“Walk Worthily of Jehovah”
“We . . . have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah.”—Col. 1:9, 10.
1. (a) What splendid relationship may we enjoy with Jehovah? (b) What, then, should be our attitude toward his commandments? (Ps. 119:47, 48)
JEHOVAH GOD is the best friend anyone can have. Because the patriarch “‘Abraham put faith in Jehovah, . . . it was counted to him as righteousness,’ and he came to be called ‘Jehovah’s friend.’” (Jas. 2:23) What a splendid relationship! But Jehovah desires that all persons possessing such faith walk in his name as his friends. Of course, if individuals are to please God and enjoy a friendly relationship with him, they must heed the words of the Congregator, who declared centuries ago: “Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man.”—Eccl. 12:13.
2. What is needed to “walk worthily of Jehovah”?
2 Accurate knowledge is vital in order to be God’s friend, to keep his commandments and to walk in his name. Appropriately, therefore, the Christian apostle Paul told fellow believers at Colossae: “We . . . have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him as you go on bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the accurate knowledge of God.”—Col. 1:9, 10.
ALERT TO OUR RESPONSIBILITY
3. How must we live if we are to walk worthily in Jehovah’s name?
3 Friendship with another human cannot be maintained if we misrepresent that individual in some way. Accordingly, if we wish to have Jehovah as our friend, we must realize that walking worthily in his name involves living in harmony with all that it represents. This requires earnest and regular study of the Holy Scriptures, as well as personal application of what they say. When people see us, they associate us with our God; and, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is vital that we represent God properly, acting in harmony with his Word.
4. As regards representing the divine name, what responsibility do Jehovah’s Witnesses have?
4 Witnesses of Jehovah also realize that walking worthily in his name involves every aspect of their lives. They have a responsibility to represent the divine name before mankind in a worthy manner. Certainly, they are not like those of Christendom today who refrain from using the name Jehovah out of fear that it will offend someone. Jehovah wants his name to be made known throughout the earth. (Ex. 9:16) And it is indeed a privilege to inform people that Jehovah is the Most High God.
5. What is the Christian’s attitude toward political affairs, and why?
5 But the Christian’s obligation involves more than merely speaking the name of God. Jehovah, our most cherished Friend, is the great King of the entire universe. His name is attached to his kingdom with Jesus Christ as Messianic Ruler under God. Surely, then, those walking worthily in Jehovah’s name must advocate that kingdom. Hence, they do not have any part in the political affairs of this world. Rather, they stand in the same position as that of Jesus Christ, who declared: “My kingdom is no part of this world.”—John 18:36.
6. What view of sin is possessed by those walking worthily in Jehovah’s name?
6 The world itself is steeped in unrighteousness. Therefore, those who would walk worthily in Jehovah’s name as his friends must shun this world and everything that is evil in it. They have the same view of sin as that possessed by Jehovah God, who “is righteous in all his ways and loyal in all his works.” (Ps. 145:17) Christians know that if they were to steal, to commit adultery or otherwise violate God’s law, the name of Jehovah would be reproached on that account. Never would we want that to happen! Rather, we desire that our conduct bring glory to God, even as the apostle Peter wrote: “Maintain your conduct fine among the nations, that, in the thing in which they are speaking against you as evildoers, they may as a result of your fine works of which they are eyewitnesses glorify God in the day for his inspection.”—1 Pet. 2:12; Rom. 2:21-24.
“IMITATORS OF GOD”
7. How is it possible to imitate God?
7 A person’s friends can have either a good or a bad effect on him, because one may be inclined to imitate the ways of one’s associates. Well, those walking worthily in Jehovah’s name as his friends can be certain that intimacy with God will always have a good effect on them. Trying to imitate Jehovah is highly beneficial. The apostle Paul urged: “Become imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Eph. 5:1) A person, though imperfect, can imitate God by accepting the guidance provided in Jehovah’s Word and by yielding to the influence of God’s holy spirit, or active force.
8. What should Christians cultivate? How?
8 Surely, Christian witnesses of Jehovah desire to cultivate and demonstrate the fruitage of God’s holy spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22, 23) As God’s servants manifest these fruits, other people will be moved to think of these qualities when Jehovah God is brought to mind. Of course, this requires that true Christians display the fruits of God’s spirit everywhere, before all persons. So a servant of Jehovah can profitably ask: Do I actually do this at home, at work, at school, when driving an automobile, during recreational activities, and so forth? All of this is included in walking worthily in Jehovah’s name. And surely these fruits of the spirit should be displayed toward our brothers and sisters in the faith. Then all of us can rejoice in being among Jehovah’s people.—Ps. 144:15.
