Seeking Maturity in the New World Society
“Do your utmost to present yourself approved to God, a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.”—2 Tim. 2:15.
1, 2. (a) What should be a Christian’s desire in life, and what should he do to attain it? (b) What is involved, and what will result to the individual?
TO SEEK means application of effort to achieve an ultimate goal. On the part of a Christian minister, the objective is to receive Jehovah’s approval, and there is nothing else that compares with it. To assure success in this respect we are invited by God’s Word: “Do your utmost.” Of course, the development to maturity constitutes the avenue that must be traveled during our Christian life. Its value in contrast with other things in life was vividly portrayed in Paul’s words: “I do indeed also consider all things to be loss on account of the excelling value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” We should esteem just as highly the procuring of wisdom and maturity in our life course today.—Phil. 3:8.
2 Much is involved. Study; yes, a great deal of it, requiring time and mental effort. In fact, more than study is necessary, because the mature Christian minister desires to attain the stature of the “full-grown man,” having an overall comprehension so he will be able to convey valuable life-giving instruction to others. The greater the knowledge possessed, the greater will be the faith as well as the conviction and joy, and responsibility.
3. In a study course, what source of information should be deleted?
3 Study is work, and as physical exercise and labor develop the body, so does activity of the mind enlarge the mental faculties. Regularity of application is the most fruitful, following the routine of school-patterned education. Obviously, devoting of time is essential. In this curriculum the source of material is equally important. Recall the counsel: “Wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” After Paul had advised that Christians should do their utmost to serve Jehovah, he went on to admonish them to shun sources of information that violate what is righteous with things of this old world: “Shun empty speeches that violate what is holy; for they will advance to more and more ungodliness.” This is adequate reason to delete such information from one’s specific and guarded course, because one’s prime interest is concerning the source of eternal life and requirements for such life so it will be possible to handle “the word of the truth aright.”—1 Cor. 3:19; 2 Tim. 2:16, 15.
4. (a) What kind of information do we obtain from study? (b) Is study alone sufficient?
4 During an instruction period, knowledge and wisdom are built up in a way somewhat comparable to when a premedical student goes to college and learns the art of medicine through a thorough study course established on a methodical basis for steady advancement. Up to this point the acquisition of knowledge is of a theoretical pattern, largely from books and lectures, and must be followed by practical application before the individual becomes a practicing physician or surgeon. Just to finish a course would not in itself qualify him to be a doctor, because practical experience is still essential. So it is with a minister of Jehovah, since through His word he invites all to “become doers of the word, and not hearers only.”—Jas. 1:22.
5. Why will not study alone make one a minister?
5 While it is true that careful study and preparation are desirable for taking in good instructive material, good training is still a requisite, just as the intern does not perform an operation as soon as he receives his diploma. Rather, he would work with a mature doctor for a considerable length of time so as to learn to make application of this theoretical knowledge that he had acquired through earlier study. So it is with a minister. He receives training by accompanying mature ministers, and in that way makes progress, so he can become an efficient doer of the word. He will soon develop in his door-to-door ministry just like the first-century Christians did, and then he will be able to follow through and carry out the next aspect of the ministry, calling on people in their homes where interest has been found, and ultimately develop home Bible studies.
6. (a) How may one measure one’s own maturing progress? (b) What will the mature minister continue to do?
6 In his pursuit of maturity, the new minister should have good balance in his ministerial work. When such development has been gained, the individual does not stop at this point, because, as he matures to the extent that he can assist others, he will gladly share in the maturing process of others as well. He will be alert, then, examining his teaching ability in regard to the new person that he is assisting or training, to be assured that he is setting the proper example and gives adequate counsel to the other person so that, in turn, he can likewise gain maturity. It brings satisfaction and joy to one’s heart when he can help others and observe the molding of the new minister as clay in the potter’s hand. This genuinely mature minister and teacher, then, when he has attained that point, will go out of his way to assist new ones in field ministry, in study, in answering Bible questions, and every other way that he can that will be upbuilding. There is nothing so rewarding and gratifying as to observe the bond of love that develops between the one instructing and the one receiving such assistance. It is this closeness of brotherhood that has a ring of permanency in it.
