Become Activated by the Spirit of Jehovah
1. What should thinking people of all mankind be interested in learning, and why?
FOR centuries men have struggled and died in an effort to bring permanent peace and happiness amid this war-torn world. Yet not a single organization has been able to achieve this coveted goal, with but one exception. That exception is the group known as Jehovah’s witnesses. Unity of thought and unity of action have also been greatly desired but not attained by any society of people except Jehovah’s witnesses. Happily living and working together in peace and unity, Jehovah’s witnesses have demonstrated a genuine love for one another regardless of their individual racial, national, social or religious extractions. This too is something long desired but never accomplished by any other group. Certainly, then, to learn how and by what power or force this one group has attained these most desirable conditions should be of the highest interest to thinking people of all mankind.
2. In observing Jehovah’s witnesses what do worldly leaders overlook?
2 So often religious leaders and others, while observing these accomplishments as well as the very rapid growth of Jehovah’s witnesses, fail to recognize by what power this is brought about. For example, one clergyman, John A. O’Brien, University of Notre Dame, declared: “The witnesses achieved a staggering 2,300 percent gain in 25 years, as compared with an average gain of 74 percent for 254 other churches. . . . If we Catholics averaged as many, we would have won for Christ not only the hundred million churchless people of America but those of the whole world as well.”—Extension, January, 1959; Our Sunday Visitor, December 16, 1956.
3. To what do God’s people attribute their great successes?
3 In all humility of mind and heart Jehovah’s witnesses (ask any one of them) quickly confess that with their own thinking ability and in their own strength they never could have won this commendable reputation. Only by looking to Jehovah the Almighty for the necessary strength, and by receiving it from this true Source of all dynamic energy and vigorous power, has it been possible to do what the above-quoted authority said “is without a parallel in modern history.” But how do these lowly Witnesses receive such divine assistance, strength and vitality?
4, 5. (a) Why is it important that one have a good heart? (b) How is a study of the Bible related to the receiving of strength from Jehovah?
4 Certain conditions must first be met in order to receive the strength of Jehovah; it does not come automatically. To start with, one must have a good heart. No one can have God’s spirit if the motives of his heart are selfish, if he seeks to exploit such spirit for commercial gain, or if he craves this spirit for the popularity it may personally bring him. (Acts 8:17-22) If one is proud or delights in acts of wickedness such a person cannot expect to receive spirit from this most holy Source. One must be humble and teachable.
5 Now with such a good heart condition one has the proper soil in which to plant accurate knowledge of Jehovah’s will and purpose as revealed in his Word the Holy Bible. (Luke 8:5-8, 15) Moses and Jesus both declared that bread alone is not sufficient for life; to have vitality and strength from God one must feed the heart and mind on His Word. In order for Joshua to be “courageous and very strong” Jehovah told him: “This book of the law should not depart from your mouth and you must in an undertone read in it day and night.” “The word of God,” the apostle Paul adds, “is alive and exerts power.” (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Josh. 1:7, 8; Heb. 4:12) This life-sustaining Word of God makes the believer strong in faith, hope and love, and “the greatest of these is love.” Thus equipped one is able to do mighty works and endure the tragedies of life. “Love never fails.” It “bears all things” and “endures all things.”—1 Cor. 13:7, 8, 13.
6, 7. What examples prove that association with Jehovah’s organization is essential to receiving his spirit?
6 From a study of God’s Word one appreciates that Jehovah does not dispense his dynamic energy through just any organization that chooses to label itself religious. Neither does God deal with individuals independently of his own wifely organization, the “mother” of all those dedicated to God. (Gal. 4:26) He has always had His channel of communication on earth through which his spirit operates. Remember how Miriam and Aaron tried to bypass this channel and almost lost their lives as a result? Only after Jesus had been baptized by Jehovah’s representative did he receive holy spirit and strength to enable him to do his powerful works. (Num. 12:1-16; Matt. 3:16; Acts 10:38) By and through this holy spirit Jesus aided those associated with him so they could understand the truth, and so they too could receive power to “cure sick people, raise up dead persons, make lepers clean, expel demons.” Thus is emphasized the importance of association with Jehovah’s organization.—Matt. 10:8; Luke 24:45; 1 Cor. 2:10.
7 As in the past, so also today Jehovah has his visible organization on earth and by means of it an understanding of His will unfolds. This organization is also needed to integrate the efforts of all Christians throughout the many nations so there is no duplication of effort or disunity of action. For these added reasons, then, association with this organization is essential if one hopes to receive Jehovah’s spirit.