9. Prayer plays what part herein?
9 Earnest prayer to Jehovah for his holy spirit and aid in cultivating and demonstrating its fruitage in life will be rewarded. (Luke 11:13; Rom. 5:5) Now please consider briefly certain benefits of these fruits of the spirit. It will be evident that they have a favorable effect, not only on persons displaying these qualities, but on fellow worshipers of Jehovah and others.
10. (a) How important is love among Christians? Explain. (b) According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, what is love like?
10 Love is the first of these fruits mentioned by Paul. “God is love,” wrote the apostle John. (1 John 4:8) Hence, a godly person who manifests love is imitating Jehovah in that respect. Furthermore, “by this all will know that you are my disciples,” said Jesus Christ, “if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) The love among Christians attracts attention now, even as it did in former days. Citing what worldly persons said of the early Christians, Tertullian wrote: “‘Look,’ they say, ‘how they love one another . . . and how they are ready to die for each other.’” Moreover, love is “a perfect bond of union” within the Christian congregation. (Col. 3:14) And no wonder! Love is long-suffering and kind. It does not brag, get puffed up, behave indecently, look for its own interests, become provoked, keep account of injury, or rejoice over unrighteousness. Rather, it rejoices with the truth and bears, believes, hopes and endures all things. Truly, “love never fails.”—1 Cor. 13:4-8.
11. What is joy, and why should we be joyful?
11 Joy, another fruit of God’s spirit, is said to be “deeper-rooted than delight, more radiant or demonstrative than gladness.” The pleasant, joyful countenance of a Kingdom proclaimer has brightened the face of many a listener. And is there not good reason to be joyful if we are walking worthily in Jehovah’s name? Yes, indeed, for we are declaring “the glorious good news of the happy God.” (1 Tim. 1:11) Moreover, we have joyful prospects, a sound hope of future blessings, if we continue walking worthily in Jehovah’s name. Think of that when confronted with life’s problems. Endeavor to spread joy among your Christian associates too, for persons dedicated to God are expected to ‘serve Jehovah with rejoicing and joy of heart.’—Deut. 28:46, 47.
12. Of what benefit is peace among Christians?
12 Peace, another fruit of the spirit, is an outstanding quality of Jehovah. He is “the God of peace.” (Heb. 13:20) True Christians “pursue peace with all people.” (Heb. 12:14) To illustrate: At the Divine Will International Assembly in 1958, Jehovah’s Witnesses resolved: “THAT, figuratively speaking, we have beaten our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning shears and, although of so many nationalities, we will not lift up sword against one another because we are Christian brothers and members of the one family of God, neither will we learn to war against one another any more, but we will walk in God’s paths in peace, unity and brotherly love.” Jehovah’s people have lived up to that resolution, and the peace existing among them attracts lovers of peace to true Christianity. (Isa. 2:2-4) Furthermore, ‘Jehovah blesses his people with peace.’ (Ps. 29:11) They are not anxious over anything, but they prayerfully make their petitions known to God. As a result, ‘the peace of God that excels all thought guards their hearts and mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.’—Phil. 4:6, 7.
13. Long-suffering involves what, and how is it beneficial?
13 Long-suffering, another of the spirit’s fruits, does not mean merely “suffering long.” It involves slowness to anger and is patient endurance of provocation or wrong, linked with the refusal to abandon hope for improvement in a disturbed relationship. Jehovah is “slow to anger,” or is long-suffering. (Ex. 34:6) God’s patience allows persons time to repent and escape destruction. (2 Pet. 3:8-18) While God is exercising long-suffering, he is gathering “a people for his name” and, through them, is magnifying himself earth wide. (Acts 15:14; Rom. 9:22-24) Jehovah’s name-people strive to “be long-suffering toward all.” (1 Thess. 5:14) Not only does this promote good relations with fellow believers. Long-suffering enables Christians patiently to help others to learn about Jehovah, with a view to their doing his will and gaining everlasting life. (1 Tim. 4:16; Heb. 6:11-15) Also, by walking worthily of Jehovah in this way, God’s people have the satisfaction of pleasing him now, with eternal blessings as their prospect.
14. What is kindness, and what effect does it have?
14 Kindness also is a fruit of God’s spirit. It involves being actively interested in the welfare of others. Jehovah is even “kind toward the unthankful and wicked,” encouraging them to repent. (Luke 6:35; Rom. 2:4) Accordingly, as “imitators of God,” Christians are to clothe themselves with kindness. (Eph. 5:1; Col. 3:12) They follow Scriptural counsel to “become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another” as God by Christ forgave them. (Eph. 4:32) Kindness begets kindness, and it has attractive force. So, it benefits the one showing it, the one receiving it and the one drawn to God’s people because of seeing kindness at work among them.