MATURITY IN MEN
7. (a) What does the Bible have to say about maturity? (b) How will the “full-grown man” guard his conduct?
7 Cultivated maturity in Christian brothers or ministers is spoken of commendably in the Bible. “Let older [mature] men who preside in a fine way be reckoned worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching.” Truly, the full-grown man today is required to keep on speaking and preaching this good news of the Kingdom and to assist others who may be desirous of doing the same thing, because, when the man pays constant attention to himself and his ministry, it will be of great value to him. When the mature man’s conduct befits these thoughts expressed, he is handling the word of truth aright.—1 Tim. 5:17; 4:16; 2 Tim. 2:15.
8. What are some of the obligations of the Christian minister?
8 The Christian minister also has a responsibility assigned to him in caring for the spiritual welfare of perhaps his wife or other women of his household. Just as Christ Jesus looks after his body members, so the man must safeguard the woman who is one flesh with him, as well as the children of his household, and the Christian men and women in the congregation.
MATURITY IN WOMEN
9. What do Christian women recognize in the household?
9 Christian women or sisters must recognize their head so they can fully understand the position and course of conduct that results in maturity for them. The married women are admonished to love their husbands; this is a meritorious course.
10. What consideration was extended to Phoebe, and why?
10 The women in the early Christian congregation were given kind consideration and came in for commendation. One so noted was Phoebe, of whom the apostle Paul was very considerate. “I recommend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a minister of the congregation that is in Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the holy ones, and that you may assist her in any matter where she may need you, for she herself also proved to be a defender of many, yes, of me myself.” (Rom. 16:1, 2) These remarks show that Phoebe was a mature minister in the congregation, thoughtful of those around her and those who worked diligently in the service of Jehovah.
11. (a) What praiseworthy qualities do mature sisters possess? (b) Against what conduct did Paul give warning?
11 The four daughters of Philip, who were virgins, conducted themselves properly, having full appreciation of Jehovah’s Word, because it states that they prophesied or ministered. (Acts 21:9) Other praiseworthy qualities of a woman who manifests mature conduct are set forth by Paul in his first letter to Timothy, as those of a “wife of one husband, having a witness borne to her for fine works, if she reared children, if she entertained strangers, if she washed the feet of holy ones, if she relieved those in tribulation, if she diligently followed every good work.” Adhering to such fine principles, an elderly woman or widow, having lived her course of life in an approved manner, shows herself to be worthy of consideration. Qualities not commendable, but brought to our attention by the apostle Paul so as not to do them, are such as “being unoccupied, gadding about to the houses; yes, not only unoccupied, but also gossipers and meddlers in other people’s affairs, talking of things they ought not.”—1 Tim. 5:9-13.
12. What are some additional qualities of a mature woman?
12 Women whose course of conduct has been such as to receive Jehovah’s approval have been devoted to the pleasing of their household head; they have done good to their husbands, their families, and those around them. Among other things, a Christian wife is one that her husband can trust explicitly. She rewards him with good, she prepares food for her household, she takes care of the necessary household duties to see that everything is in order as a Christian home should be. One of the fine compliments paid to a Christian woman possessing these desirable qualities is found in the thirty-first chapter of Proverbs, Pr 31 verse 26: “Her mouth she has opened in wisdom, and the law of loving-kindness is upon her tongue.” This shows that maturity goes beyond her home duties in that she has acquired wisdom and knows Jehovah’s Word relative to her position in the congregation. She is a woman who ‘fears Jehovah and procures praise for herself.’ When she fears Jehovah she will not go contrary to what is required of a mature woman in God’s organization. She will be thought well of by those who know her and will be admired for her Christian personality and for carrying out ministerial duties too.
MATURITY IN YOUTH
13, 14. (a) What examples of good parental training do we have? (b) How should Christian children respond to instructions?
