How would you like to be 25 percent more effective in everything you do? Everyone’s capable of doing more—producing at a higher level. But how? The formula is actually quite simple. But it’s not easy.
Find a piece of paper and a pen. In the middle of your paper, draw a good-size square. Now let’s consider each side of it.
God designed our physical bodies to function according to definite physical laws. When those physical laws are broken, the penalty is sickness and disease, sluggishness and debility.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, we are admonished to glorify God with our bodies. This includes attending to physical health.
Exercise is one important key to living healthy, which is why 1 Timothy 4:8 says bodily exercise is profitable. Added to that, proper diet is huge. We are what we eat. 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 made us. 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,” the Apostle John wrote (3 John 2). Above all things he wished for the brethren to be in good health. Why? Because this is foundational to successful living! Too often, healthful living is not truly 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. All of those character attributes—if based on truth—are characteristics of a sound, balanced mind.
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?
God made man in His own likeness and image—to be like Him! 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.” This says 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? What is man’s purpose in this life? Mr. Armstrong answered these questions, 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 Christ perfectly exemplified this balanced lifestyle. As a young man, it says in Luke 2:52, He increased in physical strength, wisdom and stature, “and in favor with God and man.” Christ set a perfect example, but He also said it wouldn’t be easy to follow in His steps (Matthew 7:13-14). Because of the difficulty, 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 four-fold 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 four-fold 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. ▪