Appreciating Spiritual Needs
ALTHOUGH the Italian Biagio and the Cambodian Khem are different in many ways, they have something very important in common. They both realized that their lives were somehow empty, unfulfilled. Their material needs were satisfied, but their spiritual needs were not. They wanted answers to questions such as ‘Why is there evil in the world?’ and ‘What is the purpose of my life?’
Jesus began his most famous sermon by saying: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.” (Matthew 5:3) The experiences of Khem and Biagio illustrate this. When they heard the good news of God’s kingdom from Jehovah’s Witnesses, they responded joyfully, because, somewhere inside, they knew that it filled their spiritual need. Out of appreciation for this “good news” they now share it with others. After all, what could be more satisfying than helping other people to fill their spiritual need and gain the hope of everlasting life? It was appreciation for the “good news” that gave Biagio and Khem a purpose in life.
Sad to say, it is possible for young people born of Christian parents to know the “good news” and not appreciate it. “The day comes when a young person has to make ‘the truth’ his own,” said a teenage Witness. “He has to ask himself: Do I really believe it?” Some young people have permitted the world’s emphasis on the pursuit of riches and pleasures to blind them to their own spiritual needs. But will this lead to happiness? “The world is scary,” the young Witness continued. “Youths are upset. They don’t know what is going to happen to the world, and they don’t know what they want. But I know that Jehovah will allow things to go only so far. I have a security others do not have.” Isn’t that security and sense of purpose worth more than just ‘having a good time’? It certainly was to Biagio, and to others who have learned the truth about God’s kingdom.
There is another advantage in taking the truth seriously. “I have true friends,” says this young Witness. “People in school do not, and I feel sorry for them. Even at their parties they don’t really enjoy talking with one another unless they get ‘high’ or drunk.” Biagio experienced something similar before becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Speaking of himself and others like him he recalls: “I think we were happy only in the evenings when we could go to some kind of club or discotheque. Inside these places the music and lights created an unreal atmosphere that kept boredom and loneliness outside—but only for a while.”
In his prophecy on the times we live in, Jesus warned of neglecting spiritual needs, saying: “Pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you as a snare. For it will come in upon all those dwelling upon the face of all the earth. Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing before the Son of man.”—Luke 21:34-36.
Christians young and old need to take these words to heart. They should ask themselves, Am I really conscious of my spiritual need? Or have I let myself get distracted, ‘weighed down’ by either the pleasures or the problems of this system of things? Is God’s kingdom real to me? Am I truly a spiritual person? Or am I half-hearted, trying to ‘serve two masters’? It would be a terrible, needless tragedy for one to perish because he failed to appreciate his spiritual need!
Are you following Jesus’ counsel to keep spiritually awake, “all the time making supplication”? Jehovah no doubt heard Khem’s sincere prayer in the Cambodian jungle and arranged to fill his spiritual need. God will do the same for you, but you have to keep asking!
As the Bible points out, “the flesh is against the spirit in its desire, and the spirit against the flesh.” (Galatians 5:17) So the more you cater to fleshly desires, the more difficult it will be for you to appreciate your spiritual need. Is your entertainment—the magazines you read, the TV shows and movies you watch—making it difficult for you to appreciate your spiritual need? Why not make up your mind to set aside time every day to read at least a small portion of God’s Word and meditate on it? Why not replace some of your TV viewing with the reading of healthy Christian publications? The book that helped Biagio, The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, would make a worthwhile study project.
Really, is there any excuse for a Christian who neglects spiritual things in these critical times? If a youth like Biagio, adrift in the world, could appreciate his spiritual need for purpose in life, what can be said of a young Christian who fails to appreciate that need? Is not his situation a little like that described by Jesus in Luke chapter 12? There Jesus spoke in a parable of his return in our days and said: “Then that slave that understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do in line with his will will be beaten with many strokes. . . . Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him.” (Luke 12:47, 48) If you have been given a knowledge of Bible prophecy and the significance of God’s kingdom, should you not take the above words to heart?
Jesus did not tell Christians to ‘lift their heads up’ because this decaying system of things would be saved. It is foolish to hope for that. Rather, he promised that his followers would be delivered. The Bible is clear in stating that the world as we know it is headed for destruction in a “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.”—Matthew 24:21.
How do you feel about the world today? Can you see how utterly unreformable and worthy of destruction it is? If so, why not put yourself in line for “deliverance”? You can be like the people shown in vision to the prophet Ezekiel who were marked for salvation in ancient Jerusalem, which foreshadowed modern Christendom. Those people had been “sighing and groaning over all the detestable things . . . being done” in that unfaithful city. (Ezekiel 9:4) Today, also, Jehovah is looking for such persons who are groaning because of the wickedness that they see in the “Christian” and non-Christian societies around them. These must come to realize that their spiritual need can only be completely satisfied in a world ruled by God, where ‘His will is done on earth, as in heaven.’ (Matthew 6:10) Would you like to live in such a world? Biagio and Khem hope to do so, and they live now in harmony with their hope. So can you!
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The day comes when a young person has to make Bible truth his own. He has to ask himself: Do I really believe it?