8. What does Galatians 3:2 show is also necessary if one is to receive holy spirit from God?
8 But is this all? Is just the taking in of knowledge and association with Jehovah’s visible organization sufficient for receiving holy spirit from God? No, more is required. “This alone I want to learn from you: Did you receive the spirit due to works of law or due to obedient hearing by faith?” (Gal. 3:2) So there must be an “obedient hearing,” meaning a willingness to act upon what one hears. Not by dead works of the old law covenant, but by energetic activity stimulated by Christian faith, do we show Jehovah that we are worthy of having his spirit. So, as it was in the case of Jesus, we must dedicate our lives to Jehovah and be baptized to receive of his spirit.
9. Is it proper to beg Jehovah to activate us with his spirit?
9 At the same time that one is taking the above steps one must earnestly ask for Jehovah’s spirit. Do not keep silent; make your request known. In this regard the faithful believer is most fortunate, for through prayer he can communicate directly with his Creator, the true Source of all strength. Said Jesus: “For everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking it will be opened. . . . if you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will the Father in heaven give holy spirit to those asking him!” So do not hesitate to beg the heavenly Father for sufficient power and strength to do his will, for he is able to “do more than superabundantly beyond all the things we ask or conceive.” This is why Paul in seeking divine power for the early church did so through prayer. “I bend my knees to the Father,” he wrote, “to the end that he may grant you according to the riches of his glory to be made mighty in the man you are inside with power through his spirit.”—Luke 11:10-13; Eph. 3:20, 14, 16.
10. Does Jehovah pour out his spirit in abundance on both the “other sheep” and the “remnant”?
10 Since the majority of the readers of this magazine are of the “other sheep” class mentioned by Jesus (John 10:16), they will be particularly interested in knowing whether Jehovah gives strength to those of the “other sheep” class as he gives it to the anointed “remnant” of the body of Christ. Both classes, the “remnant” and the “other sheep,” face the same problems, do they not? Do not both classes have like responsibilities? Are not both partners in the same work under the same trying conditions? Both classes therefore have the same need for divine strength through holy spirit. It is unthinkable that the God of justice would handicap one class by withholding his spirit while at the same time giving it in abundance to the other class. Call to mind too how faithful men of old, although they were not of the anointed “church” class, nevertheless, were so filled with holy spirit that they were able to write inspired Scriptures. They were also able to pull down pagan temples, slay lions and bears, cure lepers, and even raise the dead. Likewise today those of the “other sheep” class are privileged to perform many powerful exploits with the help of Jehovah’s active force.
11. What factors, then, determine whether one is qualified to receive Jehovah’s spirit?
11 The factor, then, in determining whether one is qualified to receive holy spirit is not his destination, but, rather, his spiritual maturity and his mental attitude. One individual may be more willing to receive the spirit and follow its guidance than another who may be quenching the spirit by not walking wholly according to its direction. If a person goes contrary to this divine guidance it may be with him as it was with King Saul, concerning whom it is written: “And the very spirit of Jehovah departed from Saul.” What a terrible thing to happen to anyone, to lose Jehovah’s spirit! Saul, like Judas Iscariot, died a suicidal death. And it can happen to one whether of the anointed “remnant” or of the “other sheep” class if one is not careful.—1 Sam. 16:14.
MANIFESTATIONS OF JEHOVAH’S SPIRIT
12. What three aspects of electricity nicely illustrate the power of the holy spirit?
12 We cannot see energy itself; yet, when it is put to use, we can easily see the results it produces. When Jehovah’s dynamic energy, though invisible, activates humans, we can readily recognize its effects. In this respect holy spirit from Jehovah has been likened to electricity, which may serve for illumination, or as a means of communication, or as a powerful force accomplishing great amounts of work. We cannot tell whether a person is filled with holy spirit by merely looking at him any more than we can look at copper power lines and tell whether they are “alive” or not. By merely looking at a battery one cannot tell whether it is charged or not.
13. What evidence is there to prove that Jehovah’s spirit is a powerful instrument of enlightenment?
13 As electricity serves for illumination, so Jehovah’s spirit can give enlightenment and clarification of God’s Word in these dark times. (Ps. 119:105; Joel 2:28) That understanding and direction come only by holy spirit is evident when we observe the confusion and general lack of understanding and direction manifest in this world’s various religious organizations. They are blind to the fact that God’s kingdom is the only hope for mankind. They cannot see that the King of that kingdom has been installed in office and is now reigning in the heavens. They do not see the rapid approach of destruction of the present Devil-ruled system of things. They do not see that the promised literal paradise is very near at hand. They are altogether blind to such heart-cheering truths, for only by Jehovah’s spirit are they revealed.—1 Cor. 2:9, 10.
