Youths Who Make Jehovah’s Heart Glad
“Make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.”—PROVERBS 27:11.
1. How are our parents and our Creator affected by the way we live our life?
WHETHER you realize it or not, it makes a difference how you live your life. For example, it makes a difference to your parents. “A wise son is the one that makes a father rejoice,” the Bible explains, “and a stupid son is the grief of his mother.” (Proverbs 10:1; 23:24, 25) But even more importantly, how you live your life can make our Creator, Jehovah God, either glad or sad. “Be wise, my son,” Jehovah exhorts, “and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.”—Proverbs 27:11.
2. What vital issue was raised by Satan, and how are we involved?
2 The one taunting Jehovah, of course, is Satan the Devil. In the garden of Eden, Satan raised a vital issue that called for a reply from God. When the Devil was able, with apparent ease, to get Eve, and then Adam, to break God’s law, there is evidence that he challenged Jehovah. In effect, Satan asserted: ‘Just give me the chance and I can turn anybody away from serving you.’ (Job 1:6-12) Therefore, Jehovah made the heartwarming appeal recorded above, that his son furnish Him “a reply” so that He might answer Satan’s challenge.
3. Why does Jehovah’s appeal apply particularly to Jesus, and who else will also have made God’s heart glad?
3 However, to whom in particular did Jehovah direct this appeal, addressing him as “my son”? Jesus Christ is in a unique way God’s son, being his only-begotten Son. (John 1:14) Moreover, aside from Adam, who failed his Creator, Jesus is the only perfect man to have walked the earth, hence the only man capable of proving in the complete sense that faithfulness to God can be maintained. (1 Corinthians 15:45) Thus Jehovah’s appeal applies particularly to Jesus. And Jesus did not disappoint his Father. By his faithful course, Jesus gave God an answer to Satan’s boastful challenge that humans would not serve Him faithfully under test. (Hebrews 2:14; 12:2) In addition, all those who will reign with Christ in heaven will also have made Jehovah’s heart glad by their faithfulness to God even unto death.—Revelation 2:10.
4. When deciding what to do with your life, what vital matter should you consider?
4 But what about us today, including you young ones? Are you involved in this issue of whether humans will be faithful to God or not? Indeed you are! (Psalm 147:11; 148:12, 13) You may not realize it, but what you do with your life supports either God’s side of the issue or Satan’s side. It makes either Jehovah glad or Satan glad. Really, Jehovah’s invitation or appeal can be viewed as also directed to you personally: “Be wise, my son [or daughter], and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.” (Proverbs 27:11) Is not making glad the heart of your Creator a satisfying goal for you to have?
Why It Is Wise
5. Why is it wise to make Jehovah’s heart glad?
5 Note that Jehovah encourages, “Be wise.” Why are we wise when we make Jehovah’s heart glad? It is because Jehovah is a loving Father who wants only the best for us, and anything he asks us to do is for our good. As Isaiah 48:17, 18 says: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
6. (a) What shows that Jehovah wants you to enjoy life? (b) What consequences can you not avoid?
6 As a loving parent, Jehovah wants you to enjoy to the full his precious gift of life. Therefore he says: “Rejoice, young man, in your youth, and let your heart do you good in the days of your young manhood, and walk in the ways of your heart and in the things seen by your eyes.” Now this, of course, is not an invitation to do whatever pleasurable thing you desire. This is shown by the following caution: “But know that on account of all these the true God will bring you into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9) Yes, you cannot avoid the consequences of your actions; God will hold you accountable for what you do. The rule is certain: “Whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.”—Galatians 6:7.
7, 8. (a) How can you remove vexation and ward off calamity? (b) When are youth and the prime of life vanity?
7 For this reason, Jehovah adds: “So remove vexation [or cause for worry] from your heart, and ward off calamity from your flesh; for youth and the prime of life are vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 11:10) Surely, it is wise to avoid activities that will cause you vexing problems later on. Oh, there will be those who say you are missing out—that you have not ‘really lived’ unless you have got drunk, had illicit sex, or done some other such “daring” thing. But how foolish they are! “It sure wasn’t worth it,” a tearful young student lamented after committing fornication. “I’ve been worried ever since.”
8 So you young ones, wisely heed God’s counsel to remove from your heart any cause for anxiety or regret, such as that experienced by youths who pursue a reckless or selfish way of life. A 17th-century essayist observed: “The greatest part of mankind employ their first years to make their last miserable.” True, but how sad! When a youngster dissipates his physical energies and capabilities in a way that makes later adult years more difficult, his youth and prime of life are indeed vanity! (Proverbs 22:3) So be wise! Follow the further admonition: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood.”—Ecclesiastes 12:1.