13 The young man Timothy was given excellent instruction by his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. Yet it was necessary for him, even when very young, to be willing to learn and accept instruction. This is commendable in young people today and brings approval. In this regard Paul spoke approvingly of Timothy, saying: “From infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15) The same humility and desire to be instructed are required on the part of young individuals as well as on the part of adults. Jesus said that all must be childlike in order to be taught. That means to be yielding before instruction. It is always pleasing to see children accept the counsel and instructions of their parents and allow themselves to be molded by good parental training, and even lend themselves to it of their own accord. They, too, can keep in mind the instruction that they should remember the Creator from the days of their youth. (Eccl. 12:1) Here again, in his very young years, our Lord Jesus Christ manifested a fine spirit, showing himself a proper example, when he was first of all concerned about his Father’s business, stating: “I must be in the house of my Father.”
14 While it is an obligation on the part of the parents to teach their children the truth of God’s Word and train them to be young ministers, it is also the duty of children to respond and accept the training of their parents, to move forward toward maturity, and not rebel.—Eph. 6:1-4; Col. 3:20, 21.
ALL CULTIVATE THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT
15. What qualities should a Christian minister develop?
15 Of cardinal importance to gaining maturity and spiritual well-being is the acquiring of the fruits of the spirit. Cultivating these fruits of the spirit, therefore, should be an integral part of our life as expressed in our daily conduct. What are these fruits or qualities? They are faith, virtue, self-control, endurance, godly devotion, brotherly affection, love. “For if these things exist in you and overflow, they will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful regarding the accurate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:5-8) Herein lies the complete outline of the progression to maturity that can be embodied in a Christian’s life, irrespective of age or sex. These beautiful garments of the heart and disposition of the individual are spoken of by the apostle Paul in this way: “Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely . . . clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” (Col. 3:12-14) Much more is embraced in these words than just the clothing we wear; it is the maturity of a true Christian that is developed. Herein are described the perfect qualities possessed by Christ Jesus and the spotless example that he set for us.
16. Is it sufficient for a Christian just to have a good disposition, or what more is necessary?
16 According to the standards of this world, an individual may have followed an exemplary course, equivalent to that of the young man that came to Jesus and that had kept all the Law, and who undoubtedly was looked to as an example by some, even being loved by our Lord Jesus Christ. “Jesus looked upon him and felt love for him and said to him: ‘One thing is missing about you: Go, sell what things you have and give to the poor, . . . and come be my follower.’ But he grew sad at the saying and went off grieved, for he was holding many possessions.” (Mark 10:21-23) What did he lack? That important uniting quality, love. The equivalent of keeping the Law or just listening to and believing the good word does not in itself bring Jehovah’s approval. More is needed! In the case of this rich man, what proved to be lacking in him was love, and he did not see the need to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
RESULTS OF STRIVING FOR MATURITY
17. What course must one pursue and to what must one be constantly alert? What will be the reward?
17 If we are constantly applying our minds and striving for the mature status, what will our aim or career be? The true, dedicated servant of Almighty God will with assuredness and emphasis say: THE MINISTRY. This course tolerates no variation, such as veering to the left or right, even temporarily. One must continue to move objectively forward. It leaves no room for slacking off or treating one’s dedication to God in a lackadaisical manner. One might say that the development of such an attitude is unthinkable! Some may reason, ‘That can never happen to me,’—that maturity just cannot be lost after one has spent so much time developing the attributes of a true Christian, filling one’s mind with the Word of Jehovah God. Rather than reasoning this way, we should be of the same mind as the apostle Paul when he stated: “I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on it; but there is one thing about it: . . . I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God.” We will fully appreciate that there is no such guarantee as ‘once saved, always saved,’ but our course will be marked by a continuous forward effort until the fulfillment of the Christian course, either in death for those of the little flock of God’s anointed remnant and then immortality in God’s heavenly kingdom, or the approval of the “other sheep” to life on earth after Armageddon.—Phil. 3:13, 14.
18. What lesson can we learn from Achan’s course?
18 In our confident, advancing course toward the stature of a full-grown man, we will remember the lesson set forth in the course of the Israelite nation, who were in covenant relationship with Jehovah. From time to time the nation of Israel deviated from a course of faithfulness and devotion to God to idolatry and covetousness, the desire for material gain. One individual who did this was the man Achan. In his longing for material gain and his resulting course of covetousness, he reached out for that which did not belong to him and actually took it, in fact, seized that which was forbidden. He appropriated to himself 200 shekels of silver and a gold bar weighing 50 shekels. The lure of these so overreached him that he sneakingly hid them in his tent. What a price he paid for this short-time possession of wealth! His wrongdoing was ferreted out by faithful Joshua, and then Achan and his entire family were, not only stoned to death, but burned with fire.—Josh. 7:16-26.
