Let endurance complete its work.—Jas. 1:4.
What “work” must endurance complete? It helps us to “be complete and sound in all respects, not lacking in anything.” (Jas. 1:4) Trials often reveal our weaknesses, aspects of our personality that we need to refine. If we endure those trials, however, our Christian personality becomes more complete, or sound. For example, we may become more patient, appreciative, and compassionate. Because endurance completes the vital work of molding us as Christians, do not compromise Scriptural principles to bring an end to tests that come your way. For instance, what if you struggle with unclean thoughts? Rather than give in to temptation, prayerfully reject such desires. You will thus fortify your self-control. Are you facing opposition from an unbelieving family member? Instead of yielding under pressure, be determined to maintain your pattern of wholehearted worship. Remember: To have God’s approval, we must endure.—Rom. 5:3-5; Jas. 1:12. w16.04 2:15, 16
With humility consider others superior to you.—Phil. 2:3.
We know that taking undue pride in tribe, culture, or nation puts us at odds with Jehovah’s view of human rule and the human family. Of course, God does not expect us to renounce our culture. In fact, cultural differences illustrate the marvelous diversity of the human family. Still, we must remember that in God’s sight, all people are equal. (Rom. 10:12) Taking undue pride in our place of origin is at the heart of nationalism and could be the first step on a path to compromise. Christians are not immune to such pride, for even some in the first-century congregation discriminated against their brothers because of their nationality. (Acts 6:1) How can we tell if undue pride is taking root in us? Suppose a brother or sister from another land offered you a suggestion. Would you reject it, immediately thinking, ‘We do things better around here’? Instead, we should all apply the inspired counsel of today’s text. w16.04 4:12, 13
I must . . . declare the good news of the Kingdom.—Luke 4:43.
Jesus preached “the good news of the Kingdom,” and he expects his disciples to do the same. What group of people are preaching that message in “all the nations”? (Matt. 28:19) The answer is obvious—only Jehovah’s Witnesses. A missionary priest once told a Witness that he had lived in many different countries and that he had asked the Witnesses in each country what message they were preaching. What answer was he given? The priest said: “They were all so stupid that they gave the same answer: ‘The good news of the Kingdom.’” Far from being “stupid,” however, those Witnesses were speaking in unity, as true Christians should. (1 Cor. 1:10) And they were echoing the message contained in The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. This magazine is available in 254 languages, and an average of nearly 59 million copies of each issue are produced, making it the most widely circulated magazine in the world. w16.05 2:6
Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart.—2 Cor. 9:7.
As Kingdom publishers, we may desire to enter the full-time ministry as regular pioneers. In order to make this possible, we begin taking steps to simplify our life. At the same time, we may find ourselves worrying about whether we could be genuinely happy with less in a material way. Of course, there is no Bible command that we pioneer; we could continue serving Jehovah as faithful publishers. However, Jesus assures us that those who make sacrifices for the Kingdom will receive abundant blessings. (Luke 18:29, 30) Moreover, the Scriptures show that it pleases Jehovah when we make “voluntary offerings of praise” to him and cheerfully do what we can to advance true worship. (Ps. 119:108) From these Scriptural points, along with prayers for guidance, can we not perceive Jehovah’s thinking? Reflecting on these thoughts may help us come to a decision that will be practical for us and will have our heavenly Father’s blessing. w16.05 3:13
Remember . . . your Grand Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of distress come.—Eccl. 12:1.
Many of the problems addressed in our publications for young people are not unique to them. All of us need to defend our faith, control our emotions, reject harmful peer pressure, and avoid unwholesome associations and entertainment. These topics and many others have been addressed in material designed for teenagers. Should adult Christians feel that it is demeaning for them to read publications directed to young people? Not at all! Although the material is presented in a way that appeals to youths, the information is based on timeless Scriptural principles, and all of us can benefit from these spiritual provisions. Besides helping young people to deal with problems, our publications help them to grow spiritually and draw close to Jehovah. Here, too, adult Christians can benefit.—Eccl. 12:13. w16.05 5:15, 16
Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah. You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength.—Deut. 6:4, 5.
“Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” What a powerful statement! That reminder fortified the Israelites to confront the challenges facing them as they entered and took possession of the Promised Land. Our taking those words to heart will empower us to face the great tribulation just ahead and contribute to the Paradise to follow. Let us go on rendering exclusive devotion to Jehovah by loving and serving him whole-souled and putting forth earnest effort to maintain oneness in the Christian brotherhood. If we continue to do so, we can look forward with confidence to seeing fulfilled what Jesus said about those whom he will judge as sheep: “Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.”—Matt. 25:34. w16.06 3:2, 20
The heart is more treacherous than anything else.—Jer. 17:9.
