No matter what you ask the Father in my name, he [will] give it to you.—John 15:16.
How strengthening this promise must have been for the apostles! Though they did not clearly grasp it, their Leader’s life on earth would soon end, but they would not be left without support. Jehovah was ready to answer their prayers for any help they needed to carry out the command to preach the Kingdom message. And indeed, shortly thereafter, they experienced how Jehovah answered their prayers for help. (Acts 4:29, 31) The same is true today. As we endure in bearing fruit, we enjoy Jesus’ friendship. Furthermore, we can be sure that Jehovah is ready to answer our prayers for help in overcoming obstacles that we may encounter as we preach the Kingdom good news. (Phil. 4:13) How grateful we are to be blessed with answered prayers and friendship with Jesus! These gifts from Jehovah strengthen us to keep on bearing fruit.—Jas. 1:17. w18.05 21 ¶17-18
Let us [encourage] one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near.—Heb. 10:24, 25.
Within just five years, Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem would see a “day of Jehovah” approaching and recognize the sign Jesus had given them to flee for their lives from that city. (Acts 2:19, 20; Luke 21:20-22) That day of Jehovah arrived in 70 C.E. when the Romans executed Jehovah’s judgment on Jerusalem. Today, we have every reason to believe that the “great and very awe-inspiring” day of Jehovah is near. (Joel 2:11) The prophet Zephaniah said: “The great day of Jehovah is near! It is near and it is approaching very quickly!” (Zeph. 1:14) That prophetic warning also applies to our time. In view of the proximity of Jehovah’s day, Paul tells us to “be concerned about one another so as to incite to love and fine works.” (Heb. 10:24, ftn.) We should, therefore, be increasingly interested in our brothers, so that we can encourage them whenever needed. w18.04 20 ¶1-2
Be courageous and strong. Do not be struck with terror or fear, for Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go.—Josh. 1:9.
What reassuring encouragement Jehovah gave Joshua before settling His people in the Promised Land! Not only did Jehovah encourage individuals but he also gave words of encouragement to his people as a group. In prophetic terms this would prove to be of comfort to the Jews held captive in Babylon, Jehovah stated: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be anxious, for I am your God. I will fortify you, yes, I will help you, I will really hold on to you with my right hand of righteousness.” (Isa. 41:10) The early Christians had the same assurance, and so do God’s people today. (2 Cor. 1:3, 4) Jesus himself received encouragement from his Father. At his baptism, Jesus heard a voice from heaven say: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” (Matt. 3:17) How those words must have strengthened Jesus throughout his earthly ministry! w18.04 16 ¶3-5
As for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it.—Gen. 2:17.
Upon reading Jehovah’s command to Adam, many today would say that Adam was denied the freedom to do what he wanted. In saying so, they are confusing the exercise of one’s free will with the right to decide what is good and what is bad. Adam and Eve did have the freedom to choose whether they would obey God or not. However, only Jehovah has the right to decide in the absolute sense what is good and what is bad, as symbolized by “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad” in the garden of Eden. (Gen. 2:9) By means of his command, Jehovah lovingly taught Adam and Eve the way to exercise true freedom. As it turned out, our first parents chose to disobey. Did Adam and Eve’s choice eventually enhance their freedom in any way? Sadly, it did not. In striving for self-determination, they lost the true freedom they had been given. w18.04 5-6 ¶9-12
During all their distress it was distressing to him.—Isa. 63:9.
Jehovah does more than just feel compassion for his servants who suffer. He takes action to help them. For example, when the Israelites were suffering as slaves in Egypt, Jehovah understood their pain and felt moved to relieve it. Jehovah said to Moses: “I have certainly seen the affliction of my people . . . , and I have heard their outcry . . . I well know the pains they suffer. I will go down to rescue them out of the hand of the Egyptians.” (Ex. 3:7, 8) Because Jehovah felt compassion for his people, he freed them from slavery. Centuries later, in the Promised Land, the Israelites faced enemy attacks. How did Jehovah respond? He “was moved to pity over their groaning caused by those who oppressed them and those who were treating them abusively.” Again, empathy moved Jehovah to help his people. He sent judges to save the Israelites from their enemies.—Judg. 2:16, 18. w19.03 15 ¶4-5
Can a woman forget her nursing child or have no compassion for the son of her womb? Even if these women forget, I would never forget you.—Isa. 49:15.
