Keep On Walking in Jehovah’s Way
“Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth.”—PSALM 37:34.
1, 2. What did walking in Jehovah’s way involve for King David, and what does it require of us today?
“MAKE known to me the way in which I should walk, for to you I have lifted up my soul.” (Psalm 143:8) Christians today wholeheartedly echo those words of King David. They sincerely want to please Jehovah and walk in his way. What does this involve? For David, it meant keeping God’s law. It involved trusting in Jehovah rather than in alliances with the nations. Yes, and it meant loyally serving Jehovah, not the gods of neighboring peoples. For Christians, walking in Jehovah’s way involves more.
2 For one thing, walking in Jehovah’s way today means exercising faith in Jesus Christ’s ransom sacrifice, acknowledging him as “the way and the truth and the life.” (John 3:16; 14:6; Hebrews 5:9) It means, too, fulfilling “the law of the Christ,” which includes showing love to one another, especially to Jesus’ anointed brothers. (Galatians 6:2; Matthew 25:34-40) Those who walk in Jehovah’s way love his principles and commands. (Psalm 119:97; Proverbs 4:5, 6) They treasure their precious privilege of participating in the Christian ministry. (Colossians 4:17; 2 Timothy 4:5) Prayer is a regular part of their life. (Romans 12:12) And they ‘keep strict watch that how they walk is not as unwise but as wise persons.’ (Ephesians 5:15) They certainly do not sacrifice spiritual riches for temporary material advantages or illicit fleshly pleasures. (Matthew 6:19, 20; 1 John 2:15-17) Moreover, loyalty to Jehovah and trust in him are vital. (2 Corinthians 1:9; 10:5; Ephesians 4:24) Why? Because our situation is quite similar to that of ancient Israel.
The Need for Trust and Loyalty
3. Why will loyalty, faith, and trust help to keep us walking in Jehovah’s way?
3 Israel was a small nation surrounded by unfriendly neighbors who engaged in licentious ceremonies in the worship of idol gods. (1 Chronicles 16:26) Only Israel served the one true and invisible God, Jehovah, and he required that they maintain high moral standards. (Deuteronomy 6:4) Similarly today, only a few million humans worship Jehovah, and they live in a world of almost six billion people whose standards and religious outlook are very different from theirs. If we are among those few million, we must be on guard against being influenced in a wrong way. How? Loyalty to Jehovah God, faith in him, and a firm trust that he will fulfill his promises will help. (Hebrews 11:6) This will keep us from putting our trust in the things the world hopes in.—Proverbs 20:22; 1 Timothy 6:17.
4. Why are the nations “in darkness mentally”?
4 The apostle Paul showed how different Christians must be from the world when he wrote: “This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds, while they are in darkness mentally, and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensibility of their hearts.” (Ephesians 4:17, 18) Jesus is “the true light.” (John 1:9) Any who reject him or who claim to believe in him but do not obey “the law of the Christ” are “in darkness mentally.” Far from walking in Jehovah’s way, they are “alienated from the life that belongs to God.” However wise they may think they are in a worldly way, they have ‘ignorance in them’ as to the only knowledge that leads to life, that of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ.—John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 3:19.
5. Although the light of truth is shining in the world, why are many hearts unresponsive?
5 Yet, the light of truth is shining in the world! (Psalm 43:3; Philippians 2:15) “True wisdom itself keeps crying aloud in the very street.” (Proverbs 1:20) Last year Jehovah’s Witnesses spent more than a billion hours telling their neighbors about Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. Hundreds of thousands responded. Should we, though, be surprised that many others failed to respond? No. Paul spoke of “the insensibility of their hearts.” Some have unresponsive hearts because of selfishness or love of money. Others are influenced by false religion or the secular outlook that is so widespread today. Hard life experiences have led many to turn their backs on God. Others refuse to meet Jehovah’s high moral standards. (John 3:20) Could the heart of one walking in Jehovah’s way become insensitive in such respects?
6, 7. Though they were worshipers of Jehovah God, on what occasions did the Israelites fall away, and why?
6 This did happen to ancient Israel, as Paul showed. He wrote: “These things became our examples, for us not to be persons desiring injurious things, even as they desired them. Neither become idolaters, as some of them did; just as it is written: ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and they got up to have a good time.’ Neither let us practice fornication, as some of them committed fornication, only to fall, twenty-three thousand of them in one day.”—1 Corinthians 10:6-8.
