The Bible’s Viewpoint
What Does God Expect of You?
OUR busy lives place many demands on us. At times it may be a struggle for us to meet all of our obligations. Yet, we need to keep in mind that life itself is a gift we have received from God. (Psalm 36:9) How much of our time and energy does God expect us to devote to him? The Bible’s reasonable answer is encouraging.
Jesus knew better than anyone else what his Father expects of humans. (Matthew 11:27) When asked to identify the greatest commandment, Jesus said: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.” (Mark 12:30) What does that mean? Is that asking too much?
What Whole-Souled Love for God Involves
Our love for God can grow as we reflect on his unlimited goodness toward us. If our love is whole-souled, we will be moved to give God the best of whatever we have. We will feel as did the Bible writer who asked: “What shall I repay to Jehovah for all his benefits to me?” (Psalm 116:12) How does such love for God affect our use of time?
The Bible does not prescribe a set number of hours that we must reserve for worship each week. However, it identifies activities that should be given priority in life and explains why they should. For example, Jesus taught that taking in knowledge of God is an essential step leading to “everlasting life.” (John 17:3) He also said that his followers should help those who do not know God to gain life by sharing the knowledge of God with them. (Matthew 28:19, 20) The Bible instructs us to meet with fellow believers regularly to gain spiritual strength and provide mutual encouragement. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) All these activities take time.
Does God expect us to live fanatically—excluding all activities from our life except worship? By no means! Practical matters of everyday life need attention too. The Bible instructs family heads to provide for the needs of their families, saying: “Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he . . . is worse than a person without faith.”—1 Timothy 5:8.
God created man with the ability to enjoy life. It is only proper, then, to spend time with our families and friends, enjoying good food and wholesome relaxation. King Solomon wrote: “I have come to know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good during one’s life; and also that every man should eat and indeed drink and see good for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.”—Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13.
Jehovah God also understands human limitations, “remembering that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) The Bible acknowledges the need for us to get sufficient rest. After a period of busy activity, Jesus invited his disciples to go “privately into a lonely place and rest up a bit.”—Mark 6:31.
So a life pleasing to God is balanced and can include a variety of activities. However, all of our affairs—whether directly related to worship or not—should reflect our whole-souled love for God. The Bible’s counsel is: “Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.”—1 Corinthians 10:31.
Successfully Setting Priorities
Does putting the worship of God first in life seem unrealistic or beyond your capability? It is true that giving God what he expects may require changes—even sacrifices—in our use of time. But surely our loving Creator has not asked us to do the impossible. In fact, he gives us abundant help to do his will. We can succeed if we rely on “the strength that God supplies.”—1 Peter 4:11.
You may feel a measure of stress as you adjust your schedule to include spiritual activities. Take time frequently to speak to Jehovah God, the “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) In prayer, you can express any anxiety you feel, knowing that “he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) King David prayed: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.” (Psalm 143:10) Likewise, you can ask God for help to make necessary adjustments in your life.
The Bible contains the warm invitation: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) As you start to share in activities that please God, such as studying the Bible and attending Christian meetings, you will draw closer to God. He, in turn, will strengthen you to make further progress.
Regarding her efforts to adjust priorities, Jelena, who is studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, says, “It has not been an easy journey for me.” But she adds: “Once I started attending Christian meetings, I gained strength to apply what the Bible says. Persistent support from others has helped too.” Experiencing the benefits that come from serving God provides additional motivation. (Ephesians 6:10) Jelena notes, “I have improved in my relationship with my husband and in the way I discipline my children.”
Jehovah’s powerful holy spirit can strengthen and motivate you to review life’s priorities and ‘buy out the time’ to serve God despite the pressures of modern-day life. (Ephesians 3:16; 5:15-17) Jesus said: “The things impossible with men are possible with God.”—Luke 18:27.
HAVE YOU WONDERED?
[Picture on page 20]
Pleasing God requires balance