19. Does position alone in Jehovah’s organization assure approval?
19 We should ever keep in mind too that one of the kings of Israel at one time possessed great wisdom and had the unique privilege of building the temple of Jehovah. Even after all the wonderful blessings that Jehovah bestowed upon Solomon, he became selfish and deflected from the true worship of Jehovah to the extent that he served the gods of his foreign wives. Such a course could lead only to death. That was the adverse judgment of Jehovah against Solomon, who will have no future life. (1 Kings, chapter 11) This was true not only on the part of those under the Law covenant but we find, too, that it occurred in the days of the early Christian congregation.
20. What temptations must be guarded against? Cite examples.
20 There were those who undoubtedly were considered as mature Christians at one time in the days of the early Christian congregation and who then deviated, being overreached by other attractions. Because of reviling and digressing from the truth, Hymenaeus and Philetus, who were talking about the resurrection as having already occurred and thus subverting the faith of some, were disfellowshiped from the congregation because of taking a rebellious course. (2 Tim. 2:17-19) Materialism proved to be very attractive and subtle, and was a means by which one of Paul’s companions was overreached. He stated: “Demas has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things.” (2 Tim. 4:10) After forsaking the things of the world he was unwilling to keep separate from the world in loyal dedicated service to Almighty God.
21. (a) What happened to one of the apostles? (b) How does Peter refer to such a course?
21 Probably one of the most noteworthy manifestations of rebelliousness was on the part of the unfaithful apostle that betrayed Christ Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. (Matt. 26:15) Obviously the thinking on the part of Judas Iscariot as well as others like him indicates a total loss of maturity or disregard for it. Such traitorous action is despicable, considering that such ones had escaped defilement of the world and then became involved again. We need to be ever aware of the fact that such a course is worse than not to have known the truth, as Peter states: “It would have been better for them not to have accurately known the path of righteousness than after knowing it accurately to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. The saying of the true proverb has happened to them: ‘The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire.’” (2 Pet. 2:21, 22) The erring ones failed to be vigilantly on guard by being guided by accurate knowledge, so as not to be led away by the sin of law-defying people and thus fall from steadfastness.—2 Pet. 3:17.
22. Was digression or falling away peculiar to the early Christians only?
22 Those who are steadfastly striving for maturity realize that digression was not a condition peculiar to the early Christian congregation only, because in recent years we have witnessed the deflection of the “evil slave” class, besides the many others individually who have gone back to the old world by reason of selfishness, reviling, unwillingness to undergo persecution, return to a course of adultery, idolatry and many other subtle schemes promulgated by Satan, the god of this world.—Matt. 24:48-51.
23. (a) As good food is essential to good health, what does the mind require to mature? (b) What suggestion does the Society advertise?
23 Just as a regular daily diet of physical food is necessary to sustain the body, so must there be a steady and daily intake of God’s Word for the nurturing of the mind. Not merely reading, but study is essential, because it calls for diligent application of the mind with the thought of acquiring knowledge. When spiritual discernment is the individual’s objective, his efforts will be pointed toward God’s Word. It is recalled at Joshua 1:8 that it was a requirement to read the book of the law day and night, and that not idly, but with a definite purpose. It was to direct the reader so he could make his way successful and act wisely. Yes, a diligent study of the Bible daily is very important. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has written across its eight-and nine-story buildings (located in Brooklyn where most of the printing of Bibles and Bible-study aids by the Society is accomplished), in large bold letters so all passersby can readily see, the all-important words, “Read God’s Word the Bible Daily.” This is a directive for all people of the world; how much more so, then, for all Christians!
24. (a) What other provision does the Society use to assist people even though they “have their Bibles”? (b) How did Philip demonstrate his maturity when he met a searcher for truth?
