Are You Reflecting the Glory of Jehovah?
“We . . . reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah.”—2 COR. 3:18.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
Despite our sinful state, how can we glorify Jehovah?
How do our prayers and our presence at Christian meetings help us to reflect God’s glory?
What can help us to keep on glorifying Jehovah?
IN ONE way or another, all of us resemble our parents. Therefore, it is not surprising to hear someone say to a boy, ‘You are just like your father.’ A girl may be told, ‘You remind me of your mother.’ And children often imitate what they see in their parents. But what about us? Can we imitate our heavenly Father, Jehovah? Although we have not seen him, we can perceive his precious qualities by studying his Word, by observing his creation, and by meditating on the Scriptures and especially on the words and deeds of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. (John 1:18; Rom. 1:20) It is possible for us to reflect Jehovah’s glory.
2 Before Adam and Eve were created, God was confident that humans would be able to carry out his will for them, reflect his qualities, and bring him glory. (Read Genesis 1:26, 27.) In practicing godly devotion, we should display the qualities of the One who made us. If we do so, we have the blessed privilege of reflecting God’s glory regardless of our culture, our education, or our ethnic background. Why? Because “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
3 Anointed Christians reflect Jehovah’s glory. The spirit-begotten apostle Paul therefore wrote: “All of us, while we with unveiled faces reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” (2 Cor. 3:18) When the prophet Moses descended from Mount Sinai with the tablets bearing the Ten Commandments, his face emitted rays because Jehovah had spoken with him. (Ex. 34:29, 30) Though Christians have not had such an experience and their faces do not emit rays, they beam with joy as they tell others about Jehovah, his qualities, and his wonderful purpose for mankind. Like burnished metal mirrors of ancient times, anointed ones and their earthly companions thus reflect Jehovah’s glory in their life and ministry. (2 Cor. 4:1) Are you reflecting Jehovah’s glory by your godly conduct and by your activity as a regular Kingdom proclaimer?
WE DESIRE TO REFLECT JEHOVAH’S GLORY
4 As Jehovah’s servants, we certainly want to honor and glorify our Creator in everything we do. All too often, however, what we desire to do is not what we do. Paul had to contend with that problem personally. (Read Romans 7:21-25.) Explaining why we have such a struggle, Paul wrote: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) Yes, through inheritance from sinful Adam, mankind became subject to the harsh mastery of ‘King Sin.’—Rom. 5:12; 6:12.
5 What is sin? It is anything contrary to Jehovah’s personality, ways, standards, and will. Sin mars a person’s relationship with God. Sin causes us to miss the mark, even as an archer can shoot an arrow but miss his target. We can sin intentionally or by mistake. (Num. 15:27-31) Sin is deeply ingrained in humans and creates a barrier between them and their Creator. (Ps. 51:5; Isa. 59:2; Col. 1:21) Thus, mankind in general is completely out of harmony with Jehovah and misses the priceless opportunity to reflect God’s glory. Unquestionably, sin is the worst disability afflicting humankind.
6 Despite our sinful condition, Jehovah has proved to be “the God who gives hope.” (Rom. 15:13) He has provided the means for abolishing sin—the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. By exercising faith in that sacrifice, we are no longer “slaves to sin,” but we are in a position to reflect Jehovah’s glory. (Rom. 5:19; 6:6; John 3:16) Maintaining this approved relationship with God guarantees us Jehovah’s blessing now as well as the future benefits of perfection and everlasting life. Although we are still sinful humans, what a blessing it is to be viewed by God as individuals who can reflect his glory!
REFLECTING GOD’S GLORY
7 To be in the proper position to reflect God’s glory, we must honestly recognize our sinful nature. (2 Chron. 6:36) We need to acknowledge our sinful inclinations and work to control them so that we can progress to the point of truly glorifying God. For example, if we have fallen into the dishonoring sin of viewing pornography, we must face the fact that we need spiritual help—and take action to get it. (Jas. 5:14, 15) This would be the first step to take in working toward a life that fully honors God. As worshippers of Jehovah, we must continually make a self-examination to determine whether we are measuring up to his righteous standards. (Prov. 28:18; 1 Cor. 10:12) Whatever the nature of our sinful tendencies, we must keep on curbing them so that we can reflect God’s glory.
8 Jesus was the only human who ever lived and died without failing to please God and reflect His glory. Although we are not perfect as Jesus was, we can and should strive to follow his example. (1 Pet. 2:21) Jehovah weighs the effort we put forth along with the progress we make, and he blesses our earnest endeavor to bring him glory.
9 Jehovah’s written Word can illuminate for us the pathway to improvement. In-depth study of the Scriptures and meditative Bible reading are essential. (Ps. 1:1-3) Reading the Scriptures daily will help us to make improvement. (Read James 1:22-25.) Bible knowledge is the basis for our faith and is the means of fortifying our determination to avoid grave sin and to please Jehovah.—Ps. 119:11, 47, 48.
10 To reflect God’s glory, we also need to “persevere in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12) We can and should pray that Jehovah help us to serve him in an acceptable way. To that end, we can properly ask him for holy spirit, for more faith, for strength to resist temptation, and for ability to ‘handle the word of the truth aright.’ (2 Tim. 2:15; Matt. 6:13; Luke 11:13; 17:5) As a child depends on his father, so we need to depend on our heavenly Father, Jehovah. If we ask him to help us serve him more fully, we can have confidence that he will do so. May we never feel that we are a bother to him! Instead, in prayer let us praise him, thank him, seek his direction especially when under trial, and ask that he help us to serve him in ways that glorify his holy name.—Ps. 86:12; Jas. 1:5-7.