Pride can cause us to justify our actions, making us quite the opposite of malleable. Have you ever been hurt by a fellow Christian or by the loss of certain privileges? If so, how did you respond? Did pride come into play? Or was your main concern that of making peace with your brother and remaining loyal to Jehovah? (Ps. 119:165; Col. 3:13) Making a practice of sin, perhaps even committing secret sins, can also make one unresponsive to divine counsel. Sinning can then become easier. (Eccl. 8:11) One brother, who got into the habit of viewing pornography, later admitted, “I found myself developing a critical attitude toward the elders.” His habit was hurting him spiritually. Eventually, his conduct came to light, and he received much-needed help. Of course, we are all imperfect. If, however, we begin to develop a critical attitude or to excuse a wrong course rather than seek God’s forgiveness and help, our heart may already be hardening. w16.06 2:5, 6
Stop being anxious about your lives.—Matt. 6:25.
Jesus’ listeners were anxious about things they ought not be anxious about. Jesus said to stop that—and for good reason. Needless anxiety or worry, even about legitimate concerns, can divide a person’s mind and distract him, shutting out the more important spiritual matters of life. Jesus was so concerned for his disciples that he warned them about this dangerous tendency four more times in his Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 6:27, 28, 31, 34) Jesus was well-aware of people’s day-to-day needs. More than that, he knew of the difficult conditions facing his disciples who centuries later would live during “the last days,” characterized by “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Tim. 3:1) Such conditions include unemployment, inflation, food shortages, and abject poverty that many experience. Yet, Jesus also realized that ‘life means more than food and the body than clothing.’ w16.07 1:8, 9
I became a minister of this according to the free gift of God’s undeserved kindness.—Eph. 3:7.
If we met all of Jehovah’s requirements perfectly, his kindness toward us would be deserved. As it is, we fail to do so. Thus, wise King Solomon wrote: “There is no righteous man on earth who always does good and never sins.” (Eccl. 7:20) The apostle Paul likewise stated: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and “the wages sin pays is death.” (Rom. 3:23; 6:23a) That is what we deserve. Jehovah, however, expressed his love toward fallen mankind in an incomparable act of undeserved kindness. He sent his greatest gift of all, “his only-begotten Son,” to earth to die in our behalf. (John 3:16) So Paul wrote concerning Jesus that he is “now crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death, so that by God’s undeserved kindness he might taste death for everyone.” (Heb. 2:9) Yes, “the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Rom. 6:23b. w16.07 3:3, 4
I am going to make a helper for him.—Gen. 2:18.
Marriage is very much a part of life. A review of its origin and purpose can help us to have a proper view of this relationship and enjoy its intended blessings more fully. After God created the first man, Adam, the animals were brought to him so that he could name them. But “for man there was no helper as a complement of him.” God therefore caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, took a rib from him, built it into a woman, and brought her to the man. (Gen. 2:20-24) Thus, marriage is of divine origin. Jesus confirmed that it was Jehovah who stated: “A man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.” (Matt. 19:4, 5) God’s use of a rib from Adam in creating the first woman could have impressed on the first human couple the closeness of their union. There was no arrangement for divorce or for having more than one mate at the same time. w16.08 1:1, 2
[Jesus] set out from there to teach and preach in their cities.—Matt. 11:1.
Jesus often spoke to individuals about the Kingdom. For instance, he carried on a lively and fruitful conversation with a woman at Jacob’s well near the city of Sychar. (John 4:5-30) He also spoke with Matthew Levi, a tax collector. Matthew accepted Jesus’ invitation to be his follower. Matthew and others heard Jesus speak at some length during a feast held in Matthew’s home. (Matt. 9:9; Luke 5:27-39) On another occasion, Jesus spoke in a friendly way to Nathanael, who had a negative view of people from Nazareth. However, Nathanael was moved to change his thinking. He decided to learn more about what Jesus, a man from Nazareth, was teaching. (John 1:46-51) So we have good reason to train new publishers to converse with people in a friendly, relaxed manner. Those whom we help in this way will likely be delighted to see how honesthearted people respond favorably to personal interest and kind words. w16.08 4:7-9
A wife should not separate from her husband. . . . And a husband should not leave his wife.—1 Cor. 7:10, 11.