7 Paul refers first to the occasion when Israel worshiped a golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai. (Exodus 32:5, 6) This was in direct disobedience to a divine command they had agreed to obey just a few weeks earlier. (Exodus 20:4-6; 24:3) Then, Paul refers to the time when Israel bowed down to Baal with the daughters of Moab. (Numbers 25:1-9) Calf worship was characterized by gross self-indulgence, ‘having a good time.’* Baal worship was accompanied by flagrant sexual immorality. (Revelation 2:14) Why did the Israelites commit these sins? Because they allowed their hearts to become ‘desirous of injurious things’—whether the idolatry or the licentious practices that accompanied it.
8. What can we learn from Israel’s experiences?
8 Paul indicated that we should learn from these events. Learn what? It is unthinkable that a Christian would bow down to a golden calf or an ancient Moabite god. But what about immorality or unrestrained self-indulgence? These are common today, and if we allow a desire for them to grow in our hearts, they will come between us and Jehovah. The result will be the same as if we had committed idolatry—alienation from God. (Compare Colossians 3:5; Philippians 3:19.) Indeed, Paul concludes his discussion of those events by exhorting fellow believers: “Flee from idolatry.”—1 Corinthians 10:14.
Help in Walking in God’s Way
9. (a) What help do we receive to keep us walking in Jehovah’s way? (b) What is one way that we hear the ‘word behind us’?
9 If we are determined to keep walking in Jehovah’s way, we are not left without help. Isaiah prophesied: “Your own ears will hear a word behind you saying: ‘This is the way. Walk in it, you people,’ in case you people should go to the right or in case you should go to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) How do ‘our own ears’ hear that ‘word behind us’? Well, no one today hears a literal voice or receives a personal message from God. The “word” that is heard comes to all of us in the same way. First and foremost, it comes through the inspired Scriptures, the Bible, which contains the thoughts of God and a record of his dealings with humans. Since we are daily exposed to propaganda from sources “alienated from the life that belongs to God,” for good spiritual health, we need to read the Bible and meditate on it regularly. This will help us to avoid “vain things” and to be “fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (Acts 14:14, 15; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17) It will strengthen us, fortify us, and help us ‘to make our way successful.’ (Joshua 1:7, 8) Hence, Jehovah’s Word urges: “Now, O sons, listen to me; yes, happy are the ones that keep my very ways. Listen to discipline and become wise, and do not show any neglect.”—Proverbs 8:32, 33.
10. What is a second way that we hear the ‘word behind us’?
10 The ‘word behind us’ also comes by means of “the faithful and discreet slave,” who supplies “food at the proper time.” (Matthew 24:45-47) One way this food is supplied is in printed Bible-based publications, and in recent years this food supply has been abundant. For example, through the Watchtower magazine, our understanding of prophecy has been refined. In this journal, we have been encouraged to persevere in the work of preaching and disciple making despite growing apathy, we have been helped to avoid pitfalls, and we have been urged to develop fine Christian qualities. How we treasure such food at the proper time!
11. Explain a third way that we can hear the ‘word behind us.’
11 The faithful and discreet slave also supplies food through our regular meetings. These include local congregation meetings, semiannual meetings at a circuit level, and larger annual conventions. What faithful Christian does not value such gatherings? They are a vital help to support us in walking in Jehovah’s way. Since many have to spend a lot of time at work or in school in company with those who do not share their faith, regular Christian association is literally lifesaving. Meetings give us a fine opportunity ‘to incite one another to love and fine works.’ (Hebrews 10:24) We love our brothers, and we love associating with them.—Psalm 133:1.
12. What determination do Jehovah’s Witnesses have, and how did they recently express it?
12 Strengthened by such spiritual food, almost six million people today are walking in Jehovah’s way, and millions of others are studying the Bible to learn how to do so. Are they discouraged or weakened by the fact that they are few in number compared with the billions of the earth’s population? In no way! They are determined to keep on heeding the ‘word behind them,’ loyally doing Jehovah’s will. As a public manifestation of this determination, during the 1998/99 “God’s Way of Life” District and International Conventions, the delegates adopted a resolution expressing their heartfelt stand. Following is the text of that resolution.
13, 14. What realistic view of the world situation do Jehovah’s Witnesses have?
13 “We, as Jehovah’s Witnesses assembled at the ‘God’s Way of Life’ Convention, wholeheartedly agree that God’s way is the best way of life. We recognize, however, that the majority of mankind today feel differently. Human society has experimented with numerous concepts, philosophies, and religious ideas on what constitutes the best way of life. An honest look at human history and world conditions today bears out the truthfulness of the divine pronouncement recorded at Jeremiah 10:23: ‘It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.’