9. What benefits will you enjoy by remembering Jehovah in your youth?
9 By remembering Jehovah in your youth, you really will benefit yourself. Not only will you avoid vexation and calamitous difficulties but you will enjoy right now a happy, rewarding life in serving your Grand Creator. In addition, you will wisely be storing up treasures in heaven that will benefit you for all eternity. (Matthew 6:19-21) If you remember Jehovah now by doing his will, he will remember you and reward you with “the requests of your heart,” yes, a happy, full life in Paradise forever!—Psalm 37:4; 133:3; Luke 23:43; Revelation 21:3, 4.
How Do You Feel About Jehovah?
10. (a) Why cannot your decision to serve God be simply a cold calculation of what is wise? (b) What further appeal does Jehovah make?
10 Yet your decision to serve Jehovah cannot simply be a cold calculation of what is wise. Satan is such a cunning foe that if you are thinking only of your personal benefit, he will eventually be able to appeal to some selfish inclination to get you away from serving Jehovah. So Jehovah does not simply invite you to be wise. No, but he also appeals for a personal dedication to him. Jesus said: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart.” (Matthew 22:37) Do you know what it means to love Jehovah wholeheartedly?
11. (a) What does it mean to give your heart to Jehovah? (b) How does Joseph’s experience illustrate how proper heart motivation can impel us to do God’s will?
11 Your heart refers to your innermost self, your motivations, your attitudes, and your deep emotions, along with your thinking faculties. Thus to love Jehovah with your whole heart means that you love him dearly and that above everything else in life it is your considered choice to make his heart glad by providing him a reply to Satan’s taunt. Such inner discernment and deep feelings of love and concern for God will provide your strongest motivation for doing his will, even when it may seem so appealing to do otherwise. Young Joseph had such love for Jehovah, so when a prominent woman invited: “Lie down with me,” Joseph answered: “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?”—Genesis 39:7-9.
12. (a) How do you show that you have given your heart to Jehovah? (b) If you have not given your heart to Jehovah, what questions should you consider?
12 You show that you love Jehovah with your whole heart when you go to him in prayer and tell him that you want to belong to him, that you want to serve him forever. In this way you dedicate yourself to Jehovah. Have you done this? If not, why not? What is holding you back? Are you old enough to understand and appreciate the great issue between Jehovah and Satan? And do you want to make Jehovah’s heart glad? Satan certainly does not want you to love Jehovah with your whole heart. He wants you selfishly to “do your own thing,” to please yourself. Whom will you make glad, Jehovah or Satan? Give this serious consideration.
13. If you are dedicated and baptized, what questions should you ask yourself?
13 If you have dedicated yourself to God and symbolized this by water baptism, does your life course demonstrate that your heart really belongs to God? Where are your interests, your affections, centered? on getting a new car? on making money to buy clothes or other personal items? Whose interests come first—your own or Jehovah’s? Have you really responded to Jehovah’s appeal to give your heart to him?
14. (a) What valuable asset do youths have? (b) Why is it sad when a youth does not remember his Creator?
14 While older ones have more experience and generally more wisdom, youths have a valuable asset they can use to please God. “The beauty of young men is their power,” the Bible says. (Proverbs 20:29) So use that power now. Remember your Creator “before the calamitous days” of old age “proceed to come,” when the body weakens and its organs break down and fail to function properly. How sad it is for a person who has failed to remember his Creator in his youth and so in old age has nothing to recommend himself to God! It is “the greatest vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8) Wisely, therefore, remember your Creator while you have strength and vigor. Build a record of faithful service to God, who will remember you with a favorable judgment, yes, to everlasting life.—Hebrews 6:10-12; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.
They Made God’s Heart Glad
15. What Bible examples are there of youths who used their power in God’s service?
15 The Bible is filled with examples of youths who used their “beauty”—their power—in God’s service. It was “young men” with quickness and agility who spied out the Promised Land. (Joshua 6:22, 23; 2:15, 16, 23) David, while only in his 20’s himself, sent “ten young men” on a mission to request favor from Nabal. (1 Samuel 25:4, 5) When the Jews under governor Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem while under threat of attack, who did the dangerous, hard work? “Half of my young men,” Nehemiah explained, “were active in the work and half of them were holding the lances, the shields and the bows and the coats of mail.” (Nehemiah 4:16) And when God struck Ananias and his wife Sapphira dead because they lied, “young men” carried them out and buried them.—Acts 5:5, 6, 10.