14. In the universal and strenuous warfare in which Christians are engaged, what function does the holy spirit perform?
14 Were it not for complicated electrical communication systems it would be impossible for commanding officers to maneuver great armies on a global scale. Similarly in the warfare in which Christians the earth around are now deployed. Were it not for Jehovah’s spirit there would not be the continuous flow of instructions, nor would there be sufficient strength for the fierce hand-to-hand battles with the enemies.—2 Cor. 10:4-6; Eph. 6:11, 12.
15. What feats of strength were Noah, Samson and others able to accomplish when energized with Jehovah’s spirit?
15 Huge machines driven by electricity produce what man in himself is not able to accomplish. In like manner Jehovah’s power can activate men to do what they could not otherwise perform. Under the guidance of God’s spirit Noah and his sons, even though they were not shipbuilders by trade or training, were most successful in constructing a huge storm-proof shelter. Later, when it came time to build a sacred tabernacle in a wilderness, we read: “See, Jehovah has called by name Bezʹal·el the son of Uʹri the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. And he proceeded to fill him with the spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in every sort of craftsmanship and for designing devices, for working in gold and silver and copper, and in working of stones to set them and in working of wood to make ingenious products of every sort “ It was this same spirit of Jehovah that enabled an otherwise normal man named Samson to perform supernatural feats of strength.—Ex. 35:30-33; Judg. 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14.
16. What part did Jehovah’s spirit play in the recording of Bible prophecy?
16 How were Bible writers able to record prophecy without a flaw of inaccuracy? The apostle Peter answers, saying: “For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” Without this guiding force from Jehovah it would have been utterly impossible for Daniel to foretell 2,500 years in advance events in this twentieth century, but when borne along by divine power of foresight this prophet of Jehovah described the “cold war” now being waged between the Eastern and Western blocs of nations with as much realism as the headlines of our daily newspapers.—2 Pet. 1:21.
17. In the days of Jesus and the apostles how was Jehovah’s dynamic energy miraculously displayed?
17 If Jesus and the apostles were to prove the divine origin of Christianity they would have to demonstrate supernatural powers, and this they did. Concerning Jesus the historical record says: “Then great crowds approached him, having along with them people that were lame, crippled, blind, dumb, and many otherwise, and they fairly threw them at his feet, and he cured them; so that the crowd felt amazement as they saw the dumb speaking and the lame walking and the blind seeing, and they glorified the God of Israel.” (Matt. 15:30, 31) What a wonderful display of Jehovah’s dynamic energy! This same divine power was also conferred upon the apostles. “He [Jesus] summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, in order to expel these and to cure every kind of disease and every kind of ailment. These twelve Jesus sent forth, giving them these orders: . . . ‘Cure sick people, raise up dead persons, make lepers clean, expel demons. You received free, give free.’” Later on, at Pentecost, we read: “They all became filled with holy spirit and started to speak with different tongues, just as the spirit was granting them to make utterance.”—Matt. 10:1, 5, 8; Acts 2:4.
18. Through Jehovah’s guiding spirit what are some of the things his people have accomplished during modern times?
18 Having accomplished the purpose of firmly establishing Christianity as from God, the imparting of miraculous gifts of the spirit for the physical curing of the people ceased with the death of the apostles, but Jehovah’s holy spirit as a helper for his people has continued down to this day. Those who have been associated for many years with the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses are well aware of the operation of this spirit of God, for of a truth it has been the stimulating and driving force behind their work. No man or body of men can be given credit for the unified preaching work of Jehovah’s witnesses on a global scale in 179 lands and territories. No humans can be credited with the marvelous flow of Bible truths. Decisions regarding theocratic organization, the operating of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, the Kingdom Ministry School arrangement, the establishing and enlarging of printing plants in many parts of the world—all these things and many, many more have certainly not been accomplished solely through the thinking ability and foresight of human creatures. The great legal victories that have become so numerous and that have defended and legally established true worship in the earth are really Jehovah’s victories. His spirit has directed all this work, including the singular stand of his people against entrenched blood transfusers. Surely without God’s guiding spirit it would be impossible to breast the rushing tide of ridicule, scorn and unfavorable “advice” of sincere relatives and respected professionals. No, such an adamant stand for the sacredness of blood is not due to mere human reasoning and leadership. All praise and credit goes to Jehovah’s guiding spirit.
19. What does it mean to sin against God’s spirit, and why is this so dangerous?
19 Other manifestations of holy spirit from Jehovah involve the disfellowshiping and executing of criminals, as, for example, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, Achan, Judas Iscariot, Ananias and Sapphira. In the case of the latter two the Bible says they ‘played false’ to the holy spirit of God. Great care should therefore be taken to see we never sin against God’s spirit. In Jesus’ day the Pharisees did just that by rejecting the divine miracles, thereby rejecting the open manifestation of the spirit’s operation. Instead, one should gladly submit to, not oppose or resist, its direction and counsel. Never hinder or limit the spirit by working against its operation or by living contrary to its instructions.—Num. 16:1-35; Josh. 7:1-26; Matt. 27:3-10; Acts 5:3.
