Will You Keep On Walking in the Truth?
“NO GREATER cause for thankfulness do I have than these things, that . . . my children go on walking in the truth.” (3 John 4) So said the apostle John toward the end of his long life. The continued endurance of ‘his children,’ those he had introduced to “the truth,” brought him great joy. Jehovah too rejoices when his worshipers remain in the truth. How delighted he must be today to see a large organization, numbering into the millions, following that wise course!—Proverbs 27:11.
However, while God’s people as a whole are immovably attached to the truth, some individual Christians slow down or even abandon pure worship. This is not unexpected, since the same thing happened in the first century. (2 Timothy 4:10; Hebrews 2:1) Nevertheless, the fact that some do slow down emphasizes the need for all to keep an eye on their own spirituality. Paul encouraged all Christians: “Keep proving what you yourselves are.” (2 Corinthians 13:5) Each Christian should ask himself the question: ‘How can I be sure that I will keep walking in the truth?’
Some have slowed down or even ceased walking in the truth because they were discouraged—perhaps by health problems or personality conflicts. Others have slowed down because they got distracted. They want to enjoy some of the fruits of this system of things while it lasts. How can we avoid slowing down? To answer, let us consider the example that Jesus left us.
Follow Jesus’ Example
Jesus was faced with many difficult situations. He had to handle personality conflicts among his followers, as well as endure the hatred and mockery of his enemies. He also had to resist the temptations of this world. Indeed, he was offered wealth and prominence on a scale that few have ever known. (Matthew 4:8-11; John 6:14, 15) Yet, Jesus persisted in walking in the truth. What helped him to do this?
The apostle Paul tells us when he writes: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus. For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1, 2) In Jesus’ case, keeping in mind “the joy that was set before him,” the high rewards awaiting him, helped him to keep walking in the truth. This “joy that was set before him” outweighed by far the temporary discouragements or distractions that he had to face.
Keeping in mind the reward can help us to endure, just as it did Jesus. (Revelation 22:12) To illustrate, think of a traveler walking along a difficult mountain path. He becomes weary and discouraged. Each step is an effort, and the path seems endless. Then he comes to the top of a rise and sees in the distance the town he is heading for. Suddenly the going seems a little easier. A clear view of his destination helps him to forget his tiredness. A Christian will similarly find it easier to keep walking in the truth if he keeps his destination clearly in mind.
Imitate the Apostle Paul
Another who endured much that could have discouraged him was the apostle Paul. He had to handle divisions and personality conflicts among the brothers, as well as put up with a severe health problem, persecution, physical hardships, and problems and even opposition within the congregations. (1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 10:7-12; 11:21-29; 12:7-10) Why did Paul not get discouraged to the point of giving up? He explains: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.” (Philippians 4:13) He did not try to carry his burdens alone. Rather, Paul looked to Jehovah to sustain him.—Psalm 55:22.
The divine source of strength that Paul called on to help him endure is also available today. The Bible says: “[Jehovah] is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound. Boys will both tire out and grow weary, and young men themselves will without fail stumble, but those who are hoping in Jehovah will regain power. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not tire out.” (Isaiah 40:29-31) If we look to Jehovah to give us strength through personal study, meeting attendance, zealous Christian activity, and—especially—prayer, we will be able to endure temptations and discouragements that may arise from time to time.—Psalm 1:1-3; Romans 10:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17; Hebrews 10:23-25.
Millions Prepare to Live in Paradise
Satan is the god of this system of things, where Christians are really just foreigners, alien residents. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Hence, we should not be surprised if we sometimes face discouragements or distractions. Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews: “We do not have here a city that continues, but we are earnestly seeking the one to come.” (Hebrews 13:14) Remembering that our hope is not in this old world but in that which is to come also helps us not to slow down.
In some ways, Christians are like emigrants who leave their native land in search of a better life elsewhere. As a general rule, this is a difficult step to take. It involves packing up or disposing of all his possessions and saying good-bye to a familiar home, as well as to friends and relatives. It also involves going to a strange land, living among people who may not welcome him, and learning a new language and an unaccustomed way of life. Yet, many make such a move merely in hopes of improving their material situation in this world.
Those who emigrate, as it were, from this old system of things and become part of God’s people face similar challenges. They make cultural adjustments to live according to the clean standards of God’s Word, and they learn the “pure language” of truth. (Zephaniah 3:9; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) They work hard, also, to serve the great King of God’s Kingdom, Jesus Christ. Moreover, in many cases their relatives and former friends cut them off, so that, in effect, they have to say good-bye to them.
But Christians have much more to gain than those who emigrate for economic reasons. For one thing, they come into a community that loves and cares for them. (Luke 18:29, 30) More important, they come into a close relationship with Jehovah, the God of the universe. They gain peace of mind and confidence about the future as they look forward to the fulfillment of God’s marvelous promises. (Philippians 4:8, 9) Those with a proper appreciation of these facts will not allow distractions or discouragements to slow them down permanently. They will not be turned from the narrow road that leads to life.—Matthew 7:13, 14; 1 John 2:15-17.
Care for Your Spiritual Health
If we care for our physical health on a regular basis, we have a better chance of resisting disease. And if we do fall sick, we recover more quickly. Similarly, if we take care of our spiritual health, keeping a clear vision of the blessings we enjoy now and those that await us, and if we learn to rely on Jehovah’s strength rather than our own, we will be in a better position to handle problems that arise. We cannot completely avoid distractions or discouraging circumstances. But if we have properly cared for our spiritual health ahead of time, such things will not overwhelm us.
Remember, Jehovah rejoices when his worshipers endure. So let us bring joy to his heart by continuing to walk in the truth.