16. In what spiritual activity have young people in the past shared?
16 Surely, it gladdens Jehovah’s heart when youths make themselves available for whatever service is required at the time. Yet youths have been involved in spiritual activity that required more than physical power and stamina. “Young I am in days,” Elihu acknowledged. Nevertheless, Jehovah used him to correct Job. (Job 32:4-6) Samuel was only “a boy” when he began serving at Jehovah’s tabernacle at Shiloh. (1 Samuel 2:18) It was “a little girl” who, even though a slave in Naaman’s house, fearlessly proclaimed what Jehovah’s prophet could do. (2 Kings 5:2-4) When Jehovah assigned Jeremiah as a prophet, Jeremiah said: “I am but a boy.” (Jeremiah 1:5, 6) “And as for these children, the four of them”—Daniel and his three Hebrew companions—what outstanding servants of Jehovah they were in Babylonian exile! (Daniel, chapters 1 and 3) Paul’s nephew, a “young man,” courageously acted in his uncle’s behalf. (Acts 23:16-22) Then there was the lad Timothy, who from infancy knew the holy writings and used his youth in Jehovah’s service.—2 Timothy 3:15; Philippians 2:19-23; 1 Corinthians 4:17.
Making God’s Heart Glad Today
17. Why should we expect to find youths today who are pleasing Jehovah, and do we?
17 And it is not only youths of the past who have made God’s heart glad by their faithful service. “‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I shall pour out some of my spirit upon every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions.’” (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28) So we should rightly expect to find in these last days many young Christians who are pleasing Jehovah. And we do! While young Witnesses are not faultless, as none of us are, many are doing very well as Christians. They are concerned with making Jehovah’s heart glad.—Proverbs 27:11; 3:1, 2.
18, 19. What work needs to be done today, and why are youths well suited for it?
18 In these last days, Jehovah’s will is that a great global witness about his Kingdom be given, which involves a tremendous effort. (Matthew 24:14) Kingdom Halls for worship need to be constructed, as well as larger buildings for circuit assemblies. In many countries, more factory space for publishing Bible literature is needed, as well as additional living quarters in Bethel homes. Providing these new facilities requires heavy construction work, and as with the wall building in Nehemiah’s day, youths with strength and stamina are doing much of the work.
19 Such young ones are also doing the bulk of the heavy physical work required to print, bind, and ship thousands of tons of Bible literature each year. In fact, at the New York headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, including Watchtower Farms, there are over 1,400 youths 25 years of age and younger. And their service is not limited to the physically demanding work they do during the week; on the weekends they share in the house-to-house preaching activity and in Christian meetings with the local congregations. How glad they make Jehovah’s heart!
20. (a) What share are youths having in the pioneer ministry? (b) What questions should young people not in the full-time ministry ask themselves?
20 In the United States, working shoulder to shoulder with these youths are more than 12,700 others of the same age group who are serving as regular pioneer ministers. In other parts of the world, more tens of thousands of youngsters are also pioneering. If you are a youth who is not yet in the full-time ministry, can you set goals for yourself that will put Jehovah first in your life, rather than perhaps simply intending to get a well-paying secular job, then get married and have a family? Do you understand the great universal issue? Do you truly long to see the name of our Grand Creator cleared of all reproach? If so, then is it not proper that you do all you can in Jehovah’s service? And would that not include, for at least many more of you, volunteering to serve at Bethel homes or to engage in the pioneer work?
21. (a) To what invitation from Jehovah should you respond, and how? (b) Why can we be confident that many more young ones will respond to Jehovah’s invitation as did Isaiah?
21 Listen! Jehovah is inviting you, yes, appealing to you, to provide him a reply to Satan’s wicked taunts. Can you, like Isaiah, hear Jehovah asking: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Why not be wise and respond as Isaiah did: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) We are confident that many more of you young ones will respond because God’s Word promises: “Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force. . . . You have your company of young men [and women] just like dewdrops.” (Psalm 110:3; 148:12, 13) And when you do respond, you can have the joy of knowing that Jehovah observes and approves—that you are making his heart glad!
□ Why is the way we live our life important to Jehovah?
□ Why is it wise to make Jehovah’s heart glad?
□ How can we show that we have given our heart to Jehovah?
□ Who in the past made Jehovah’s heart glad, and how?
□ Who are making Jehovah’s heart glad today, and how?
[Blurb on page 17]
When youths break God’s laws, they reap bitter consequences later
[Picture on page 18]
Youths made God’s heart glad by helping to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem