Dare to Be Square
Everyone is capable of doing more—producing at a higher level. How? Here is a simple formula.
Get a piece of paper and a pen. In the middle of your paper, draw a good-sized square. Now consider each side of it.
God designed our bodies to function according to definite physical laws. When we break them, we suffer sickness, disease, sluggishness and debility. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 say to glorify God with our bodies. This includes attending to our physical health.
Exercise is important to healthy living. Proper diet is also huge. As Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “Since you are merely food converted into a human body and mind, is it not plain that whatever food you put into your mouth has a very great deal to do with what you are—and with your health, or lack of it” (Plain Truth, December 1967). God is our Creator. He knows what our bodies were made to utilize as good, healthful foods and what foods aren’t good for us. He set laws in motion regulating clean and unclean meats. Obey them, like Jesus and the apostles did.
“I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,” John wrote (3 John 2). Above all things! Good health is foundational to successful living! Too often, health is not appreciated until it’s gone.
So, on your square, next to the line on the left, write “physical stature.”
“Wisdom is the principal thing,” says Proverbs 4:7. But we have to go get it. “No one is going to get far these days unless he thinks for himself. This is going to take time and hard work, but the joy you will discover in knowing one thing well will more than repay you,” William Danforth wrote in his book I Dare You! “Most of us would like to be a Bernard Shaw or a Thomas A. Edison today. But how many would have been willing to be a Shaw or Edison many years ago when they were constantly laboring, studying, training and devouring all they could find which would fit them for the fame that was to be theirs?”
Characteristics of a sound mind include right mental habits, intellectual curiosity, mental discipline, clear and independent thinking, and a love of truth.
Next to the right side of your square, write “wisdom.”
God’s law of love is the way of unselfish concern for the good and welfare of others. God was so concerned about the welfare and future of others that He gave up His only Son! (Romans 5:8). God is a people person! What about you?
Learn to share yourself with others—your spouse, your children, your church congregation, your co-workers. Share your warmth, your love, your plans and your dreams. Give kindness and encouragement to those in distress. Offer sincere praise for those who perform something well.
You can never give away too much love. The beauty of it is, the more you give away, the happier you will be and the more you will grow. The Bible teaches that when we give, it automatically brings blessings into our lives (Acts 20:35).
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” Everyone can enlarge their circle of friends and positively impact more lives. “I dare you to develop that magnetic personality that will lead and inspire others. You can have that personality if you have a great enough desire,” Danforth wrote. “Can you imagine a young man with a sincere and earnest desire to make friends ever turning out a grouch?”
On your square, above the top line, write “favor with man.”
Even with three sides of our square filled in, we are woefully incomplete. What good is vibrant health, discerning wisdom and social magnetism without purpose?
Why are we here? Mr. Armstrong answered this question, and many more, in his profound work Mystery of the Ages.
Understanding man’s purpose begins with how we relate to God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments” (Psalm 111:10). God tells us to fear Him and to obey His commandments first, and then deep understanding will follow.
Put God to the test by doing (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Danforth wrote, “Physical strength demands exercise. Mental alertness demands study. Winsome personality thrives on service. Religious growth requires action, the actual doing of right things instead of the wrong. We advance only by doing. Say your prayers tonight, but unless tomorrow you can act on them, they are not worth much.”
On the final side of your square, on the bottom—the foundation—write, “favor with God.”
So there you have it: the square life. Jesus perfectly exemplified this balanced lifestyle. As a young man, He increased in physical strength, wisdom and stature, “and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Christ set a perfect example, but He also said following His example isn’t easy (Matthew 7:13-14). Most people choose the easy way—a life of poor health, lazy thinking and strained relationships.
Choose the difficult road—answer Danforth’s challenge: “How dare you have within yourself these fourfold capacities and not use them?” “[L]ife is a four-sided affair,” he continued, “your daring program is going to lead you into physical adventures, mental adventures, social adventures, spiritual adventures. You have not one, but four lives to live—a fourfold opportunity to grow. … It is helping you touch life at all angles, absorb strength from all contacts, pour out power on all fronts.
“And here is another interesting thing. The more you pour out, the more you find to pour.”
Go ahead and try it—I dare you.