The first two of the Ten Commandments required that the Israelites devote themselves exclusively to Jehovah and warned against the worship of idols. (Ex. 20:3-6) Those commandments were not for Jehovah’s benefit. Rather, they were for the benefit of his people. When they worshipped the gods of other nations, they suffered. By contrast, Jehovah blessed his people when they were loyal to him and treated one another justly. (1 Ki. 10:4-9) Jehovah is not to blame when those who claim to serve him ignore his standards and harm his people. However, Jehovah loves us and knows when we suffer injustice. He feels our pain more keenly than a mother feels the suffering of her baby. Although he may not intervene immediately, in due time he will hold unrepentant wrongdoers to account for the way they have treated others. w19.02 22 ¶13-15
Let, not my will, but yours take place.—Luke 22:42.
In the weeks leading up to the Memorial, our meetings often focus on the example of Jesus and the humility he showed in giving his life as a ransom. We are moved to imitate his humble attitude and to do Jehovah’s will, even when it is difficult for us. We think about the courage he showed on the days before his death. He was fully aware that his enemies would soon humiliate, beat, and execute him. (Matt. 20:17-19) Still, he willingly faced death. When the time came, he said to his faithful apostles, who were with him in Gethsemane: “Get up, let us go. Look! My betrayer has drawn near.” (Matt. 26:36, 46) And when the armed mob came to arrest him, he stepped forward, identified himself, and ordered the soldiers to let his apostles go. (John 18:3-8) What outstanding courage Jesus displayed! Today, anointed Christians and those of the other sheep strive to imitate Jesus in showing courage. w19.01 27-28 ¶7-8
Seek meekness.—Zeph. 2:3.
Just as an artist combines a number of appealing colors to produce a painting, we must combine a number of appealing qualities to be meek. Prominent among those qualities are humility, submissiveness, mildness, and inner strength. Only humble people will submit to God’s will. Part of God’s will is that we be mild. (Matt. 5:5; Gal. 5:23) When we do God’s will, we make Satan furious. So even though we are humble and mild, many people who are part of Satan’s world hate us. (John 15:18, 19) As a result, we need inner strength to resist Satan. The opposite of a meek person is someone who is haughty, shows uncontrolled anger, and does not obey Jehovah. That describes Satan perfectly. No wonder he hates meek people! They expose the flaws in his personality. And even worse for Satan, they prove that he is a liar. Why? Because no matter what he says or does, he cannot stop meek people from serving Jehovah!—Job 2:3-5. w19.02 8-9 ¶3-5
Do not be anxious, for I am your God.—Isa. 41:10.
Jehovah knew that the inhabitants of Babylon would become afraid. Babylon would be attacked by the mighty armies of Medo-Persia. Jehovah would use this army to free his people from captivity to Babylon. (Isa. 41:2-4) When the Babylonians and people of other nations knew that their enemy was approaching, they tried to maintain their courage by saying to one another: “Be strong.” They also made more idol gods, hoping that these would protect them. (Isa. 41:5-7) Meanwhile, Jehovah calmed the hearts of the Jewish exiles by saying: “You, O Israel, [unlike your neighbors] are my servant . . . Do not be anxious, for I am your God.” (Isa. 41:8-10) Note that Jehovah said: “I am your God.” With those words, Jehovah reassured his loyal worshippers that he had not forgotten them and that they were still his people. He told them: “I will carry you . . . and rescue you.” Those reassuring words no doubt strengthened the Jewish exiles.—Isa. 46:3, 4. w19.01 4 ¶8
A voice came out of the heavens: “You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.”—Mark 1:11.
Mark 1:9-11 records the first of three occasions when Jehovah spoke from heaven. Jehovah said: “You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.” How it must have touched Jesus’ heart to hear his Father’s voice expressing love and reassurance to him! Jehovah’s words confirmed three important facts about Jesus. First, Jesus is his Son. Second, Jehovah loves his Son. And third, Jehovah has approved his Son. By saying “You are my Son,” Jehovah indicated that his beloved Son, Jesus, had entered into a new relationship with Him. While Jesus was in heaven, he was a spirit son of God. However, at his baptism, he was anointed by holy spirit. At that time, God indicated that Jesus as His anointed Son now had the hope of returning to heaven to become God’s appointed King and High Priest. (Luke 1:31-33; Heb. 1:8, 9; 2:17) So at Jesus’ baptism, his Father had good reason to say: “You are my Son.”—Luke 3:22. w19.03 8 ¶3-4
There is no wisdom . . . in opposition to Jehovah.—Prov. 21:30.
