How Jehovah Is Leading Us
“Lead me in the path of uprightness.”—PSALM 27:11.
1, 2. (a) How is Jehovah leading his people today? (b) What is involved in taking full advantage of the meetings?
JEHOVAH is the Source of light and truth, as we learned in the preceding article. His Word lights our way as we travel along the path of uprightness. Jehovah leads us by instructing us in his ways. (Psalm 119:105) Like the psalmist of old, we gratefully respond to God’s leadings and pray: “Instruct me, O Jehovah, in your way, and lead me in the path of uprightness.”—Psalm 27:11.
2 One way in which Jehovah provides instruction today is through Christian meetings. Do we take full advantage of this loving provision by (1) attending regularly, (2) listening carefully to the program, and (3) participating readily in parts involving the audience? Furthermore, do we respond gratefully when we receive suggestions that will help us to remain “in the path of uprightness”?
How Is Your Meeting Attendance?
3. How did one full-time servant develop the fine habit of regular meeting attendance?
3 Some Kingdom publishers have been attending meetings regularly since childhood. “When my sisters and I were growing up in the 1930’s,” recalls one full-time minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses, “we did not have to ask our parents if we were going to the meeting. We knew that we were going unless we were ill. Our family just did not miss meetings.” Like the prophetess Anna, this sister is “never missing” from Jehovah’s place of worship.—Luke 2:36, 37.
4-6. (a) Why do some Kingdom publishers miss meetings? (b) Why is it critical to attend meetings?
4 Are you among those who attend Christian meetings regularly, or have you become sporadic in this respect? Some Christians who thought that they were doing quite well decided to make sure. For a few weeks, they made a note of every meeting they attended. When they reviewed the record at the end of the designated period, they were surprised at the number of meetings they had missed.
5 ‘It is no wonder,’ someone might say. ‘People are under so much pressure today that it is not easy for them to be regular at meetings.’ It is certainly true that we are living in stressful times. What is more, the pressure will undoubtedly increase. (2 Timothy 3:13) But does that not make it all the more critical to attend meetings regularly? Without a steady diet of wholesome spiritual food to sustain us, we cannot hope to withstand the pressure that this system brings to bear. Why, without regular association we might be tempted to forsake “the path of the righteous” altogether! (Proverbs 4:18) True, when we arrive home at the end of a hard day, we may not always feel inclined to attend a meeting. When we do attend despite our fatigue, however, we benefit ourselves and we encourage our fellow Christians at the Kingdom Hall.
6 Hebrews 10:25 suggests another important reason why we should be regular in meeting attendance. There the apostle Paul exhorts fellow Christians to gather themselves together ‘all the more so as they behold the day drawing near.’ Yes, we must not lose sight of the fact that “the day of Jehovah” is drawing near. (2 Peter 3:12) If we were to conclude that the end of this system is a long way off, we might begin allowing personal pursuits to crowd out necessary spiritual activities, such as meeting attendance. Then, as Jesus warned, ‘suddenly that day could be instantly upon us.’—Luke 21:34.
Be a Good Listener
7. Why is it important for children to pay attention at meetings?
7 It is not enough merely to attend the meetings. We must listen carefully, paying attention to what is said there. (Proverbs 7:24) This includes our children. When a child goes to school, he is expected to pay attention to the teacher, even when a particular subject does not appeal to him or seems beyond his grasp. The teacher knows that if the child tries to pay attention, he will derive at least some benefit from the lesson. Is it not reasonable, then, for school-age children to pay attention to the instruction provided at congregation meetings rather than be allowed to fall asleep as soon as the meeting begins? True, among the precious truths found in the Scriptures are “some things hard to understand.” (2 Peter 3:16) But we should not underestimate a child’s ability to learn. God does not. In Bible times, he commanded his young servants to ‘listen and learn and fear Jehovah and take care to carry out all the words of this law,’ some of which doubtless were hard for children to understand. (Deuteronomy 31:12; compare Leviticus 18:1-30.) Does Jehovah expect any less of children today?