20. Where does one find the fruitage of Jehovah’s spirit and why there?
20 “The fruitage of the spirit,” says Galatians 5:22, 23, “is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” Where does one find such delightful fruit today? Among the many branches of societies of this world? Of course not! There one finds very rotten fruitage—hatreds, wars, prejudices, lying, stealing, immorality, and so forth. In contrast, one finds only the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses producing the beautiful fruitage of Jehovah’s spirit. This is no secret. Worldly observers see this open manifestation of the holy spirit; yet, strange as it may seem, they are not moved to become a part of this unified, happy organization. Some who have been astounded at the peace, harmony and unity of Jehovah’s visible organization have actually fought against what they see and marvel at and what only Jehovah’s dynamic energy could have produced. They fall into the same category as the hypocritical Pharisees, sinning against God’s spirit, and this is an unforgivable sin.—Matt. 12:32; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26.
COMMUNISM CONQUERED IN THE STRENGTH OF JEHOVAH
21, 22. From where do Jehovah’s witnesses receive the necessary strength to withstand Communist persecution, and with what results?
21 Another evidence of God’s spirit activating his people is the way they have been able to withstand the sustained persecution of totalitarian governments. In the words of the psalmist these persecuted witnesses of Jehovah sing: “God is for us a refuge and strength, a help that is readily to be found during distresses. That is why we shall not fear though the earth undergo change and though the mountains totter into the heart of the vast sea; though its waters be boisterous, foam over, though the mountains rock at its uproar.”—Ps. 46:1-3.
22 In this warfare against godless totalitarian elements Jehovah’s people continually draw on the heavenly Source of their strength, saying: “The true God is the One girding me closely with vital energy . . . you will gird me with vital energy for warfare.” (Ps. 18:32, 39; 2 Sam. 22:2, 3, 40) Thus equipped, Jehovah’s witnesses behind the Iron Curtain, although cut off from contact with their brothers in other parts of the world, nonetheless prove themselves far superior in endurance, vitality and dynamic drive than their brutal tormentors. Their God-given work continues to grow and prosper, to the utter dismay and consternation of tyrannical dictators.
23. Now, after a careful consideration of Jehovah’s faithful witnesses, what conclusion are thinking people bound to reach?
23 You thinking people of all mankind, look closely at Jehovah’s witnesses. Observe how they have broken down all national, racial, social and religious barriers which divide. Note their oneness and unity in activity and form of worship. See how they are viciously opposed by the entire world, yet how they continue to maintain their integrity under trial. Look at their organizational prosperity and expansion in numbers. Observe their consuming zeal and love for Jehovah’s kingdom of righteousness. Consider all this carefully and you are bound to know for a certainty that a powerful invisible force, yes, Jehovah’s holy spirit, is activating this people. It is a demonstration of “the oneness of the spirit” on a grand global scale!—Eph. 4:3.
24. (a) If not by military force or human power, from where does the Christian’s strength come? (b) For what surpassing reason must God’s ministers depend on the strength that Jehovah supplies?
24 Now, all of this is just as Jehovah long ago said it would be: “Not by a military force, nor by power, but by my spirit, Jehovah of armies has said.” This is why the apostle Paul attributed his own strength to Jehovah’s power, saying: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.” So never let a servant of Jehovah trust in his own strength or the power of other men, but, instead, “if anyone ministers, let him minister as dependent on the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified.”—Zech. 4:6; Phil. 4:13; 1 Pet. 4:11.
25. What grand blessings do all those activated by the spirit of Jehovah now enjoy to the full?
25 Because his dedicated ministers do all things that Jehovah may be praised and glorified, he, in turn, bestows upon them many blessings. Joy and happiness are among these blessings. Even though “you accepted the word under much tribulation,” you did so “with joy of holy spirit,” the Scriptures say. (1 Thess. 1:6) Furthermore, the promise is: “Happy are the men whose strength is in you . . . They will walk on from vital energy to vital energy.” This joy and happiness is not a superficial mirth inspired by the world’s “funny men.” Rather, it is a genuine, deep, inward feeling of satisfaction and contentment enjoyed even if tears from physical pain are streaming down the cheeks because of being unmercifully beaten in a soundproof vault in a musty prison. It is the happiness that comes to those making Jehovah’s heart happy, to those sharing in the vindication of his great Name and Holy Word.—Ps. 84:5, 7; Prov. 27:11.
“And in the last days,” God says, “I shall pour some of my spirit out upon every kind of flesh.”—Acts 2:17