Giving God’s Word First Place in Our Lives
“HOW can a young man keep his path pure? By heeding thy word. I find joy in thy statutes; I will not forget thy word.” (Ps. 119:9, 16, AT) To give God’s Word first place in our lives we must place it above the word of everybody else, above human philosophies, man-made religious traditions and the commands of men which run contrary to God’s will.* Only thus can we realize for ourselves God’s purpose in giving us His Word, which is to have it affect us powerfully for good, to help us to live up to our vows of dedication.
Some have difficulty in ascertaining God’s will for them in specific instances. Why? Because God’s Word was not written specifically for each individual. Usually the difficulty lies in that, while God’s Word marks out one course as being best, the individual wants to take another course because of some selfish reason. So he looks for some supernatural indication, as though God would indicate directly or by means of an angel what he is to do.
True, in times past God did give some of his servants special indications as to what was his will in certain cases, not for the benefit of the individual but for the sake of his people as a whole, and for the advancement of true worship in the earth. In strictly personal matters they still had to make their own decisions. Nor may we expect others to assume the responsibility by telling us what to do, so that we can blame them if the advice miscarries. No, God’s Word sets down the principles and it is up to each individual to apply them to his personal matters, doing so to the best of his ability and shouldering his own responsibility.—Gal. 6:5, NW.
However, in going to the Word of God for his will on matters we may not expect that solely by private study we shall be able to understand all that it teaches. Study as they may have, God’s servants could not understand the sacred secret of heavenly glory for Christians until God revealed it through his holy spirit. His spirit throws light on his Word.—1 Cor. 2:7-14.
To be properly guided by God’s Word we also need the help of his theocratic organization, for it was for its benefit primarily that God gave us his Word, and his holy spirit does not operate independently of his organization, no more than it did in the days of Jesus and his apostles. Were each one of us to determine individually what to teach and our manner and place of preaching, what confusion there would be! But we are told: “God is a God, not of disorder, but of peace.”—1 Cor. 14:33, 40, NW.
And as we plan our individual course of action in harmony with the principles laid down in his Word, and in line with God’s spirit and with theocratic organization instructions, we will at all times look to God for his blessing, appreciating that only “if Jehovah wills” can we do this or that. Then, if success attends our efforts we will thank God, appreciating that all good things come from him. And if we meet up with obstacles? Then, while not permitting these to discourage us, we will study the matter to see how far Satan is responsible and to what extent the blame lies with us.—1 Thess. 2:17, 18; Jas. 1:17; 4:13-17, NW.
By giving God’s Word first place in our lives we shall keep our path pure and it will lead us to eternal life in the new world.
For further consideration of this subject see The Watchtower, June 15, 1951.