Lessons From The Bible
Much has been said about the power of habit. Like there was Aristotle who said good habits formed at youth make all the difference. And then someone else phrased it better by saying "we first make our habits, then our habits make us".
So being the teachable young man that I am, I have started forming such good habits as rising early, reading regularly, taking one-hour morning walks and stretching with rollers daily to firm up my abdominal muscles and to keep them in shape.
I have also gotten into the habit of praying, telling the truth and reading the Bible. Yes, even praying, telling the truth and meditating on God's Word are habit forming.
These days, I not only utter the Lord's Prayer after making my bed in the morning but also commune with God throughout the day to pray for whatever need that pops up in my mind. Like on several occasions in the past three months during my morning walks to Kiserian Town, I have stopped to ask God for financial breakthroughs in a few of the hobbies I am developing after observing how some people in Kiserian are struggling to make ends meet by hawking such mundane items as sandals around the town.
Last Sunday when I stopped to pray for something I have forgotten but which I am sure God remembers, my friend Karatu slowed down his car to find out what was amiss with me. He thought I was crying or something. But I sensed his worries were allayed when I greeted him jovially by his name after he called me out from his sedan.
But my subject today in this story of mine is not on praying but on the lessons I have learnt from my habit of meditating on the Bible. Okay, let me enumerate and expound on them for you, and in so doing, I hope to pass on to you some gems of wisdom which you are free to take or leave.
The first lesson I have gleaned from my Bible is not to fear any person. For those of us who had a suppressed childhood during which we were mocked, beaten, ridiculed and criticized, we know well how hard it has been to be acquire the virtue of courage in our adult life because old fears die hard. We have feared almost everything: ridicule, criticism, rejection ... you name it.
As for me, I have found encouragement from the Bible to be as brave as three lions strolling together. My friend Paul Bundi Karau, the top candidate in 2002 KCSE exams, says in one of his books that the Bible talks of courage 365 times. I am not sure about that but at least I know a couple of verses that exhort us to be men (and women) of good courage.
There is the Book of Joshua which says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Then there is St. Paul who in one of his epistles in the Bible says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but of power, of love and of self-discipline."
For me, Prophet Isaiah phrases it best when he comforts us this way in Isaiah 51:12-13:
Those three verses from the Bible have infused me with courage to be myself even if it means being eccentric. So let the howlers howl, let the scowlers scowl and let the growlers growl but I will keep acting in harmony with my authentic self for the rest of my time in this grand and magnificent planet. Different ... yes. Imperfect ... certainly. But nonetheless valuable.
Who are you that you fear mortal men,
the sons of men, who are but grass,
that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the Earth...? 
The second lesson I have gained from the Bible is to value work. The Book of Sirach (an inspirational page-turner found only in the Catholic Bible) implores us not to hate hard work because work was assigned by God. Then the philosophical Book of Ecclesiastes beseeches us to work with all our might because in the grave where we are all headed, there "is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom".
But there is a catch here: the same Book of Ecclesiastes that counsels us to work with all our might also advises us find joy in the work - something Steve Jobs, a Buddhist who revolutionized the hi-tech industry by making personal computers possible, highlighted to Stanford graduates in his famous 2005 commencement speech at the university.
As for me, I am converting my hobbies in music and writing into work which, as I have pointed out when talking of how I pray even during my morning walks to my home-town, have requested God to be kind to me by making my hobbies successful not only in impacting the world but in making me self-reliant if you know what I mean. And, believe it or not, I am really working hard to be exceptional at those hobbies.
How about you? Tell me, what do you plan to do with that precious gift of life given to you by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
And the last lesson which I have picked up from my Bible that I will discuss today is on that hot-button topic that is considered a taboo in many families all across the world. But if the holy Bible itself devotes a whole chapter in the Book of Leviticus (Chapter 18) to instruct us on what we shouldn't do when going about it, why shy away from discussing it here? The hot-button topic is none other than sex.
Let's face it: sexual feelings are part of the package that come with the gift of life for humans. At times, those sexual feelings can become so strong that even prominent men put their reputation at risk to engage in sex.
While we all know sex produces a pleasant feeling, the wise among us admit it ought to be exercised with care. Why? Because no well-meaning parent would wish her daughter to get pregnant while still in high school, or her son to acquire HIV.
Me, I believe sex ought to be practised within the confines of marriage by a couple that not only understands birth-control but also ready to nurture children to responsible adults. If all people on Earth shared that belief, this planet would be blissful to live in because the criminals who create hell on Earth by robbing us are as a result of the hoi-polloi who bear kids they are unable to educate into law-abiding citizens.
That's why I have refrained from pre-marital sex till my current age of 30, a no-mean achievement. But I won't assume a holier-than-thou attitude because I have to confess entertaining lustful thoughts in my mind every now and then for as long as I can remember. So, in a sense, I owe my virginity (if that noun applies to men) to God for having kept me from sexual snares in those moments of weakness when all sorts of raggle-taggle licentious thoughts force their way into my conscious thinking.
I've told you of how I recite the Lord's Prayer after making my bed in the morning, haven't I? Part of the reason I value that prayer is the way it calls on God to "lead us not into temptation [and] deliver us from evil" for His is the kingdom, the power and the glory, now and forever.
And so what have I learnt from the Bible on sex? That both men as well as women get sexually aroused. Like the Book of Proverbs cautions healthy handsome young men (like me) to be wary of "the wayward wife with her seductive words..." - something the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis makes clear. You see, after Joseph went to Egypt, he grew into a handsome and well-built gentleman which led his master's wife to take notice and lust after him. I won't tell you what happened next. Just find a Bible and read the rest of the story for yourself.
For those of us who grew up as timid boys, it comes as a surprise to us to learn that women get as much sexually aroused as men because the media outlets are always awash with news of men raping or sexually harassing women which creates the impression that only men get turned on.
Having overcome the timidity I acquired in childhood and learnt much about the world, I can now authoritatively inform all timid boys out there that women do indeed get sexually aroused, sometimes even more than men. It's just that if a man forces a woman to have sex with him, that's reported to authorities as rape and sexual assault. But if a woman forces a man to have sex with her, that's not considered a crime at all. That's the way it is folks!
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,  &  Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
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