24 The New World society has been using the printed page for many years in the publication of the Watchtower magazine as well as books and booklets for study aids to enhance the understanding of the Bible. Many people will retort, ‘Well, I have the Bible; I read it.’ But even though there are over a billion Bibles in the world, look at the deplorable conditions prevailing. This shows that more than just private Bible reading is essential. It is recalled that, during the days of the early Christian congregation, when a searcher for truth was found reading the scroll of Isaiah by a minister of God who came along, he asked him if he understood what he was reading. He responded: “Really, how could I ever do so [that is, understand], unless someone guided me?” Philip used this opportunity to assist this interested man by explaining the prophecy of Isaiah to him understandably, and then he was baptized. Here is a splendid illustration of how the maturity of Philip was displayed in presenting the prophecy in a comprehensive manner to this interested person. Philip did not have opportunity to study or to turn to references, but ably drew upon the fund of knowledge that he had already acquired an evidence of maturity.—Acts 8:30-39.
25. How did another mature minister assist a new believer?
25 Saul of Tarsus who later became Paul had to come in contact with a minister of Jehovah for instruction before he became full-grown in the ministry. It was recalled that he was directed to Damascus, where he was assisted and taught the fundamentals by Ananias. Ananias took advantage of the opportunity, demonstrating his maturity, in giving Paul proper tutelage on that occasion.—Acts 9:17-19.
MATURING WITH THE CONGREGATION
26. What provision of Jehovah do we have to sustain maturity?
26 Today there are more than 22,000 congregations of Jehovah’s ministers worldwide. These are provisions by Almighty God for sustaining the maturity of those who have already attained that position, as well as for nurturing others toward it. Like anything else, deriving benefit depends, not only upon the congregation, but upon the individual as well.
27, 28. (a) What advice has been given to Christians about the importance of attending congregational meetings? (b) What meeting arrangements has the New World society made, and for what purpose?
27 Believers even from the days of the early Christians, immediately, on the day of Pentecost, were informed: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized.” And with many other words Peter exhorted them, “and they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to sharing with one another, to taking of meals and to prayers.” The significance of meeting together was immediately emphasized. Of course, Paul, in writing to the Hebrews, complemented this when he admonished them: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.” At this time, over twenty-five years after Pentecost, some must have become negligent in attending meetings and were losing the maturity maintained by regularly meeting together. (Acts 2:38, 40, 42; Heb. 10:24, 25) What about Christian ministers living in the twentieth century, 1,900 years after this counsel was initially written? Are we negligent and do we show disregard for this Christian requirement of assembling together for spiritual sustenance?
28 Ample arrangements have been provided for us through the New World society. So the questions arise, Do we attend all the meetings, that is, the weekly Watchtower study, the greatest aid the Society has for helping believers in God’s Word? the weekly service meeting, where ministers receive practical training for their ministry? the weekly theocratic ministry school, where instruction in speaking and preparing sermons for teaching are stressed? the weekly book study, where one of the leading books of the Society on a Bible subject is utilized? and the weekly Sunday public meetings, where timely topics are discussed?
29. (a) Is dedication all that is necessary? (b) Of what value are the congregation and its meetings to Christians?
29 Unfortunately, some have taken the attitude, after dedication and after their having been baptized, that nothing more is required. Remember, dedication marks only the beginning. Are you under the impression that it is not necessary to attend meetings regularly? Such would indicate that you are of the opinion that the congregation is not necessarily the lifeline of a Christian. Rather than such a lackadaisical and immature attitude, why not ask the question, How can I attend every meeting? The congregation is truly the arrangement that Jehovah has established in order for each one to progress to maturity. Just consider how fundamentally appropriate it is to be present at these five one-hour meetings weekly. They keep Christian ministers alive to their relationship with Almighty God; up-to-date on fulfillment of prophecy, and alert to the ministry we share in regularly. Yes, each meeting attended makes a contribution to our maturity and may assist in adding to the stature of our brothers’ spiritual adulthood.
30. (a) What intimate privilege is helpful to maturity? (b) How is it thus helpful to acquiring maturity?
