Remember Your Creator by Manifesting Goodness
“Remember, now your grand Creator.”—Eccl. 12:1.
1, 2. (a) From what is Ecclesiastes 12:1 quoted? (b) What is the Bible? (c) Is everyone familiar with the Bible? (d) Is it of concern to you?
DO YOU recognize that the quotation above is from the holy book of the Christian religion? Are you familiar with that book? In some parts of the earth where The Watchtower is read persons do not profess to be Christians and are not familiar with it. It may be that you live where the Christian religion is claimed by many people, but still have not been particularly concerned about this religious book called the Bible. Or perhaps you know and love the Bible. Wherever you may live or whatever is your religious understanding, the subject that we want to discuss, that of remembering your grand Creator by manifesting goodness, is one with which you are concerned. The Scripture text above is religious counsel to all who have physical, mental and spiritual powers sufficient to enable them to remember their Creator, who is grand indeed.
2 The Watchtower recognizes that in all parts of the earth there are persons who feel that they are not religious, or, though religious, are not Christians. Nevertheless, there are expressions made in the Holy Scriptures that embrace you, whoever you are, of whatever religion you are, wherever you live upon earth, whether you are particularly religious or not. You are included because
THE HOLY BIBLE ADVISES EVERYONE TO PRAISE THE CREATOR, JEHOVAH GOD
3. Who should give heed to Bible counsel?
3 Many statements in the Bible show that persons of all ages, both men and women, of all nationalities, of all races and of all stations in life are included in its wholesome, upbuilding counsel. Can you find yourself in the text of Scripture that we here quote? You are there:
4. (a) As expressed in Psalm 148, what and who are to praise the Creator? (b) Who is the Creator?
4 “Praise Jah, you people!” The name Jah is an abbreviated form of the name Jehovah. Jehovah is the personal name of God, the Creator. “Praise Jehovah from the heavens, praise him in the heights. Praise him, all you his angels. Praise him, all you his army. Praise him, you sun and moon. Praise him, all you stars of light. Praise him, you heavens of the heavens, and you waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of Jehovah; for he himself commanded, and they were created. . . . [Praise Jehovah] you kings of the earth and all you national groups, you princes and all you judges of the earth, you young men and also you virgins, you old men together with boys. Let them praise the name of Jehovah, for his name alone is unreachably high. . . . Praise Jah, you people!”—Ps. 148:1-5, 11-14.
5. Are you excluded or included?
5 So the Bible does here include you when it includes all mankind in its invitation and counsel to praise Jehovah, the Creator!
JEHOVAH THE CREATOR IS THE SOURCE OF SPIRIT AND LIGHT
6. Explain how Jehovah is the source of (a) holy spirit, (b) light, (c) the light of truth.
6 Jehovah the Creator has power. His power operates through his spirit or active force. One of the Bible references to this is found in the very first verses of the Holy Scriptures: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep; and God’s active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters. And God proceeded to say: ‘Let light come to be.’ Then there came to be light. After that God saw that the light was good, and God brought about a division between the light and the darkness.” Inasmuch as his spirit is from him, he is its source and also he is the source of physical light, as stated at Genesis 1:1-4. Also, the light of understanding and comprehension is from Jehovah God. This is pointed out most interestingly in 2 Corinthians 4:6: “For God is he who said: ‘Let the light shine out of darkness,’ and he has shone on our hearts to illuminate them with the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ.” God the Creator is the source of the light of illumination of truth.
7. By what means are Christians enlightened?
7 Through God’s spirit Christians receive the light of understanding of the truth of his Word. “For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit . . . no one has come to know the things of God, except the spirit of God. Now we received . . . the spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God.” (1 Cor. 2:10-12) In the first four 1 Co chapters 1-4 of this Bible book much is said about the operation of God’s spirit on persons who are Christians. These and other Scripture passages show that Jehovah God is the source of spirit and the source of light.
RESULTS ARE PRODUCED BY SPIRIT AND LIGHT
8. (a) Why should we remember Jehovah? (b) How may we do so? (c) In what do God’s spirit and light result?
8 In providing his Bible Jehovah has given to mankind his written Word and he also makes the understanding of it possible. His Word calls upon all persons to praise him and shows that as the grand Creator he is worthy of such praise. How could we forget him? He has made all we have and has enabled us to have life itself. Then should we remember him? Yes. How? One way that we can remember him is by manifesting qualities that he approves and that bring praise to him. Even as the operation of God’s laws concerning growth and production gives rise to fruit or fruitage, so the result of the operation of the light and spirit from Jehovah God upon the hearts and minds of those who love him is spoken of in his Word as fruitage. Notice two of these references.
9. (a) What kind of fruit is goodness? (b) Does God’s spirit produce bad fruits? (c) What follows in regard to a person’s fruitage?
9 “The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22, 23) In this fifth chapter of Galatians strong contrast is made between things that are good and things that are not good. The spirit of the Creator does not produce things that are bad. God’s creation was found by him to be good, not bad. (Gen. 1:12, 18, 25, 31) He is good, not bad. (Ps. 25:7, 8) This means that persons who would be in harmony with Jehovah God must produce good things, the things that are shown to be the fruitage of God’s spirit.