Serious problems that persist in marriage may lead one mate or both mates to consider separation or divorce. Separating from one’s marriage partner should not be viewed lightly. Though separation may seem to be the answer when serious difficulties arise, it often causes more problems. After repeating what God had stated about a man leaving his father and his mother and sticking to his wife, Jesus said: “What God has yoked together, let no man put apart.” (Matt. 19:3-6; Gen. 2:24) This also means that neither a husband nor a wife should ‘put apart what God has yoked together.’ Jehovah views marriage as a lifelong bond. (1 Cor. 7:39) Bearing in mind that all of us will render an account to God should move marriage mates to make earnest efforts to resolve problems quickly so that these do not become more serious. w16.08 2:10, 11
Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil.—Rom. 12:21.
Our enemies may attack us when we least expect it and kick us when we are at our lowest point, so we must ever remain alert. The encouragement not to let ourselves “be conquered by the evil” shows that we can defeat evil. We can do so if we keep on fighting against it. In contrast, we could be overcome by Satan, his evil world, and our imperfect flesh if we let our guard down and quit fighting. Never allow Satan to intimidate you into dropping your hands in defeat! (1 Pet. 5:9) To be successful, those who are contending must not lose sight of their reason for struggling. To gain God’s approval and blessing, they should keep focused on the assurance that we read at Hebrews 11:6: “Whoever approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” The Greek verb translated “earnestly seeking” is a form that implies intensity and concerted effort.—Acts 15:17. w16.09 2:4, 5
Do all things for God’s glory.—1 Cor. 10:31.
God’s Word provides practical guidance that can help us to make wise choices that will bring glory to God. Still, what we wear involves some personal preference. Our individual tastes vary, as do our financial resources. But our clothes should always be neat, clean, modest, appropriate to the occasion, and acceptable locally. We must admit that it is not always easy to make a decision that shows good judgment, that is sensible, and that takes all factors into account. Many stores cater to popular fashions, so it may take more time and effort to find modest skirts, dresses, and blouses or suits and slacks that are not too tight. Yet, fellow believers will likely note and appreciate the results of our sincere efforts to find attractive and appropriate clothing. And the satisfaction we have of bringing glory to our loving heavenly Father more than makes up for any inconveniences that we may face to dress so as to glorify him. w16.09 3:15, 16
He stretches out the northern sky over empty space, suspending the earth upon nothing.—Job 26:7.
Children tend to have a vivid imagination. So parents, try to use illustrations liberally in your teaching. Effective illustrations can strengthen a child’s faith in the accuracy of the Bible. For example, consider today’s text. How might you show that this scripture was inspired? You could just state facts. Instead, why not stimulate your child’s imagination? Bring up the fact that Job lived long before telescopes and spaceships. Your child’s job could be to show how difficult it might be for some to believe that a very large object, such as the earth, could sit on nothing. The child could use a ball or a stone to illustrate the point by showing that objects with mass have to rest on something. Such a lesson would impress on your child that Jehovah had facts recorded in the Bible long before humans could prove them.—Neh. 9:6. w16.09 5:9, 12
Exercise faith in your heart.—Rom. 10:9.
Faith involves much more than a mental understanding of God’s purpose. It is a powerful motivating force that impels a person to act in harmony with God’s will. Faith in God’s means of salvation moves a believer to share the good news with others. Our prospect of enjoying eternal life in God’s new world depends on our having faith and keeping it strong. The need to keep our faith healthy can be likened to a plant’s need for water. Unlike an artificial plant, a living plant keeps changing. A live plant either withers because of a lack of water or continues to thrive with a regular supply of moisture. If deprived of sufficient water, a once healthy plant will eventually die. So, too, our faith. It will wither and die if neglected. (Luke 22:32; Heb. 3:12) But if we give it due attention, our faith will stay alive and keep “growing,” and we will be “healthy in faith.”—2 Thess. 1:3; Titus 2:2. w16.10 4:4, 5
The principal court official assigned names to them; he gave to Daniel the name Belteshazzar.—Dan. 1:7.
When Daniel and his companions were exiled, the Babylonians tried to assimilate them into their culture by teaching them “the language of the Chaldeans.” Moreover, the court official in charge of their training gave them Babylonian names. (Dan. 1:3-7) The name given to Daniel referred to Bel, the main divinity of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar likely wanted to impress Daniel with the idea that his God, Jehovah, had been subjected by Babylon’s god. (Dan. 4:8) Although Daniel was offered food to eat from the king’s delicacies, he “resolved in his heart” that he would not “defile himself.” (Dan. 1:8) Because he kept studying “the sacred books” in his mother tongue, he maintained his spiritual health while living in a foreign land. (Dan. 9:2, ftn.) Thus, some 70 years after his arrival in Babylon, he was still known by his Hebrew name.—Dan. 5:13. w16.10 2:7, 8
They would go where the spirit inclined them to go.—Ezek. 1:20.
