“Build yourselves up on your most holy faith . . . Keep yourselves in God’s love.”—JUDE 20, 21.
1, 2. What can we do to remain in God’s love?
WE ALL want to be strong and healthy. So we try to eat good food, exercise regularly, and take care of our body. Although this takes effort, we enjoy the results, so we don’t give up. But we also need to be strong and healthy in another way.
2 Even though we have made a good start in getting to know Jehovah, we need to keep making our relationship with him stronger. When Jude encouraged Christians, “Keep yourselves in God’s love,” he explained how they could do this. He told them: “Build yourselves up on your most holy faith.” (Jude 20, 21) So how can we build strong faith?
KEEP BUILDING YOUR FAITH
3-5. (a) How would Satan like you to feel about Jehovah’s standards? (b) How do you feel about Jehovah’s laws and principles?
3 It is important for you to be personally convinced that Jehovah’s ways are best. Satan wants you to think that God’s standards are too difficult to live up to and that you will be happier if you decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. Ever since the garden of Eden, Satan has tried to make people believe this. (Genesis 3:1-6) And he is still trying hard today.
4 Is Satan right? Are Jehovah’s standards too restrictive? No. To illustrate, imagine you are walking in a beautiful park. You notice a high fence blocking off a certain area. Maybe you think, ‘Why is this fence in my way?’ But at that moment, you hear a lion roar on the other side of the fence. How do you feel about the fence now? You are grateful that it is protecting you from being the lion’s next meal! Jehovah’s principles are like that fence, and the Devil is like that lion. God’s Word warns us: “Keep your senses, be watchful! Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.”—1 Peter 5:8.
5 Jehovah wants us to have the best life possible. He does not want us to be deceived by Satan. That is why he has given us laws and principles to protect us and make us happy. (Ephesians 6:11) James wrote: “The one who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and continues in it . . . will be happy in what he does.”—James 1:25.
6. How can we become convinced that God’s ways are best?
6 When we follow Jehovah’s direction, our lives improve and our friendship with him grows stronger. For example, we benefit when we accept his invitation to pray to him often. (Matthew 6:5-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) We are happy when we obey his direction to meet together to worship him and encourage one another and when we have a full share in the preaching and teaching work. (Matthew 28:19, 20; Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 10:24, 25) As we think about how these things have helped us to keep our faith strong, we become more and more convinced that Jehovah’s ways are best.
7, 8. What will help us avoid worrying about tests that may come in the future?
7 We may worry that in the future we will have tests of faith that will be too difficult for us. If you ever feel that way, remember Jehovah’s words: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One guiding you in the way you should walk. If only you would pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
8 When we obey Jehovah, our peace will be like a river that does not run dry, and our righteousness will be like waves of the sea that constantly wash onto a beach. No matter what happens in our lives, we can be faithful. The Bible promises: “Throw your burden on Jehovah, and he will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to fall.”—Psalm 55:22.
“PRESS ON TO MATURITY”
9, 10. What does it mean to be mature?
9 As you strengthen your relationship with Jehovah, you will “press on to maturity.” (Hebrews 6:1) What does it mean to be mature?
10 We do not become mature Christians simply by getting older. To become mature, we must make Jehovah our best Friend and try to view things as he does. (John 4:23) Paul wrote: “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, on the things of the spirit.” (Romans 8:5) A mature person does not focus his life on pleasure or material things. Instead, he focuses on serving Jehovah and makes wise choices in life. (Proverbs 27:11; read James 1:2, 3.) He does not let himself be influenced to do wrong. A mature person knows what is right and is determined to do it.
11, 12. (a) What did Paul say about a Christian’s “powers of discernment”? (b) How is becoming a mature Christian similar to becoming an athlete?
11 It takes effort to become mature. The apostle Paul wrote: “Solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong.” (Hebrews 5:14) The word “trained” may make us think of the training of an athlete.
12 When we see a skilled athlete in action, we know that it took time and training for him to develop his skill. He was not born an athlete. When a baby is born, he does not know exactly how to use his arms and legs. But in time, he learns how to hold objects and how to walk. With training, he can become an athlete. In a similar way, it takes time and training for us to become mature Christians.