Bad advice has its roots very early in human history when Satan entered the scene. A presumptuous, self-appointed adviser, he told Eve that she and her husband would be happier if they chose their own course in life. (Gen. 3:1-6) Satan’s motives were selfish. He wanted Adam and Eve—and their future offspring—to submit to and worship him rather than worship Jehovah. But it was Jehovah who had given them everything they had—each other, their beautiful garden home, and their perfect bodies with the potential of living forever. Sadly, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, cutting themselves off from him. The results, as you know, were tragic. Like flowers cut from a plant, they slowly began to wither and die. Their children also suffered from the curse of sin. (Rom. 5:12) Even so, most people still choose not to submit to God. They want to live life their own way. (Eph. 2:1-3) The results clearly show the truthfulness of today’s text. w18.12 20 ¶3-4
We . . . speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit, as we explain spiritual matters with spiritual words.—1 Cor. 2:13.
The apostle Paul was an intelligent and learned man, knowing at least two languages. (Acts 5:34; 21:37, 39; 22:2, 3) Yet, when it came to matters of principle, he rejected worldly wisdom. Instead, he based his reasoning on the Scriptures. (Acts 17:2; 1 Cor. 2:6, 7) As a result, Paul enjoyed a successful ministry and anticipated an eternal reward. (2 Tim. 4:8) Certainly, God’s thinking is superior to that of today’s world. Living by his thoughts will bring us the greatest happiness and success. But Jehovah will not force his thinking on us. “The faithful and discreet slave” does not exercise control over the thoughts of individuals, and neither do the elders. (Matt. 24:45; 2 Cor. 1:24) Rather, each Christian has the personal responsibility to bring his or her thinking into harmony with God’s. w18.11 20-21 ¶12-13
Grief and sighing will flee away.—Isa. 35:10.
God foretold through Isaiah that after His people returned to their homeland, they would not have to struggle against harsh, dangerous elements; nor would they need to fear attacks from animals or beastlike men. Young and old would be safe. (Isa. 11:6-9; 35:5-10; 51:3) Isaiah also said that the whole earth—not just the nation of Israel—would “be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah further emphasized that the returnees would not be threatened by animals or humans. Their land would produce abundant fruit, made possible by an ample supply of water, even as the garden of Eden was well-watered. (Gen. 2:10-14; Jer. 31:12) Would that be the only fulfillment? There is no evidence that those returning from exile were miraculously cured. For example, the blind did not regain their sight. So God was indicating that literal healings would yet occur. w18.12 5 ¶11-12
Go on walking in the truth.—3 John 3.
Walking in the truth is an ongoing process, a path that we hope to follow throughout eternity. How can we strengthen our determination to go on walking in the truth? Continue to study the precious truths of God’s Word and meditate on them. Yes, buy truth by regularly setting aside time to feed on the precious truths of God’s Word. You will thus deepen your appreciation for the truth and strengthen your resolve never to sell it. In addition to buying truth, Proverbs 23:23 says that we should also buy “wisdom and discipline and understanding.” Knowledge alone is not enough. We must put the truth to work in our lives. With understanding, we discern the harmony of all of Jehovah’s sayings. Wisdom moves us to act on what we know. At times, the truth disciplines us, showing us where we need to make changes. May we always be responsive to such guidance. Its value is far more than silver.—Prov. 8:10. w18.11 9 ¶3; 11 ¶13-14
Buy truth and never sell it.—Prov. 23:23.
What is your most precious possession? Would you be willing to exchange it for something of lesser value? For Jehovah’s dedicated worshippers, the answers to these questions are simple. Our most precious possession is our relationship with Jehovah, and we would not trade it for anything. We also treasure Bible truth, which made cultivating that bond with our heavenly Father possible. (Col. 1:9, 10) Just think of all that our Grand Instructor teaches us in his Word, the Bible! He reveals the truth about his meaningful name and his appealing qualities. He informs us about the outstanding provision of the ransom, which he lovingly provided for us by means of his Son, Jesus. Jehovah also informs us about the Messianic Kingdom and the hope of the earthly Paradise. He teaches us how we should conduct ourselves. We treasure these truths because they enable us to draw close to our Creator. They give meaning to our life. w18.11 3 ¶1-2
Do not lie to one another.—Col. 3:9.
