Meaning and purpose: We all know that life ends. Few of us live longer than 100 years, many live for a much shorter time. Our lives are transient – no matter who we are or what we accomplish in life, it has an end. Is there any purpose or meaning to our short existence? The Bible suggests that there is meaning and purpose in human life. It tells us that God’s purpose in creating men and women was to show them His love and have them return it – to Him and to each other.
A vision for the future: Sometimes all the problems in the world (oppression, brutality, pollution, disease, flooding, famine) can be overwhelming. We all want the world to be a beautiful place to live for everyone and many people work hard to try and make it so. Having a vision and hope for the future helps us to cope with the difficulties of the present and reason to work toward something better. The Bible tells us that this is God’s plan – a beautiful world ruled by a just ruler and peopled by those who love Him.
Enduring values: The Bible is full of stories of loyalty, love, courage, forgiveness, humility and other lasting values. It offers nuggets of wisdom on most situations you may find yourself in. It offers a “simple and powerful law that each man shall have the right to possess what he can lawfully acquire, modified by those other laws that require him to consider his neighbour and to contribute to the well-being of the whole [and this] is the sure basis of social order and civilized human life” (The Law of Moses, R. Roberts).
Appropriate self-esteem: The Bible doesn’t beat around the bush when it talks about human nature. We are disposed to being selfish and therefore often do what we feel benefits us the most in the moment regardless of anyone else. But we also have an innate sense that this is not always right. Sometimes we hurt other people, sometimes we hurt ourselves. The Bible explains the right way to treat others and offers a way to find forgiveness for our faults and know that we are loved.
Mental health: The Bible can help to bring about peace of mind. It shows how God has been working with people down through the ages through difficult circumstances (although they may not have been able to see it at the time) and assures us that He continues to do so although it also may not be obvious to us. We can be confident that God is in control and learn to say like Paul “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV)