How Some Have Been Helped to Believe
HOW can a person who does not believe in the existence of God come to know him? Many who now do believe found that, first of all, they had to face up to a certain problem. What is that?
A former member of an Eastern religion admitted: “Perhaps one of the strong reasons [for clinging to the belief that there is no Creator] is that this religion encourages one to live a carefree life, to be content.”
Similarly in the West, author John Cogley observes: “Modernity (at least the non-Marxist sort) puts tremendous emphasis on personal freedom—in thought, politics, matters pertaining to sexual behavior, and above all in speculation about the great issues of life.”
This freedom—and the easygoingness referred to above—can be heady stuff. To give them up and recognize a superior Authority requires a humility and an open-mindedness that not everyone possesses.
Freedom for What?
Freedom, of course, can be desirable. But freedom can be harmful too. Giving a child too much freedom may lead to his playing games on a busy street or his putting a hand on a hot stove. Complete freedom to make all our own decisions without any outside help can cause all kinds of problems, if the decisions are wrong.
When we accept the truth about God’s existence, we do not lose out. True, there is a measure of restriction of a person’s freedom—but only in ways that help us to avoid hurting ourselves and others. Those who truly believe in God have been willing to face up to the need for such limitations. Accepting the truths about God has also given them freedom: freedom from being deceived by persons who seek to exploit others by their own philosophy and from hopelessness because of not knowing the purpose of life. Just as Jesus once said: “The truth will set you free.”—John 8:32; Col. 2:8.
Help to Recognize the Existence of God
In the West, most people know what is meant by the term “Supreme Being,” although many claim not to believe in him. In the East, the problem is more difficult. Many do not understand the expression. A former non-Christian said about his onetime fellow religionists: “Most of them lack imagination as to the existence of the Supreme Being.”
For both these kinds of person, however, the first step in helping them to know God has often been to point to the creation and the reason that there must be an original Maker, an original Designer. One Christian who has served a long time in Japan explained: “We make use of illustrations. It takes an intelligent person to make a watch, camera, etc., but these things are without life. Look at a flower, a bird or the human body. Who designed these?” With such reasoning, he tries to build up in the Oriental mind the idea of the existence of God.
Helping Them to Know God
To progress from recognizing that a creative force exists, to coming to know God as a loving, heavenly Father is quite a big step. Even Einstein, evidently, could not accept that the creative spirit that he discerned behind the universe was really a personality who could be approached by mankind. He once commented: “The main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religion and science lies in the concept of a personal God.”
How have persons who now believe become acquainted with God as a person? Here, they had to rely on God himself. In a large country, most of the citizens may know about the existence of their head of state. Their lives are affected daily by him. Nevertheless, those who become his friends are only those to whom he makes himself accessible. Similarly, we can learn from the creation about the undoubted existence of God, and our lives are daily affected by him, in that we enjoy his gifts of food, air, sunlight, rain, and so forth. Nevertheless, we could never get to know him unless he made himself accessible to us.
Happily, he has done this. How? Well, one way is by means of the Bible. In that book, he has had recorded his dealings with mankind over the years. He has shown us his qualities, and even given us a name by which we can speak to him. That name is “Jehovah.” (Ps. 83:18) Hence, those persons who have truly come to know God have first had to cultivate an appreciation for that amazing book.
Most people recognize that there is something different about the Bible. It has been translated into far more languages than any other book. It is the all-time best seller. It has survived over the centuries despite determined efforts to destroy it. It goes farther back in history than any other book. What many do not accept, however, is the Bible’s own claim to be inspired. But the Bible clearly states: “All Scripture is inspired of God.” (2 Tim. 3:16) Can this claim be demonstrated as true? Yes, and persons who at one time did not believe, but now have come to know Jehovah, were willing to take the needed time to examine the evidence personally. What did they find?
They saw in the Bible hundreds of prophecies that have come true. They realized that no human could have known all these details of human affairs centuries, even thousands of years, in advance. The Bible itself indicates that the ability to prophesy correctly is one proof of godship. (Isa. 46:8-10) Regarding Bible prophecies that had been fulfilled up to his time, one of God’s ancient servants said: “Not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.” (Josh. 23:14) Those who are convinced of this have also found that fulfillment of prophecy is not simply a thing of the past. More prophecies are coming true in our own day. As they have examined the facts, they have felt compelled to acknowledge that the Bible must be God’s inspired word.—See Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
They have found to be equally impressive the counsel and guidance in the Bible. Gradually they realized that these bespeak an intelligence that is much higher than mere folk wisdom. They saw before them the knowledge and understanding of someone who has observed mankind for thousands of years and who knows what is best for us. They found the Bible’s advice for married couples, for youths, for poor and rich people, to be a constant source of wonderment because of the insight it reflected and its practicality. (See, for example, Colossians 3:5-8, 18-25; 1 Timothy 6:9-11, 17-19; Matthew 6:24-34; Proverbs 7:1-27.) As they personally began to apply this counsel, they experienced the truth of Psalm 119:2: “Happy are those observing [God’s] reminders; with all the heart they keep searching for him.”
Other Ways to Get to Know God
In Japan, a few years ago, a gentleman happened to ride a train several days in succession with a group of Christians attending an assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their conduct impressed him so much that he investigated. Long ago, the apostle Paul told all Christians to “become imitators of God.” (Eph. 5:1) Just as children often become reflections of their parents, so true Christians try to reflect their heavenly Father in their lives and conduct. It was the fruitage of these efforts that so impressed the Japanese gentleman referred to here, and helped him to come to know Jehovah. Now he, too, is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Similarly, a lady from another Eastern country, when asked to list the things that helped her to come to know God, mentioned among other things: “The knowledge of the governing laws and principles that are able to unite all kinds of men, regardless of racial differences, as proved by the example of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” And: “Observing the personalities of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Hence, in the conduct and activities of his worshipers, the Creator reveals himself to seeking ones.
The above-mentioned lady also referred to another thought-provoking thing that led her to know the Creator. She said: “Many of my personality traits have been changed—to my own amazement!” How was that possible? The apostle Paul said we should expect such a thing to happen. He told Christians: ‘Be made new in the force actuating your mind. Put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.’ (Eph. 4:23, 24) Honest people try to quell bad tendencies that they find in themselves. It is difficult. But those who worship the Creator have a ‘force actuating their minds’ that enables them to do it. This is fortified by God’s own holy spirit. Strengthened by this “force,” some have been cured of drug addiction, sexual perversion, criminal tendencies, and so forth. They have become loving, joyful, peaceful, long-suffering, kind, good, faithful, mild and self-controlled. (Gal. 5:22, 23) This has been a strong confirmation to them of God’s existence, and of his desire to help them.
Prayer is another way by which they have come to know God. The apostle John said: “No matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) Of course, God does not answer the prayers of everyone. “Jehovah is far away from the wicked ones, but the prayer of the righteous ones he hears,” says Proverbs 15:29. However, those who serve God faithfully do pray, and their prayers are answered. It is difficult not to believe in someone that you talk to constantly, and who answers you in various ways.
Yes, Jehovah Exists
Yes, Jehovah God does exist. Of this there is no doubt. And he wants his creatures to know him. He has revealed himself by means of his created works, by means of the Bible, as well as by the way his spirit works on his organization and on individuals.
Why not come to him as your heavenly Father and enjoy the freedom that comes from knowing the truth? Follow his counsel. Accept his heartwarming promises for the future. Yes, just as the psalmist long ago exhorted: “Taste and see that Jehovah is good, O you people; happy is the able-bodied man that takes refuge in him.”—Ps. 34:8.
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The bird must have had an original designer
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Through the Bible, God introduces himself to us, telling us his name, his qualities, his purpose
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Persons are attracted to the worship of Jehovah when they observe his qualities reflected in the lives of his worshipers
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It is difficult not to believe in someone whom you talk to and who answers you