30 Opportunities present themselves for us to talk to God daily. Yes, we can commune with him regularly in prayer. In coming to Jehovah in prayer, to the one who is the Great King of eternity, we should be certain that our words indicate proper respect. Paul states that we should “persevere in prayer.” In this communion with God we think not only of ourselves but also of others. Indicative of this, we are also informed by Paul: “I continue mentioning you in my prayers,” and his thoughts in this respect were “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the accurate knowledge of him; the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he called you.” Here again we see the tying in of the spirit of wisdom with the acquisition of accurate knowledge. From this we see how urgent it is that we pay strict attention and listen when God talks to us through His Word. How thankful we should be to Jehovah that he has consented and invited us to pray to him. Without question, prayer is a channel through which to press on to maturity as well.—Rom. 12:12; Eph. 1:16-18.
OVERSEERSHIP, AN AWARD BESTOWED UPON MATURITY
31. What additional privileges of service may be the rewards for the mature minister?
31 As an individual acquires knowledge, dedicates his life, has close association with Jehovah’s organization and continues to mature, additional privileges await him. Of course, everything one does should be done whole-souled as to Jehovah and not to be seen of men. (Col. 3:23) Positions of oversight in a congregation are not given as an inducement for an individual to press on to maturity, but they, rather, are rewards for the mature one desiring to serve willingly and with lowliness of mind, humbling himself under the mighty hand of God. (1 Pet. 5:2, 5, 6) As a Christian minister continues to press on to becoming a “full-grown man,” he may become a minister who is appointed to teach a few Christians who meet in private homes. Herein lies a grand opportunity of assisting and training new ministers in the door-to-door service, conducting home Bible studies, as well as calling back on others with the good news of the Kingdom. Then one may be favored by an assignment as a ministerial servant in a congregation. Perhaps ultimately one may become the overseer or presiding minister over a congregation, assuming all the responsibilities that go with it and always trusting in Jehovah and recognizing that it is Jehovah’s congregation of sheeplike ones.
32, 33. (a) What special opportunities may be open for the maturing minister? (b) What will aid one to quality for these selective services?
32 Beyond this, one may have the opportunity of sharing in the full-time ministry; going where the “need is great” to serve, often under difficult circumstances, in aiding God’s other sheep. Perhaps one could serve as a circuit overseer where one visits a number of congregations, and then even a district overseer. In addition to all these privileges of ministerial service, others are available to one, such as missionary work, going into foreign territories, and even, perhaps, becoming a member of one of the main offices of supervision known as Bethel in whatever country one resides.
33 This might be termed a progression of cultivating and gaining maturity. Such a course is not easy and one cannot coast, nor is it a miraculous accomplishment. It is the result of constant application of the mind, studying, thinking, doing, preaching, manifesting the fruits of the spirit, and love toward others. It means constant giving, unselfishly. As one becomes mature one has the opportunity of carrying the burdens of others, which is a Christian responsibility and manifestation of love.—Gal. 6:2.
34. How did Paul demonstrate his maturity?
34 Certainly marvelous blessings accompany Christian maturity. Paul showed this when he progressed to the point where he could invite others to follow him as he followed Christ. Truly, he was a genuine full-grown man in the faith, and it was well stated by him with confidence when he was about to finish his course: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the due time for my releasing is imminent. I have fought the fine fight, I have run the course to the finish, I have observed the faith. From this time on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me as a reward in that day, yet not only to me, but also to all those who have loved his manifestation.”—2 Tim. 4:6-8; 1 Cor. 11:1.
35. How should we look upon the pursuit of maturity in the New World society?
35 Maturity must be the Christian goal for everyone, and it brings superb satisfaction and joy in the ministry. Strive for Christian maturity, because the greatest rejoicing emanates from the recognition of one’s close relationship with others and with Jehovah. With maturity we will always be conscious of Jehovah’s blessings. So, therefore, permit nothing to jeopardize the pursuit of becoming a “full-grown man” in Jehovah’s New World society. May our gaining maturity be with the objective of praising Jehovah and the great and sovereign name both by deed and by example, so others too can observe the fine course to follow that is illustrated in Paul’s well-chosen words to the Philippians: “Let us, then, as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude; and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above attitude to you. At any rate, to what extent we have made progress, let us go on walking orderly in this same routine.”—Phil. 3:15, 16.