example, some wonder why their marriages are failing, not seeing “cause and effect” in their lives. Day after day, they endure broken relationships and do not consider that the Church has the tools to help them. Caught up in their feelings, some will not admit they have a problem or need help.
By reaching out and making use of the tools the Church provides, a person will find valuable help in overcoming his or her problems. The Church has a host of literature teaching God’s perspective on, for instance, dating and courtship; rearing your children; building happy marriages; divorce and remarriage—as well as material covering the simplest to the most complex issues.
Do you use these tools, or do you try to resolve trials your way? The material the Church provides contains lessons taken from the Bible, categorized for easy use. God’s Word has hundreds of examples of cause and effect. Studying Scripture with God’s Spirit gives us access to knowledge and wisdom that helps us overcome and deal with problems.
Never wait until your life is in pieces before you reach out and use the tools.
Solving Your Own Problems
As world conditions worsen, most people become drawn into the conflicts they see. No matter how much their lives may be falling apart, they tend to be the first to judge those in the world and devise solutions to their problems. We must stop and think about our involvement in the affairs of the world. Jesus said that we must overcome. (Take time to study Revelation, chapter 2.) We are constantly reminded that “he that overcomes” will be rewarded. Leaders of traditional Christianity constantly try to help others overcome while they themselves are caught up in their own problems.
Realize that the world’s problems are beyond what you and I can fix. No matter how many times we try to solve them, we will not succeed. We have been called to rise above the filth of this age, and build character acceptable to God—to ultimately inherit His kingdom. It is in the kingdom of God that we will be given the task of fixing the problems caused by 6,000 years of man’s misrule.
Trial vs. Bringing Problems on Yourself
As these latter days draw to an end, Satan’s attacks will increase. Notice I Peter 5:8, which depicts him as walking around as a roaring lion to see whom he “may” devour. The devil knows his reign is coming to a close. Therefore, he is trying to discourage God’s people.
But sometimes we give Satan too much credit when things go wrong in our lives. We are, in many cases, our own worst enemy and the very cause of many of our problems.
We have been called to the highest duty in the universe. This means we must endure a training process that involves overcoming, sacrificing and building holy, righteous character.
God has a personal interest in each of us, and wants us to succeed: “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6).
Also read I Peter 4: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy” (vs. 12-13).
To overcome and qualify for salvation requires focus, observation and balance, which will allow us to better deal with problems. We have a great opportunity to properly use the time afforded us. “Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).
Knowing When to Counsel
Sometimes we make mistakes that result in finding ourselves in “troubled waters.” We all come to a crossroad where wise decisions are required to deal with problems. We must be careful not to seek counsel regarding spiritual matters from those in the world, whose “solutions” will result in greater problems. It does not make sense to come out of the world, but go back and ask for spiritual advice. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (II Pet. 2:20).
Over the past decade, the Church has been doing the “short Work” of Romans 9:28 and restoring what was lost in the apostasy. You are blessed to have access to a ministry that has been trained within the government of God, under a true apostle of Jesus Christ. One of the greatest tools available to us is that we have access to God’s ministers.
The ministry can help with problems you encounter in your quest to work out your own salvation. (Each minister, in turn, has access to other ministers; together, they draw from a huge reserve of experience to help you: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” – Prov. 11:14.)
Sadly, many choose to “suffer in silence,” and carry their problems alone, not realizing that the ministry is available to help them with sound advice based on the Word of God.
Separate Yourself From the World’s Problems
How often have you found yourself caught up in trying to find solutions to the problems of others? Do you debate the outcome of political events, giving your input as to what you would have done in a situation? In this society, it is easy to get caught up in the problems of those in the world.
However, we must not become involved in debating worldly issues. Notice: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Phil. 2:3). Regardless of endless discussions about the troubles facing humanity, there is only one solution: the kingdom of God.
Luke 21:34 states, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” As the end-time Work of God wraps up, more and more obstacles will be put before us in the form of other people’s problems that could affect our salvation.
Notice Philippians 2:12: “Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Working out our own salvation should be the main focus in the life of everyone in God’s Church.
In Leviticus 26, God gives the conditions for blessings of His chosen people. In verses 1 to 13, He sets the conditions of the covenant and the rewards for obeying His commands. In verse 14, God outlines what would happen if His people do not obey. These curses, also recorded in Deuteronomy 28, are seen around us in the world today. God is punishing His people for disobedience, just as He said He would. We should be found focusing on building righteous character instead of meddling with worldly problems. “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing” (Matt. 24:46).
Our goal is to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). We must separate ourselves from the problems of those in the world. Look where you can relieve the burdens of your fellow soldiers in the battle to overcome. By doing this, we can better focus on our role in God’s Church, in which we are striving to overcome and build godly character. There are only a few years left to run the race. “Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain” (I Cor. 9:24).
We have been called by God to come out of this world—and not be held up by its problems. Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we were bought by His blood to become the firstfruits to God (Rev. 14:4). This is our calling, to be part of the 144,000, who will rule over the world under the authority of Christ.
You and I are to be problem-solvers in the world to come. Understanding the principle of cause and effect, and how it affects our lives, equips us for this role. We must not neglect making use of the tools the Church provides and the counseling of the ministry in our process of developing character pleasing to God. In order to stay positive in a world driven by negativity, we need to act quickly on problems that arise. If not, we can expect a life of constantly putting out fires instead of accomplishing goals. As part of the spiritual growing process in the womb, it is important to not shy away from our problems.
We must constantly prepare ourselves for the role that awaits us as priests—educators—in God’s kingdom. Soon we will have the chance to undo the damage caused by the wrong choices made in the Garden of Eden, which have led to wars, famines, pestilences and other troubles that have plagued man’s history.
By understanding the source of the problem, we will be able to focus on the solution. And in the world to come, you and I will become part of the solution.