Deceitful people cannot keep anything secret from Jehovah, for “all things are naked and openly exposed” to him. (Heb. 4:13) As an example, Ananias and Sapphira schemed in their hearts to deceive the apostles. They sold some property but brought only part of the proceeds of the sale to the apostles. The couple wanted to make themselves look good in the congregation, appearing to be more generous with their donation than they really were. Yet, Jehovah could see what they had done, and he punished them accordingly. (Acts 5:1-10) How does Jehovah feel about lying? Satan as well as all unrepentant, malicious liars who imitate him are heading for “the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:10; 21:8; Ps. 5:6) We know that Jehovah “is not a mere man who tells lies.” In fact, “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Num. 23:19; Heb. 6:18) “Jehovah hates . . . a lying tongue.” (Prov. 6:16, 17) To have his approval, we must live by his standard of truthfulness. w18.10 8 ¶10-13
Ponder over these things.—1 Tim. 4:15.
Suppose your employer asked you to contribute funds for an upcoming celebration connected with false religion. What would you do? Rather than wait for these situations to arise, why not give thought now to Jehovah’s thinking on such matters? Then, should any of these situations occur, you will find it easier to do and say the right thing. Giving advance thought to the need to remain loyal can also prove helpful in the event of a medical emergency. While we are firmly resolved to avoid the transfusion of whole blood or any of its four major components, some procedures involving blood require making a personal decision based on Bible principles that indicate Jehovah’s thinking. (Acts 15:28, 29) Surely the best time to weigh such matters is not in a hospital, possibly when we are in pain and under pressure to make a quick decision. Now would be the time to do research, complete a legal medical document indicating your wishes, and speak with your doctor. w18.11 24 ¶5; 26 ¶15-16
The one listening to me will dwell in security.—Prov. 1:33.
Jehovah is a loving shepherd who tenderly embraces his people, protecting them from their enemies. How reassuring these truths are to us as we face the end of the present system of things! Jehovah will continue to care for his people during the fast-approaching great tribulation. (Rev. 7:9, 10) Hence, whether young or old, sound in body or disabled, God’s people will not panic or cower in fear during the tribulation. In fact, they will do the very opposite! They will bear in mind these words of Jesus Christ: “Stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your deliverance is getting near.” (Luke 21:28) They will maintain that confidence even in the face of the attack by Gog—a coalition of powerful nations. (Ezek. 38:2, 14-16) Why will God’s people remain confident? They know that Jehovah does not change. He will always prove to be a caring and considerate Savior.—Isa. 26:20. w18.09 26 ¶15-16
You became precious in my eyes, . . . and I have loved you.—Isa. 43:4.
How encouraging it must have been for faithful Israelites to hear Jehovah’s words above. As one of Jehovah’s servants, you too can be sure that Jehovah loves you most tenderly. God’s Word promises concerning those pursuing pure worship: “As a mighty One, he will save. He will exult over you with great joy.” (Zeph. 3:16, 17) No matter what trials his people may face, Jehovah promises to sustain and comfort them. “You will nurse and be carried on the hip, and you will be bounced on the knees. As a mother comforts her son, so I will keep comforting you.” (Isa. 66:12, 13) What a heartwarming scene—a loving mother carrying a baby on her hip or bouncing him on her knees! In this way Jehovah touchingly illustrates the intensity and tenderness of his love for true worshippers. Never doubt that you are personally very precious and dear to Jehovah.—Jer. 31:3. w18.09 13 ¶6-7
Who volunteers to come forward today with a gift in hand for Jehovah?—1 Chron. 29:5.
On various occasions in the history of ancient Israel, volunteers were needed. (Ex. 36:2; Neh. 11:2) Today, you also have many opportunities to volunteer your time, resources, and skills to help your brothers and sisters. And you will feel great joy and receive many blessings from making yourself available. Those who volunteer for theocratic projects often make new friends. Consider the example of Margie, a sister who has worked on Kingdom Hall construction projects for 18 years. Over the years, she has taken several younger sisters under her wing to give them training. She has found the experience to be an excellent way of encouraging one another spiritually. (Rom. 1:12) During trying periods of her life, Margie has received encouragement from those whose friendships she forged on construction projects. Have you ever volunteered for such a construction project? w18.08 25 ¶9, 11
Never let anyone look down on your youth. Instead, become an example to the faithful ones in speaking, in conduct, in love, in faith, in chasteness.—1 Tim. 4:12.