11 God has entrusted the care of his precious sheep to “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45-47; Ps. 100:3) The slave class is very interested in how fellow believers are reflecting Jehovah’s glory. Our appearance as Christian ministers is adjusted at our meetings, even as we might have a tailor alter our clothing so that we look better. (Heb. 10:24, 25) Let us therefore be on time, for if we customarily arrive late, we lose out on at least some of the spiritual ‘tailoring’ needed to improve our appearance as Jehovah’s servants.
LET US IMITATE GOD
12 If we are to reflect Jehovah’s glory, we must “become imitators of God.” (Eph. 5:1) One way to imitate Jehovah is to adopt his viewpoint regarding matters. Striving to live in any other way is dishonoring to him and damaging to us. Since the world that surrounds us is under the influence of the wicked one, Satan the Devil, we must work hard to have a hatred for what Jehovah hates and a deep love for what he loves. (Ps. 97:10; 1 John 5:19) We need heartfelt conviction that the only proper way to serve God is by doing all things for his glory.—Read 1 Corinthians 10:31.
13 Jehovah hates sin, and so should we. Indeed, we ought to move as far away from wrongdoing as possible and not see how close we can get to it without being overcome by sin. For instance, we need to guard against succumbing to apostasy, a sin that would make us unfit to glorify God. (Deut. 13:6-9) Let us therefore have nothing to do with apostates or anyone who claims to be a brother but who is dishonoring God. This should be the case even if he is a family member. (1 Cor. 5:11) We are not benefited by trying to refute the arguments of apostates or those who are critical of Jehovah’s organization. In fact, it is spiritually dangerous and improper to peruse their information, whether it appears in written form or it is found on the Internet.—Read Isaiah 5:20; Matthew 7:6.
14 Displaying love is an outstanding way for us to imitate our heavenly Father. Yes, like him we should be loving. (1 John 4:16-19) In fact, the love we have among ourselves identifies us as disciples of Jesus and servants of Jehovah. (John 13:34, 35) Although our inherent sinful state may sometimes get in the way, we must push it aside and prove to be loving at all times. Cultivating love and other godly qualities will prevent us from doing unkind and sinful things.—2 Pet. 1:5-7.
15 Love makes us want to do good things for other people. (Rom. 13:8-10) For example, love for our spouse will keep the marriage bed free of defilement. Love for the elders, coupled with respect for their work, will help us to be obedient and submissive to their direction. Children who love their parents obey and honor them and do not speak negatively about them. If we love our fellow humans, we will not view them as inferior or speak to them disrespectfully. (Jas. 3:9) And elders who love God’s sheep will treat them with tenderness.—Acts 20:28, 29.
16 The quality of love should also stand out in our ministry. Because of our profound love for Jehovah, we will not allow ourselves to be swayed by the apathy or negative response of some householders. Instead, we will keep on preaching the good news. Love will move us to prepare well and to endeavor to be effective in the ministry. If we truly love God and our neighbor, we will not view the Kingdom-preaching work as a chore or a duty. Instead, we will consider it a great privilege and will carry it out joyfully.—Matt. 10:7.
KEEP ON GLORIFYING JEHOVAH
17 The world in general is not conscious of the seriousness of sin, but we are. This makes us aware of the need to fight against our sinful inclinations. Acknowledging our sinful nature allows us to train our conscience so that it will move us to act properly when an urge to sin begins to develop in our mind and heart. (Rom. 7:22, 23) True, we may be weak, but God can strengthen us to do what is right in any situation.—2 Cor. 12:10.
18 If we are to glorify Jehovah, we must also fight against wicked spirit forces. Our God-given spiritual armor enables us to do this successfully. (Eph. 6:11-13) Satan ceaselessly tries to rob Jehovah of the glory that He alone deserves. The Devil also continues to make every effort to destroy our relationship with Jehovah. But what a blow it is to Satan when we and millions of other imperfect men, women, and children maintain integrity and glorify God! Therefore, let us continue to laud Jehovah, like the heavenly creatures who exclaim: “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.”—Rev. 4:11.
19 May it be our determination to keep on glorifying Jehovah, come what may. He surely rejoices that so many loyal individuals are doing their very best to imitate him and reflect his glory. (Prov. 27:11) May our sentiments be like those of David, who sang: “I laud you, O Jehovah my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify your name to time indefinite.” (Ps. 86:12) How we long for the day when we will reflect the glory of Jehovah perfectly and can praise him forever! This will be obedient mankind’s joyful experience. Are you reflecting the glory of Jehovah God now, with the prospect of doing so throughout all eternity?
1, 2. Why is it reasonable to expect that we can imitate Jehovah’s qualities?
3. What feeling can Christians experience as they serve Jehovah?
4, 5. (a) Like Paul, what struggle do we have? (b) How has sin affected us?
6. Despite our sinful state, how can we glorify God?
7. What must we acknowledge about ourselves in order to reflect God’s glory?
8. Although we are not perfect, what should we do?
9. What role does the Bible play in the lives of Christians who desire to measure up to God’s requirements?
10. How can prayer help us to serve Jehovah more fully?
11. How do congregation meetings help us to reflect God’s glory?
12. How can we imitate God?
13. Why must we hate sin, and what will this move us to do?
14. When working to reflect God’s glory, what quality should stand out in us, and why?
15. How does love affect our relationship with others?
16. How will displaying love help us in our ministry?
17. Why do we benefit from acknowledging that we fall short of God’s glory?
18, 19. (a) What enables us to succeed in our fight against wicked spirit forces? (b) What should be our resolve?
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Are you reflecting Jehovah’s glory in these ways?