Jesus has appointed the ‘faithful slave’ to be the only channel for dispensing spiritual food. (Matt. 24:45-47) Since 1919, the glorified Jesus Christ has been using that slave to help his followers understand God’s own Book and heed its directives. By obeying the instructions found in the Bible, we promote cleanness, peace, and unity in the congregation. Each one of us does well to ask himself, ‘Am I loyal to the channel that Jesus is using today?’ Jehovah’s written Word acquaints us with the heavenly part of his organization. For example, the prophet Ezekiel received a vision in which the heavenly part of God’s organization is represented by a celestial chariot. (Ezek. 1:4-28) With Christ and the holy angels about to destroy this wicked world, Jehovah’s chariot is rapidly moving toward the vindication of his sovereignty and the sanctification of his holy name! w16.11 3:9, 10
[Encourage] one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near.—Heb. 10:25.
Just like Jesus’ early followers, we meet together to learn and to be encouraged. (1 Cor. 14:31) Even experienced servants of God need encouragement. Consider Joshua. He had served God faithfully for many years. Yet, Jehovah told Moses to encourage him, saying: “Commission Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him, because he is the one who will cross over before this people and he is the one who will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.” (Deut. 3:27, 28) Joshua was about to take on the huge responsibility of leading the Israelites in the conquest of the Promised Land. He would face setbacks and at least one military defeat. (Josh. 7:1-9) No wonder Joshua needed to be encouraged and strengthened! So let us personally encourage elders, including circuit overseers, who work hard to care for the flock of God.—1 Thess. 5:12, 13. w16.11 1:12, 13
I will show you the judgment on the great prostitute who sits on many waters.—Rev. 17:1.
The Bible Students understood that it was not enough for them to inform relatives, close friends, and church members of their stand on false religion. The whole world needed to see Babylon the Great for what it is—a religious prostitute! Accordingly, between December 1917 and early 1918, the few thousand Bible Students zealously distributed 10,000,000 copies of a tract featuring the subject “The Fall of Babylon”—a hard-hitting indictment of Christendom. As you can imagine, the clergy were furious; but undeterred, the Bible Students kept right on with this important work. They were determined to obey “God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) What can we conclude? That far from becoming enslaved to Babylon the Great during the war, these Christian men and women were breaking free from its influence and were helping others to do so. w16.11 5:2, 4
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.—Rom. 8:5.
Some might imagine that this is a contrast between those who are not in the truth and those who are, between those who are not Christians and those who are. However, Paul was writing to “those who are in Rome as God’s beloved ones, called to be holy ones.” (Rom. 1:7) Thus, Paul was contrasting Christians who walked according to the flesh with Christians who walked according to the spirit. He linked “living according to the flesh” with “the sinful passions” that were then “at work in [their] bodies.” (Rom. 7:5) So when speaking of those who “set their minds on the things of the flesh,” Paul was referring to people who are ruled by or focused on their desires and leanings as imperfect humans. In the main, these are ones who follow their cravings, impulses, and passions, whether sexual or otherwise. w16.12 2:5, 7
Happy is the one whose transgression is pardoned.—Ps. 32:1.
Some anxiety may be caused by a person’s past actions or failings. At times, King David felt that his ‘errors loomed over his head.’ He admitted: “My anguished heart makes me groan aloud.” (Ps. 38:3, 4, 8, 18) In that situation, what was the wise thing for David to do? What did he do? He trusted in Jehovah’s mercy and forgiveness. (Ps. 32:2, 3, 5) At other times, you may become anxious about the present. For instance, when David wrote Psalm 55, he feared for his life. (Ps. 55:2-5) Nevertheless, he did not allow anxiety to destroy his confidence in Jehovah. David made his problems a subject of fervent prayer, but he also understood the value of taking practical steps to deal with the cause of the anxiety. (2 Sam. 15:30-34) Learn a lesson from David. Instead of allowing anxiety to overwhelm you, take what steps you can to deal with the situation and then confidently leave matters in Jehovah’s hands. w16.12 3:14, 15
I have sinned against Jehovah.—2 Sam. 12:13.
David accepted correction from Jehovah’s representative, the prophet Nathan. David also prayed to Jehovah, confessing his sins and expressing a sincere desire to be restored to Jehovah’s favor. (Ps. 51:1-17) Instead of being paralyzed by guilt, David learned from his mistakes. Indeed, he never repeated those serious sins. Years later, he died faithful, his record of integrity firmly sealed in Jehovah’s memory. (Heb. 11:32-34) What can we learn from David’s example? If we fall into serious sin, we need to repent sincerely and seek Jehovah’s forgiveness. We must confess our sins to him. (1 John 1:9) We also need to approach the elders, who can offer us spiritual help. (Jas. 5:14-16) By availing ourselves of Jehovah’s arrangements, we show that we trust in his promise to heal and forgive us. Thereafter, we do well to learn from our mistakes, move forward in our service to Jehovah, and look to the future with confidence.—Heb. 12:12, 13. w17.01 1:13, 14
Hold your servant back from presumptuous acts.—Ps. 19:13.