8. What steps do some parents take to help their children to be attentive at meetings?
8 Christian parents realize that their children’s spiritual needs are partly filled by what they learn at the meetings. Hence, some parents arrange for their children to take a nap before the meetings so that they will arrive at the Kingdom Hall refreshed and ready to learn. Certain parents may strictly limit or even wisely rule out television viewing for their children on meeting nights. (Ephesians 5:15, 16) And such parents keep distractions to a minimum, encouraging their children to listen and to learn, in accordance with their age and ability.—Proverbs 8:32.
9. What may help us develop our ability to listen?
9 Jesus was speaking to adults when he said: “Pay attention to how you listen.” (Luke 8:18) These days, that is often easier said than done. Admittedly, active listening is hard work, but the ability to listen can be developed. As you listen to a Bible talk or a meeting part, try to isolate the main ideas. Anticipate what the speaker is going to say next. Look for points that you can use in your ministry or apply in your life. Mentally review the points as they are being considered. Take brief notes.
10, 11. How have some parents helped their children to become better listeners, and what methods have you found helpful?
10 Good listening habits are best learned at an early age. Even before they learn to read and write, some preschoolers are encouraged by their parents to take “notes” during meetings. They put a mark on a piece of paper when such familiar words as “Jehovah,” “Jesus,” or “Kingdom” are used. In this way, children can learn to concentrate on what is being said from the platform.
11 Even older children sometimes need encouragement to pay attention. Noticing that his 11-year-old son was daydreaming during a Christian convention, one family head handed the lad a Bible and asked him to look up the scriptures as they were cited by the speakers. The father, who was taking notes, looked on as his son held the Bible. Thereafter, the boy followed the convention program with more enthusiasm.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
12, 13. Why is it important to participate in congregational singing?
12 King David sang: “I will march around your altar, O Jehovah, to cause thanksgiving to be heard aloud.” (Psalm 26:6, 7) Meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses provide splendid opportunities for us to express our faith aloud. One way we can do this is by sharing in congregational singing. This is an important aspect of our worship, but it can easily be neglected.
13 Some children who cannot yet read memorize the lyrics of the Kingdom songs that will be used at the meetings each week. They are thrilled to be able to sing along with the grown-ups. As children grow a little older, however, they may be less inclined to join in singing Kingdom songs. Some adults are also shy about singing at the meetings. Yet, singing is part of our worship, just as the field ministry is part of our worship. (Ephesians 5:19) We do our best to praise Jehovah in the field ministry. Can we not also glorify him by lifting our voices—whether melodious or not—in heartfelt songs of praise?—Hebrews 13:15.
14. Why does the material we study at congregation meetings deserve careful advance preparation?
14 We also bring praise to God when we make upbuilding comments during the parts of our meetings that call for audience participation. This requires preparation. It takes time to ponder the deeper aspects of God’s Word. The apostle Paul, an avid student of the Scriptures, realized this. He wrote: “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!” (Romans 11:33) Family heads, it is vital that you help each member of your family to search into God’s wisdom, as revealed in the Scriptures. Set aside some time during the family Bible study to explain difficult points and to help your family prepare for the meetings.
15. What suggestions may help one to comment at meetings?
15 If you would like to comment more frequently at meetings, why not work out in advance something you wish to say? Nothing elaborate is necessary. An appropriate Bible text read with conviction or a few well-chosen words spoken from the heart will be appreciated. Some publishers ask the study conductor to reserve the first comment on a specific paragraph for them, so that they will not miss the opportunity to express their faith.
The Inexperienced Become Wise
16, 17. What counsel did one elder give to a ministerial servant, and why was it effective?
16 At meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are often reminded to read God’s Word daily. Doing so is refreshing. It also helps us make wise decisions, correct personality flaws, resist temptations, and recover our spiritual balance if we have taken a step in the wrong direction.—Psalm 19:7.