At the time that Paul wrote these words, Timothy may have been in his early 30’s. Yet, Paul had assigned him to care for weighty responsibilities. Regardless of the underlying reason for this counsel, the point is clear. We must not judge younger brothers simply based on their age. We do well to remember that even our Lord Jesus carried out his entire earthly ministry while he was in his early 30’s. We may be part of a culture that tends to look down on younger men. If so, elders in the congregation may hesitate to recommend qualified young brothers to serve as ministerial servants or elders. All elders do well to remember that the Scriptures do not give a minimum age for a man to be recommended as a ministerial servant or an elder.—1 Tim. 3:1-10, 12, 13; Titus 1:5-9. w18.08 11-12 ¶15-16
[Turn] away from . . . the falsely called “knowledge.”—1 Tim. 6:20.
To make good decisions, we need solid facts. Therefore, we need to be highly selective and to choose carefully what information we will read. (Phil. 4:8, 9) We should not waste our time viewing questionable Internet news sites or reading unsubstantiated reports circulated via e-mail. It is especially important to avoid websites promoted by apostates. Their whole purpose is to tear down God’s people and to distort the truth. Poor quality information will lead to poor decisions. Never underestimate the powerful effect that misleading information can have on your mind and heart. Consider what happened in Moses’ time when 10 of the 12 spies who were sent to explore the Promised Land brought back a bad report. (Num. 13:25-33) Their exaggerated and outrageous account completely disheartened Jehovah’s people. (Num. 14:1-4, 6-10) Instead of getting the facts and showing confidence in Jehovah, they chose to believe the bad report. w18.08 4 ¶4-5
Do not be misled. Bad associations spoil useful habits.—1 Cor. 15:33.
Most people have some good qualities, and many outside the congregation do not engage in blatant misconduct. If that is true of your acquaintances, can you assume that they are good associations? Ask yourself what effect their companionship will have on your relationship with Jehovah. Will they improve it? What is in their heart? For example, are their conversations almost exclusively about fashion, money, gadgets, entertainment, or other material pursuits? Does their speech often include disparaging comments about others or obscene jesting? Jesus aptly warned: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt. 12:34) If you realize that your associates pose a threat to your good standing with Jehovah, act decisively by limiting and if necessary ending such friendships.—Prov. 13:20. w18.07 19 ¶11
Moses was by far the meekest of all the men.—Num. 12:3.
When Moses was 80 years old, Jehovah assigned him to deliver Israel from bondage in Egypt. (Ex. 3:10) Several times, Moses tried to excuse himself. But Jehovah remained patient and even empowered Moses to perform miracles. (Ex. 4:2-9, 21) He could have frightened Moses into speedy submission. Instead, Jehovah was patient and kind, making an effort to reassure his modest and humble servant. Did this considerate approach work? Absolutely! Moses became an outstanding leader who tried to deal with others in the same mild and considerate way that Jehovah dealt with him. If you have a measure of authority, how important it is that you imitate Jehovah by being considerate, kind, and patient when dealing with those under your care! (Col. 3:19-21; 1 Pet. 5:1-3) When you strive to imitate Jehovah and the Greater Moses, Jesus Christ, you will be both approachable and refreshing to others.—Matt. 11:28, 29. w18.09 24-25 ¶7-10
How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!—Ps. 133:1.
Why not be resolved to have a positive influence, promoting unity among your brothers and sisters? If you are already doing so, that is commendable. Could you “widen out,” that is, do it to a greater extent and more consistently? (2 Cor. 6:11-13, ftn.) What about increasing your efforts to let the light of Bible truth shine in your neighborhood? Your kind words and deeds may well attract a neighbor to the truth. Ask yourself: ‘How do my neighbors view me? Do I keep my home and property tidy, thus reflecting well on the neighborhood? Do I take the initiative to be helpful to others?’ When you are in conversation with other Witnesses, why not draw them out on how their kindness and good conduct have affected relatives, neighbors, workmates, or schoolmates? It is quite likely that you will hear positive experiences.—Eph. 5:9. w18.06 24 ¶13-14
The hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he has offered a sacred service to God.—John 16:2.