14 “Every day we see more evidence confirming the truthfulness of those words. For the most part, human society disregards God’s way of life. People pursue what seems right in their own eyes. The results have been tragic—the breakdown of family life, leaving children without guidance; the wholesale pursuit of materialism, ending in emptiness and frustration; the senseless crime and violence, claiming countless victims; the ethnic strife and wars, taking a ghastly toll in human lives; the rampant immorality, fueling an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases. These are but a few of the multitude of complex problems that interfere with the pursuit of happiness, peace, and security.
15, 16. Regarding God’s way of life, what determination was expressed in the resolution?
16 “First: We view ourselves as belonging to Jehovah God, having individually dedicated ourselves to him unconditionally, and we shall maintain unshakable faith in Jehovah’s provision of the ransom through his Son, Jesus Christ. We are determined to walk in God’s way of life, serving as his Witnesses and submitting to his sovereignty as expressed through the rulership of Jesus Christ.
17, 18. What position will Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to maintain as regards moral standards and the Christian brotherhood?
17 “Second: We will continue to adhere to the high moral and spiritual standards of the Bible. We are determined to refrain from walking as the nations walk in the unprofitableness of their minds. (Ephesians 4:17-19) It is our resolve to remain clean before Jehovah and without spot from this world.—James 1:27.
18 “Third: We will hold fast to our Scriptural position as a worldwide Christian brotherhood. We will maintain Christian neutrality among the nations, not allowing ourselves to be caught up in racial, national, or ethnic hatred or divisiveness.
19, 20. (a) What will Christian parents do? (b) How will all true Christians continue to identify themselves as Christ’s disciples?
19 “Fourth: We who are parents will inculcate God’s way in our children. We will set an example in Christian living, which includes regular Bible reading, family study, and a whole-souled share in the Christian congregation and in the field ministry.
20 “Fifth: All of us will strive to cultivate the godly qualities that our Creator exemplifies, and we will endeavor to imitate his personality and his ways, as Jesus did. (Ephesians 5:1) We are resolved to let all our affairs take place with love, thereby identifying ourselves as Christ’s disciples.—John 13:35.
21-23. What will Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to do, and of what are they convinced?
21 “Sixth: Without letup we will continue preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom, making disciples, and we will instruct them in God’s way of life and encourage them to receive further training at congregation meetings.—Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20; Hebrews 10:24, 25.
22 “Seventh: As individuals and as a religious organization, we will continue to put God’s will first in our lives. Using his Word, the Bible, as our guide, we will not deviate to the right or to the left, thus confirming that God’s way is far superior to the ways of the world. We are determined to pursue God’s way of life—firmly and loyally, now and forever!
23 “We make this resolution because we put full confidence in Jehovah’s loving promise that he who does the will of God remains forever. We make this resolution because we are convinced that living by Scriptural principles, counsel, and admonition makes for the best way of life today and lays a fine foundation for the future, so that we may get a firm hold on the real life. (1 Timothy 6:19; 2 Timothy 4:7b, 8) Above all, we make this resolution because we love Jehovah God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength!
24, 25. What was the response to the proposed resolution, and what is the determination of those who walk in Jehovah’s way?
24 “All in attendance at this convention who favor the adoption of this resolution, please say AYE!”
25 Hundreds of arenas and stadiums around the world reverberated as all in attendance answered with a thunderous “AYE!” Jehovah’s Witnesses have no doubt that they will continue to walk in Jehovah’s way. They have full trust in Jehovah and faith that he will fulfill his promises. They remain loyal to him, no matter what occurs. And they are determined to do his will.
“God Is for Us”
26. What is the happy situation of those who walk in Jehovah’s way?
26 Jehovah’s Witnesses remember the psalmist’s exhortation: “Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth.” (Psalm 37:34) They do not forget Paul’s encouraging words: “If God is for us, who will be against us? He who did not even spare his own Son but delivered him up for us all, why will he not also with him kindly give us all other things?” (Romans 8:31, 32) Yes, if we keep walking in Jehovah’s way, he will furnish us “all things richly for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17) What better place can there be than where we are—walking in Jehovah’s way, alongside our dear brothers and sisters. With Jehovah at our side, let us be determined to stay there and to endure to the end, fully confident that in his due time, we will see him fulfill every last one of his promises.—Titus 1:2.
Referring to the Greek word here translated “have a good time,” one expositor says that it refers to the dances that occurred at pagan festivals and adds: “Many of these dances, as is well known, were directly designed to provoke the most licentious passions.”
Do You Recall?
□ What is required for a Christian to walk in Jehovah’s way?
□ Why do we need to cultivate trust in Jehovah and loyalty to him?
□ What help is available as we walk in Jehovah’s way?
□ Give some highlights of the resolution adopted at the “God’s Way of Life” Conventions.
[Pictures on page 18]
An important resolution was adopted at the “God’s Way of Life” District and International Conventions