17 Experienced congregation elders stand ready to provide Scriptural counsel that is tailored to our needs. All we have to do is “draw it up” by seeking their Bible-based counsel. (Proverbs 20:5) One day an enthusiastic young ministerial servant asked an elder for suggestions on how to become more useful in the congregation. The elder, who knew the young man well, opened his Bible to 1 Timothy 3:3, which states that appointed men must be “reasonable.” He kindly pointed out ways that the young man could display reasonableness in his relations with others. Was the young brother offended by the frank counsel he received? Not at all! “The elder used the Bible,” he explained, “so I realized that the counsel was coming from Jehovah.” The ministerial servant gratefully applied the counsel and is making fine progress.
18. (a) What helped one young Christian to resist temptation in school? (b) What Bible texts do you call to mind when faced with temptation?
18 God’s Word can also help young people to “flee from the desires incidental to youth.” (2 Timothy 2:22) A young Witness of Jehovah who recently graduated from high school was able to resist temptation throughout her school years by meditating on and applying certain Bible texts. She often thought of the counsel recorded at Proverbs 13:20: “He that is walking with wise persons will become wise.” Accordingly, she was careful to cultivate friendships only with those who deeply respect Scriptural principles. She reasoned: “I am no better than anyone else. If I become involved with the wrong crowd, I will want to please my friends, and that could lead to trouble.” Paul’s counsel recorded at 2 Timothy 1:8 also helped her. He wrote: “Do not become ashamed of the witness about our Lord, . . . but take your part in suffering evil for the good news.” In harmony with that counsel, she boldly shared her Bible-based beliefs with her classmates on every appropriate occasion. Whenever she was assigned to present an oral report to the class, she chose a subject that allowed her to give a tactful witness regarding God’s Kingdom.
19. Why was one young man unable to resist the pressures of this world, but what gave him spiritual strength?
19 If ever we should stray from “the path of the righteous,” God’s Word can help us to correct our steps. (Proverbs 4:18) A young man living in Africa learned this firsthand. When one of Jehovah’s Witnesses visited him, he accepted a Bible study. He enjoyed what he was learning but soon became involved in bad association at school. In time, he drifted into an immoral life-style. “My conscience kept tormenting me, and I had to stop attending meetings,” he admits. Later, he began to attend meetings again. The young man made this revealing comment: “I discovered that the main reason for all of this was that I was starved spiritually. I did no personal study. That is why I could not stand up to temptation. Then I started to read The Watchtower and Awake! Gradually, I regained my spiritual strength and cleaned up my life. This was a good witness to those who noticed the changes I made. I got baptized, and now I am happy.” What gave this young man the strength to overcome his fleshly weaknesses? He regained his spiritual strength by regular, personal Bible study.
20. How can a young person resist Satan’s assaults?
20 Christian youths, you are under attack today! If you are to resist Satan’s assaults, you must take in spiritual food regularly. The psalmist, evidently a young man himself, understood this. He thanked Jehovah for providing his Word, so that ‘a young man could cleanse his path.’—Psalm 119:9.
Wherever God Leads, We Will Follow
21, 22. Why should we not conclude that the way of the truth is too difficult?
21 Jehovah led the nation of Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land. The route he chose may have seemed needlessly arduous from a human perspective. Instead of taking the apparently easier, more direct route along the Mediterranean Sea, Jehovah led his people on a difficult desert route. This, however, was actually a kindness on God’s part. Although shorter, the sea route would have taken the Israelites through the land of the hostile Philistines. By choosing another route, Jehovah spared his people an early confrontation with the Philistines.
22 Similarly, the path along which Jehovah is leading us today may seem difficult at times. Each week, we have a full schedule of Christian activities, including congregation meetings, personal study, and field service. Other paths may seem easier. But only if we follow God’s lead will we arrive at the destination that we are working so hard to reach. Therefore, let us continue to take in vital instruction from Jehovah and remain on “the path of uprightness” forever!—Psalm 27:11.
Can You Explain?
• Why do we especially need to attend Christian meetings regularly?
• What can parents do to help their children pay attention at the meetings?
• What is involved in being a good listener?
• What can help us to comment at meetings?
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Attending Christian meetings helps us to keep Jehovah’s day in mind
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There are various ways to praise Jehovah at Christian meetings