13. What will help us to learn to think the way Jehovah thinks?
13 In this publication, we’ve examined how we can think the way Jehovah thinks and view things as he does. We have learned to appreciate and love Jehovah’s standards. When we make decisions, we ask ourselves: ‘What laws or principles from the Bible apply to this situation? How can I apply them? What would Jehovah like me to do?’—Read Proverbs 3:5, 6; James 1:5.
14. What do we need to do if we are to build our faith?
14 We never stop building our faith in Jehovah. Just as eating nutritious food helps us to build strong bodies, learning about Jehovah helps us to build strong faith. When we began studying the Bible, we learned basic truths about Jehovah and his ways. But as time goes by, we need to understand deeper things. That is what Paul meant when he said: “Solid food belongs to mature people.” By applying the things we learn, we gain wisdom. The Bible tells us: “Wisdom is the most important thing.”—Proverbs 4:5-7; 1 Peter 2:2.
15. How important is it that we truly love Jehovah and our brothers and sisters?
15 A person may be strong and healthy, but to stay that way, he knows that he must continue to take good care of himself. In a similar way, a mature person knows that he needs to work hard to keep his relationship with Jehovah strong. Paul reminds us: “Keep testing whether you are in the faith; keep proving what you yourselves are.” (2 Corinthians 13:5) Still, we need more than just strong faith. Our love for Jehovah and our brothers and sisters must continue to grow. Paul said: “If I have . . . knowledge, and if I have all the faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”—1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
FOCUS ON YOUR HOPE
16. How would Satan like us to feel?
16 Satan wants us to think that we can never be good enough to please Jehovah. He would like us to feel discouraged and to think that there is no solution to our problems. He does not want us to trust our fellow Christians, and he does not want us to be happy. (Ephesians 2:2) Satan knows that negative thinking can harm both us and our relationship with God. But Jehovah has given us something to help us fight negative thinking. He has given us hope.
17. How important is hope?
17 At 1 Thessalonians 5:8, the Bible compares our hope to the helmet that protects a soldier’s head in battle, calling that helmet “the hope of salvation.” Hope in Jehovah’s promises can protect our mind and help us resist negative thoughts.
18, 19. How was Jesus strengthened by hope?
18 Jesus’ hope made him strong. On the final night of his life on earth, he dealt with one difficult situation after another. A close friend betrayed him. Another denied even knowing him. Others abandoned him and fled. His own countrymen rose up against him, demanding his death by torture. What helped him to endure these painful things? “For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”—Hebrews 12:2.
19 Jesus knew that by being faithful, he would bring glory to his Father and prove Satan a liar. This hope brought him great joy. He also knew that soon he would be reunited with his Father in heaven. This hope helped him to endure. Like Jesus, we must focus on our hope. It will help us to endure no matter what happens.
20. What can help you to be positive?
20 Jehovah sees your faith and endurance. (Isaiah 30:18; read Malachi 3:10.) He promises to “grant you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) So keep your mind focused on your hope. Satan wants you to lose hope and to feel that Jehovah’s promises will never come true. But you cannot give in to negative thinking! If you notice that your hope is becoming less real to you, ask Jehovah for help. Remember the words found at Philippians 4:6, 7: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”
21, 22. (a) What is Jehovah’s purpose for the earth? (b) What are you resolved to do?
21 Regularly take time to meditate on the exciting future ahead. Soon, everyone alive will worship Jehovah. (Revelation 7:9, 14) Just think about life in the new world. It will be better than anything we can imagine! Satan, his demons, and all wickedness will be gone. You will not get sick, and you will not die. Instead, you will wake up each day full of energy and happy to be alive. Everyone will work together to make the earth into a paradise. All will have good food and a safe place to live. People will not be cruel or violent but will be genuinely kind to one another. In time, all humans on earth will enjoy “the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Romans 8:21.
22 Jehovah wants you to make him your best Friend. So do all you can to obey Jehovah and to draw closer to him each day. Yes, may all of us remain in God’s love forever!—Jude 21.