10. Explain how it is that the fruitage of Jehovah’s spirit may be produced in men and women.
10 In what way are they the fruitage of God’s spirit when they are produced in men and women? In that persons who love righteousness do those good things because they have his spirit and wish to be in harmony with God. Their love for Jehovah and for the high standards of his Word the Bible impels them to conform to his requirements, and in this way they are led by God’s Word and spirit.
11. As to Galatians 5:22, what particularly claims our interest now?
11 You will notice that in the quotation from Galatians 5:22, 23 one of the specific things mentioned as being part of the fruitage of the spirit is “goodness.” It is particularly the manifestation of this quality of goodness that claims our interest here.
12. As to the light of truth from Jehovah, what result is to be found?
12 As to the fruitage of the light: “The fruitage of the light consists of every sort of goodness and righteousness and truth. Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord; and quit sharing with them in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness, but, rather, even be reproving them, for the things that take place in secret by them it is shameful even to relate.” “Therefore do not become partakers with them; for you were once darkness, but you are now light in connection with the Lord. Go on walking as children of light.” (Eph. 5:9-12, 7, 8) Our interest centers again upon “goodness” as fruitage of the light of truth, as well as of the spirit of God.
13. (a) What follows as to persons who have received of God’s truth and spirit? (b) What wonderful opportunity do you have?
13 Inasmuch as the fruitage of goodness is the result of God’s spirit and truth, this goodness must be apparent in those who have his spirit and truth and would praise Jehovah the Creator. If this goodness is not apparent, the Creator is not remembered but is disregarded, forgotten or pushed into the background. The very fact of your existence as a member of humankind brings to you the opportunity to praise and worship the Creator, Jehovah, who reveals himself in his Holy Word, the Bible. What a wonderful and blessed opportunity is afforded, not only to have life, but to make this life worth while by remembering your Creator, manifesting goodness, winning his goodwill and with this the assurance of everlasting life! The Creator’s purpose is for those who receive his approval to have everlasting life in his righteous new system of things.
14, 15. (a) In contrasting and comparing good with bad, how do some persons reason? (b) What is the correct reasoning on the matter as to benefits desired? (c) as to time involved?
14 In our respective languages, whatever they may be, we contrast good with bad. The Bible makes the same contrast. But someone may say in effect, “I do not see value in doing what is good. I see those who do bad prospering. I do not see those who do bad punished. I see those who do good suffering and I see that those who do bad take advantage of those who try to do good. Therefore, why should I do good?” People do reason along this line and sometimes they become quite bitter of heart. Jehovah God is aware of this and his Word recognizes it. Being blessed for producing the fruit of goodness is not a matter of being benefited or favored by other men. The blessing and favor to be sought are those from God himself and this in his own due time. Time must pass. If there were no time allowed for us to manifest goodness, how could we manifest this desirable quality? So at a time when you may see that good conduct is not popular and perhaps not materially profitable, that is the very time for you to manifest goodness and thereby demonstrate that, regardless of what other persons do or do not do, you love and remember your grand Creator. How helpful this scripture is:
15 “Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad. Although a sinner may be doing bad a hundred times and continuing a long time as he pleases, yet I am also aware that it will turn out well with those fearing the true God, because they were in fear of him. But it will not turn out well at all with the wicked one, neither will he prolong his days that are like a shadow, because he is not in fear of God.”—Eccl. 8:11-13.
16. In view of what the Bible teaches, what must we conclude?
16 So the delay of the execution of sentence against the bad work should not discourage us from doing good.
17. How are we assisted to produce good fruit by having in mind the time in which we are living?
17 Also have in mind the time in which we are living. These days are difficult times of violence, lawlessness, selfishness, and days when the works spoken of in 2 Timothy 3:1-3 are manifest. “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be . . . without love of goodness.” So if you see that men are without love of goodness this is no reason for you to exercise badness but is more impelling reason for you to produce the fruit of goodness.
18. Both Christians and non-Christians may be informed as to what?
18 In the further consideration of this subject you will be assisted by viewing it from the standpoint of what an individual Christian should do as set out in the Bible. Whether you profess to be Christian or do not profess to be Christian, you can see what the Bible designates as the real Christian course.
THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD THINGS TO DO
19. What definitions show that there are many good things to do?
19 There are many things that are right and good in conduct that individual Christians must do day by day. These things result in the fruit of goodness. Goodness, basically, is that which is fitting. “It is good to make melody to our God . . . praise is fitting.” (Ps. 147:1) Goodness is that which is fitting and suitable for the servants of the Creator by God’s standards. Things that are good work to a good end, a proper, suitable end. God’s Word shows a Christian what things are good and of what goodness consists. Deuteronomy 12:28 states: “Do what is good and right in the eyes of Jehovah.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (English language) defines “good” in English as basically meaning “uniting, fitting, becoming, appropriate,” and “goodness” as “moral excellence”; but in the Bible Greek, “capable; serviceable; of good morals.” In Bible Hebrew, “good (in every variety of meaning), pleasant, useful, efficient, beautiful, right, morally good.” Certainly there are many things for Christians to do that meet these definitions.—Jas. 3:17, 18.