15. Goodness denotes what, and how can it be developed?
15 Goodness, another fruit of the spirit, denotes moral excellence or virtue. “Good and upright is Jehovah.” (Ps. 25:8) As an aid in developing goodness, Christians do well to ask God prayerfully: “Teach me goodness, sensibleness and knowledge themselves, for in your commandments I have exercised faith.” (Ps. 119:66) Also, goodness is developed by obeying Jehovah’s commands. There is satisfaction in knowing that one is imitating Jehovah by practicing goodness toward fellow believers and all others. Such goodness may draw persons to true Christianity.—Gal. 6:10.
16. (a) How is faith defined? (b) Our displaying this fruit of the spirit may have what effect on others?
16 Faith, the seventh-listed fruit of the spirit, is vitally important to those desiring to “walk worthily of Jehovah.” It is impossible to maintain friendship with Jehovah and to please God without this quality. (Heb. 11:6) “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (Heb. 11:1) It is not just baseless hope, but is a well-founded expectation. Furthermore, faith is the evidence needed for conviction regarding unseen realities. For instance, created things such as the sun, the moon and the stars prove to the thinking person that God the Creator exists. (Rom. 1:20-23; Heb. 11:3) When an individual displays faith in Jehovah, he is setting a fine example for fellow Christians. Their faith may be strengthened by observing his implicit faith in Jehovah. And such active faith may also move unbelievers to begin placing confidence in Jehovah God.
17. What is mildness, and what results when imitators of Jehovah display it?
17 Mildness, another fruit of the spirit, might be defined as gentleness, graciousness, with strength behind it. Jesus Christ said: “I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart.” (Matt. 11:29) Jehovah, who has provided for approach to himself through Christ, is mild, not harsh and cruel. So, those seeking to walk worthily in God’s name have no reason to be fearful of approaching him in prayer. (Heb. 4:16; 1 John 4:17, 18) As imitators of Jehovah and his Son, Christians display mildness in their dealings with all people, and this is beneficial indeed. Among other things, “the quiet and mild spirit” of a Christian wife may be a factor in winning an unbelieving mate over to the true faith. (1 Pet. 3:1-4) Then, too, mildness promotes pleasant relations among people even when difficulties arise, for “an answer, when mild, turns away rage.”—Prov. 15:1.
18. Self-control involves what, and what effect may it have?
18 Self-control, the last-mentioned fruit of the spirit, involves restraining one’s person, speech and actions. Jehovah “kept exercising self-control” until the right time came for him to punish the Babylonian desolators of Jerusalem. (Isa. 42:14, 15) As “imitators of God,” Christians strive to exercise self-control in all things and can confidently pray to Jehovah for aid in cultivating this quality. (1 Cor. 9:25) Self-control is a blessing to the person practicing it and to all those associating with him. Like other fruits of the spirit, this quality may also attract observers to Christianity.
WHAT GOD ASKS
19. How much does Jehovah ask of us?
19 Those having Jehovah’s name upon them can please God if they seek his aid in cultivating the fruits of the spirit. Certainly, if we truly look to Jehovah for guidance and feel deeply our responsibility before him, he will strengthen us to walk in his way. Said Paul: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.” (Phil. 4:13) In his loving-kindness, Jehovah aids us greatly and asks relatively little. “He has told you, O earthling man, what is good,” wrote Micah. “And what is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?”—Mic. 6:8.
20. Why may we be confident of Jehovah’s protection and aid?
20 By exercising justice, loving kindness and by being modest in walking with Jehovah, we are not left unprotected in this hostile system of things. No, for we can be confident that Jehovah God will protect and aid us as his people and will deliver us into his promised new order, if we continue walking worthily of him. As the prophet Samuel once declared: “Jehovah will not desert his people for the sake of his great name, because Jehovah has taken it upon himself to make you his people.”—1 Sam. 12:22.
21. What prospect lies before those now walking worthily in Jehovah’s name?
21 If we take seriously our responsibility before God, truly walking worthily in Jehovah’s name, he will be with us as our friend. Surely, if we continue to acquire and apply knowledge of his inspired Word, Jehovah will not abandon us. As his Witnesses, we have declared that we are going to “walk in the name of Jehovah our God.” (Mic. 4:5) May we live up to that decision. By doing so, we will have the marvelous prospect of walking worthily of Jehovah throughout eternity.