That warning was true of those who murdered the disciple Stephen, and it has been true of others like them. (Acts 6:8, 12; 7:54-60) How ironic that in committing such evil crimes as murder, religious fanatics violate the very laws of the One whom they claim to worship! (Ex. 20:13) Clearly, their consciences are treacherous guides! How can we prevent our conscience from becoming ineffective? The laws and principles contained in God’s Word are “beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16) Therefore, by diligently studying the Bible, meditating on what it says, and applying it in our lives, we can train our conscience to be more sensitive to God’s thinking, and it can thus serve as a reliable guide. w18.06 16-17 ¶3-4
Accept . . . the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.—Eph. 6:17.
The sword used by Roman infantrymen at the time Paul wrote his letter was about 20 inches (50 cm) long and was designed for hand-to-hand combat. One reason that Roman soldiers were so effective is that they practiced with their weapons every day. Paul likens God’s Word to a sword that Jehovah has given us. But we must learn to use it skillfully when defending our beliefs—or when adjusting our own thinking. (2 Cor. 10:4, 5; 2 Tim. 2:15) There is no need to feel intimidated by Satan and the demons. They are formidable but not unbeatable. And they are mortal. Soon, during the Thousand Year Reign of Christ, they will be confined to a state of complete inactivity, after which they will be destroyed. (Rev. 20:1-3, 7-10) We know our enemy, his tactics, and his intentions. With Jehovah’s help, we can stand firm against him! w18.05 30 ¶15; 31 ¶19-21
The serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die.”—Gen. 3:4.
Adam no doubt knew that serpents cannot talk. So he may have surmised that a spirit creature had spoken with Eve through the serpent. (Gen. 3:1-6) Adam and Eve knew virtually nothing about this spirit. Even so, Adam made a conscious choice to turn his back on his loving heavenly Father and join this stranger in resisting God’s will. (1 Tim. 2:14) Immediately, Jehovah began to reveal information about this enemy who had corrupted Adam and Eve, promising that this wicked one would eventually be destroyed. But Jehovah also warned that for a time, the spirit creature who spoke through the serpent would have the power to oppose those who love God. (Gen. 3:15) In his wisdom, Jehovah has never told us the personal name of the angelic son who rebelled against him. And God chose not to reveal even the descriptive name of that enemy until some 2,500 years after the initial rebellion.—Job 1:6. w18.05 22 ¶1-2
These are the ones who . . . bear fruit with endurance.—Luke 8:15.
If you have ever felt discouraged when preaching in less responsive territories, you will relate to the apostle Paul. During his approximately 30-year-long ministry, he helped numerous individuals to become disciples of Christ. (Acts 14:21; 2 Cor. 3:2, 3) Still, he did not succeed in moving many Jews to become true worshippers. On the contrary, most rebuffed Paul, and some even persecuted him. (Acts 14:19; 17:1, 4, 5, 13) How did that adverse reaction from the Jews affect Paul? He freely admitted: “I am telling the truth in Christ . . . I have great grief and unceasing pain in my heart.” (Rom. 9:1-3) Why did Paul experience such feelings? His heart was in the preaching work. He preached to the Jews out of deep concern for them. So it pained Paul to see them reject God’s mercy. Like Paul, we preach to people out of heartfelt concern.—Matt. 22:39; 1 Cor. 11:1. w18.05 13 ¶4-5
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.—Prov. 12:25.
Paul showed that even one who has the responsibility of encouraging others needs to be built up himself. To Christians living in Rome, he wrote: “I am longing to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you for you to be made firm; or, rather, that we may have an interchange of encouragement by one another’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Rom. 1:11, 12) Yes, Paul, who gave outstanding encouragement to others, at times needed to be built up himself. (Rom. 15:30-32) Those who live a life of self-sacrifice should be commended. Brothers and sisters who remain single because they want to obey the admonition to marry “only in the Lord” make up another group that merits encouragement. (1 Cor. 7:39) Also, Christians who remain faithful through persecution or illness need to hear encouragement.—2 Thess. 1:3-5. w18.04 21 ¶3-5