HOW MAY WE DETERMINE IF A THING IS GOOD?
20. (a) How may we determine if a thing is good? (b) What knowledge equips one to so determine?
20 That is a good question (a suitable one). How may we determine if a course of action or something we say or advocate or support is good? How may we know if we are manifesting goodness and not manifesting badness? One way is to ask ourselves some questions concerning that which we are doing or contemplating. We can ask: Is it suitable for a real Christian? Is it out of place? Would the Creator approve of it? Real Christians know if a thing is suitable to their profession of following Christ Jesus. The Christian apostle Paul told other Christians: “I myself also am persuaded about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are also full of goodness, as you have been filled with all knowledge, and that you can also admonish one another.” (Rom. 15:14) Being filled with goodness and the knowledge of God’s Word and requirements, a Christian is equipped to determine if a thing is good or bad and if his course of action will produce the fruitage of the spirit and light, which is goodness. Let us mention specifically some of the things to which a real Christian must give thoughtful consideration. First, how it will affect
21. How is Jehovah’s worship involved in our determination?
21 JEHOVAH. Will Jehovah be pleased or displeased? Is the course of conduct, act or statement to Jehovah’s praise, in harmony with God, who is good and upright? If it is not, how can it be good and suitable? What moral excellence is there in that which is not in accord with the will of God? Jehovah’s worship is involved in what Christians do and say. “Quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2) Also, how it does affect
22. (a) Christians have what work to do? (b) How is it involved in our determination?
22 KINGDOM INTERESTS. Christians are entrusted with the service of the interests of the kingdom of Jehovah God by Christ Jesus. Their work in faithfully looking after these interests is centered around the prophetic command of their Leader, Christ Jesus: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) Is the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom advanced or hindered? Is such suitable to the “everlasting good news,” which they carry under angelic direction? (Rev. 14:6) In this connection there are to be considered
23. Why must Christians view their course of action in the light of the effect it has on other persons?
23 OTHER PERSONS. Other people may be advantageously or adversely affected by the course of the Christian. The everlasting good news is to be declared “to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people,” calling on all to “fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived, and so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:6, 7) Because witnesses of Jehovah serve this grand Creator and appeal to others also to serve him, they must view their course of action in the light of the effect it has on other persons and upon the relationship of these other persons to Jehovah. By living lives suitable to the good message that they carry, Christians can aid other persons to come into a favorable relationship to Jehovah God, receiving his goodwill. Also, very close to the individual Christian are those who are his
24. Where can a Christian be a great help, and to whom?
24 LOVED ONES. Christians are concerned with the relationship of their loved ones to Jehovah God, and in the close, intimate family circle each one can be a great help to the others who are near and dear because of family relationships. The principle applies: “You should not hide yourself from your own flesh.” (Isa. 58:7) Then there is
25. Enumerate good things to be done in behalf of the Christian congregation.
25 THE CONGREGATION. “Really, then, as long as we have time favorable for it, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.” (Gal. 6:10) It is good to support the Christian congregation and look after its interests and welfare. It is fitting to attend the meetings of the congregation, to arrive before the appointed time for the meetings to begin, to participate in them as opportunity affords. It is a fruit of God’s spirit for parents to bring their children of all ages to the meetings of the congregation and to care for the children while they are present, keeping them in order, attentive, quiet, not disturbing others, so that all at the Kingdom Hall, children and adults, can receive the full benefit of the spiritual food provided. Proper care of the Kingdom Hall property and its facilities and equipment is good. And in all things consider
26. With what does the entire subject of manifesting goodness deal?
26 YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO JEHOVAH. In respect to the favorable or unfavorable relation to Jehovah it is stated: “Beloved one, be an imitator, not of what is bad, but of what is good. He that does good originates with God. He that does bad has not seen God.” (3 John 11) The whole subject of remembering our Creator by manifesting goodness really deals with our relation to Jehovah, the great Creator.
27. As to the youthful and aged, what point does the Bible make?
27 This is true of real Christians of every age: children, youths, adults and aged persons. Both parents and children should be impressed by the important Bible truth: “Even by his practices a boy makes himself recognized as to whether his activity is pure and upright.” (Prov. 20:11) Even a young boy or a young girl? Yes. Parents, what a wonderful opportunity is set before you to see to it that the activity practiced by your offspring is manifestly pure and upright!
28. With the foregoing points in our minds, what remains for us to do?
28 Attention is now due to be given to the application of the foregoing Bible principles to various occasions in life in which we are faced with the necessity of determining what course to follow and what guide the Bible gives for making the proper decisions. Otherwise stated: make specific application of the foregoing material. Please see the article following.
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YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO JEHOVAH