What are “presumptuous acts”? By definition, when someone rashly or impertinently does something that he is not authorized to do, he is acting presumptuously. Because of inherited sin, we all act presumptuously at times. But as King Saul’s example illustrates, if we develop a pattern of pushing ahead, sooner or later we will find ourselves in serious trouble with God. Psalm 119:21 says of Jehovah: “You rebuke the presumptuous.” Why is that? Presumptuous acts are more serious than innocent mistakes. First, when we act immodestly, we fail to honor Jehovah as our rightful Sovereign. Second, if we act beyond the scope of our authority, we are likely to get into conflict with others. (Prov. 13:10) And third, when it becomes clear that we have acted presumptuously, we may be embarrassed or even humiliated. (Luke 14:8, 9) Presumptuous acts do not turn out well. As the Scriptures show, modesty is always the right course. w17.01 3:4, 5
They are the ones who have acted corruptly. They are not his children, the defect is their own.—Deut. 32:5.
No longer perfect, Adam could not reflect God’s qualities perfectly. He not only lost a marvelous future for himself but also handed down to his children imperfection, sin, and death. (Rom. 5:12) He deprived his offspring of the prospect of life without end. Furthermore, Adam and Eve could no longer have a perfect child; neither could any of their children have a perfect child. After turning Adam and Eve away from God, Satan the Devil has continued to mislead mankind until today. (John 8:44) God’s love for humans, however, endures. Despite Adam and Eve’s rebellion, Jehovah wants mankind to enjoy a good relationship with him. He does not desire any to die. (2 Pet. 3:9) So right after the rebellion, God made arrangements to enable humans to restore their friendship with him while he at the same time maintained his own righteous standards.—John 3:16. w17.02 1:12-14
Wisdom belongs to those who seek advice.—Prov. 13:10.
Appreciation for our role in Jehovah’s service will grow as we, in imitation of our God, look for the good in others. Instead of seeking the spotlight or always stepping in to take over, we will more often find ourselves modestly seeking the advice of others and yielding to their suggestions. We will rejoice with them when they receive privileges. And we will praise Jehovah as we see how he blesses “the entire association of [our] brothers in the world.” (1 Pet. 5:9) Also, we will develop good judgment by modestly learning to see things from Jehovah’s viewpoint. Through regular study, prayer, and application of what we learn, we can gradually strengthen our conscience. (1 Tim. 1:5) We learn to put others first. If we do our part, Jehovah promises that he will ‘finish our training,’ helping us to develop modesty and other godly qualities.—1 Pet. 5:10. w17.01 4:17, 18
Let the elders who preside in a fine way be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching.—1 Tim. 5:17.
Those related to us in the faith certainly merit honor and respect. This is especially true of the elders who are taking the lead. We honor these brothers regardless of their nationality, education, social standing, or financial status. The Bible refers to them as “gifts in men,” and they are a key part of God’s arrangement to care for the needs of his people. (Eph. 4:8) Think of congregation elders, circuit overseers, Branch Committee members, and the members of the Governing Body. Our brothers and sisters in the first century had high regard for those appointed to take the lead, and we feel similarly today. We do not idolize well-known representatives of the Christian congregation or react in their presence as if angels were standing nearby. Still, we do respect and honor such brothers for their hard work and humility.—2 Cor. 1:24; Rev. 19:10. w17.03 1:13
Why do you call me good? Nobody is good except one, God.—Mark 10:18.
What a contrast existed between Jesus and Herod Agrippa I, who became king of Judea! At a diplomatic function, Herod clothed himself “with royal raiment.” His adoring crowd shouted: “A god’s voice, and not a man’s!” Herod evidently basked in the praise. But “instantly the angel of Jehovah struck him, because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten up with worms and died.” (Acts 12:21-23) Surely, no objective observer could conclude that Herod was chosen by Jehovah to be leader. Jesus, on the other hand, gave convincing evidence of being appointed by God, and he constantly glorified Jehovah as the Supreme Leader of his people. Jesus’ leadership was not meant to last only a few years. “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth,” he declared after his resurrection. “And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”—Matt. 28:18-20. w17.02 3:20, 21