Preserving Our Souls Alive by Faithfulness
“WHAT benefit will it be to a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul [life]? or what will a man give in exchange for his soul” or life? (Matt. 16:26) Why did Jesus ask these questions? To underscore the value of one’s soul or life. Without life we could enjoy nothing else; all material possessions would be useless. He who is wise, therefore, will not only recognize the truth of Jesus’ words but will act in harmony with them. He will be among those who “have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.”—Heb. 10:39.a
It would be impossible to be faithful, to be true and constant, without faith. Thus we find that the men listed at Hebrews chapter 11 as men of faith were also, one and all, faithful. In particular did such men as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua and David prove faithful over many, many years. Of course, the greatest example of all, the one who underwent the severest test as to faithfulness, was none other than Jesus Christ, “the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith,” who “for the joy that was set before him,” that of vindicating his Father’s name, “endured a torture stake, despising shame.” Fittingly he has received the title “Faithful and True.”—Heb. 12:2; Rev. 19:11.
Such examples of faith and faithfulness give us confidence that we too can have faith and keep faithful to the preserving alive of our souls. Not in our own strength or wisdom, but with the help of Jehovah God, who is faithful, even as the apostle Peter assures us: “Let those who are suffering in harmony with the will of God keep on commending their souls to a faithful Creator while they are doing good.” Jehovah’s promise to Joshua also applies to his servants today: “I shall neither desert you nor leave you entirely.”—1 Pet. 4:19; Josh. 1:5.
A first step toward proving unfaithful is one’s shrinking back. This shrinking back may begin very subtly, and therein lies the danger. We can start on the road leading to unfaithfulness and eventual destruction without hardly being aware of it. How so? Simply by slowing down or by refusing to make progress, by refusing to meet the challenge that new truths or added privileges of service or change in methods of work presents. This shrinking back may be due to laziness, because of the effort involved, or it may be due to materialism, because of the self-denial involved.
Preserving our souls alive by faithfulness is by no means a matter of following the lines of least resistance. On the contrary, we must fight the fine fight of faith and as fine soldiers endure the suffering of evil. And, as the facts already are indicating, we can expect our way to become ever more difficult until the final assault of Gog of Magog on the spiritually prosperous New World society. We must begin now to steel ourselves for what the future may bring.—1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 2:3.
However, for our faith to ensure our faithfulness it must be far more than merely a belief, a wish or a hope. It must be an “assured expectation of things hoped for.” That means being so sure of what we hope for that it spurs us to act in harmony with our hope. This faith is also said to be “the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” Our grasp of evidence giving reason for conviction is so strong that it is said to be faith. Such faith moves one to perform works of faith.—Heb. 11:1.
Of what do these works consist? On the one hand, they consist of right conduct, keeping strict watch that how you walk is as a wise person, so that instead of bringing forth the works of the flesh you will be bringing forth the fruitage of the spirit, “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” And on the other hand, these works consist of activity in fulfillment of the Christian’s preaching commission by your preaching the good news of God’s kingdom, buying out the opportune time to do so.—Gal. 5:22, 23; Eph. 5:15, 16.
During the month of July the Christian witnesses of Jehovah will have many opportunities to demonstrate their faith by faithfulness in their preaching commission, to the preserving alive of their souls. Among these will be offering Bible-study aids in preaching from house to house, even doing some of this witnessing in territories where there are no Witnesses organized into congregations. Also, for many in the United States and in Europe July will afford opportunity to attend the round-the-world convention of Jehovah’s witnesses before it moves on to the Orient. Will you be among those present?
a For details see The Watchtower, December 15, 1962.