Remain Steadfast as Seeing the Invisible One!
“[Moses] continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.”—HEBREWS 11:27.
1. What remarkable statement about God did Jesus make in his Sermon on the Mount?
JEHOVAH is the invisible God. When Moses asked to see His glory, Jehovah responded: “You are not able to see my face, because no man may see me and yet live.” (Exodus 33:20) And the apostle John wrote: “No man has seen God at any time.” (John 1:18) When Jesus Christ was a man on earth, not even he could see God. In his Sermon on the Mount, however, Jesus said: “Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) What did Jesus mean?
2. Why are we unable to see God with our physical eyes?
2 The Scriptures identify Jehovah as an invisible Spirit. (John 4:24; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17) Hence, Jesus was not saying that we humans could actually see Jehovah with our physical eyes. True, anointed Christians will see Jehovah God in heaven after they are resurrected as spirit creatures. But humans who are “pure in heart” and have the hope of living forever on earth are also able to “see” God. How is this possible?
3. How can humans perceive some of God’s qualities?
3 We learn something about Jehovah by carefully observing the things he created. We may thus be impressed by his power and be moved to acknowledge him as God the Creator. (Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 4:11) In this regard, the apostle Paul wrote: “[God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.” (Romans 1:20) So Jesus’ words about seeing God include the ability to perceive some of Jehovah’s qualities. Such seeing is based on accurate knowledge and is perceived spiritually with ‘the eyes of the heart.’ (Ephesians 1:18) The words and deeds of Jesus also reveal much about God. Hence, Jesus said: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:9) Jesus perfectly reflected Jehovah’s personality. Thus, knowledge of Jesus’ life and teachings can help us to see, or perceive, some of God’s qualities.
Spirituality Is Vital
4. How is lack of spirituality manifested by many today?
4 Today, faith and true spirituality are rare indeed. “Faith is not a possession of all people,” said Paul. (2 Thessalonians 3:2) Many are completely engrossed in their personal pursuits and have no faith in God. Their sinful conduct and lack of spirituality prevent them from seeing him with eyes of understanding, for the apostle John wrote: “He that does bad has not seen God.” (3 John 11) Because such individuals do not see God with their physical eyes, they act as if he does not see what they are doing. (Ezekiel 9:9) They look down on spiritual things, so they cannot acquire “the very knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:5) Fittingly, then, Paul wrote: “A physical man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually.”—1 Corinthians 2:14.
5. Spiritually-minded people are aware of what fact?
5 If we are spiritually-minded, however, we will constantly be aware that although Jehovah is not a fault-finding God, he does know when we act on bad thoughts and desires. Indeed, “the ways of man are in front of the eyes of Jehovah, and he is contemplating all his tracks.” (Proverbs 5:21) If sin should overtake us, we are moved to repent and seek Jehovah’s forgiveness because we love him and do not want to pain him.—Psalm 78:41; 130:3.
What Makes Us Steadfast?
6. What does it mean to be steadfast?
6 Although Jehovah is invisible to our eyes, let us always remember that we are visible to him. Awareness of his existence and conviction that he is near to all those calling upon him will help make us steadfast—firm and unmovable in our faithfulness to him. (Psalm 145:18) We can be like Moses, of whom Paul wrote: “By faith he left Egypt, but not fearing the anger of the king, for he continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.”—Hebrews 11:27.
7, 8. What accounted for Moses’ courage before Pharaoh?
7 In carrying out his God-given commission to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, Moses often appeared before tyrannical Pharaoh in a royal court teeming with religious and military magnates. Likely, the palace walls were lined with idols. But Jehovah, though invisible, was real to Moses, unlike all the idols representing the lifeless gods of Egypt. No wonder Moses was not intimidated by Pharaoh!
8 What gave Moses the courage to appear before Pharaoh repeatedly? The Scriptures tell us that “the man Moses was by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground.” (Numbers 12:3) Clearly, his strong spirituality and the conviction that God was with him gave Moses the strength needed to represent ‘the invisible One’ before Egypt’s ruthless king. What are some ways in which those who “see” the invisible God manifest their faith in him today?
9. What is one way that we can continue steadfast?
9 One way to manifest faith and continue steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible is by preaching courageously despite persecution. Jesus warned his disciples: “You will be objects of hatred by all people because of my name.” (Luke 21:17) He also told them: “A slave is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20) True to Jesus’ words, soon after his death, his followers suffered persecution in the form of threats, arrests, and beatings. (Acts 4:1-3, 18-21; 5:17, 18, 40) Although there was a wave of persecution, Jesus’ apostles and other disciples kept on preaching the good news with boldness.—Acts 4:29-31.
10. How does our confidence in Jehovah’s protective care help us in the ministry?
10 Like Moses, Jesus’ early followers were not intimidated by their many visible enemies. Jesus’ disciples had faith in God, and as a result, they were able to endure the severe persecution they experienced. Yes, they continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible. Today, a constant awareness of Jehovah’s protective care emboldens us, giving us courage and fearlessness in our Kingdom-preaching work. God’s Word says that “trembling at men is what lays a snare, but he that is trusting in Jehovah will be protected.” (Proverbs 29:25) Consequently, we do not shrink back in fear of persecution; neither are we ashamed of our ministry. Our faith motivates us to witness courageously to neighbors, workmates, schoolmates, and others.—Romans 1:14-16.
The Invisible One Directs His People
11. According to Peter and Jude, how did some who were associated with the Christian congregation manifest a lack of spirituality?
11 Faith helps us to see Jehovah as the one directing his earthly organization. We thus avoid having a critical attitude toward those shouldering responsibility in the congregation. Both the apostle Peter and Jesus’ half brother Jude warned of certain ones who were so bereft of spirituality that they spoke abusively of men taking the lead among Christians. (2 Peter 2:9-12; Jude 8) Would such faultfinders have spoken in that way in the presence of Jehovah if he had been physically visible to them? Hardly! But because God is invisible, those fleshly men failed to consider their accountability to him.
12. What attitude should we display toward those who take the lead in the congregation?
12 True, the Christian congregation is made up of imperfect humans. Those who serve as elders make mistakes that at times may affect us personally. Nevertheless, Jehovah is using such men as shepherds of his flock. (1 Peter 5:1, 2) Spiritually-minded men and women recognize that this is one means by which Jehovah directs his people. Therefore, as Christians, we avoid a critical, complaining spirit and show respect for God’s theocratic arrangements. By being obedient to those taking the lead among us, we show that we see the One who is invisible.—Hebrews 13:17.
Seeing God as Our Grand Instructor
13, 14. What does seeing Jehovah as the Grand Instructor mean to you?
13 There is another area that requires spiritual perception. Isaiah prophesied: “Your eyes must become eyes seeing your Grand Instructor.” (Isaiah 30:20) It takes faith to recognize that Jehovah is the one teaching us through his earthly organization. (Matthew 24:45-47) Seeing God as our Grand Instructor means more than maintaining good Bible-study habits and attending Christian meetings regularly. It means taking full advantage of God’s spiritual provisions. For instance, we need to pay more than the usual attention to the guidance that Jehovah provides through Jesus so that we do not drift away spiritually.—Hebrews 2:1.
14 Sometimes it takes special effort to derive full benefit from spiritual food. For example, we may tend to skim over certain Bible accounts that we find difficult to understand. When reading the Watchtower and Awake! magazines, perhaps we even skip certain articles because the subject matter is not of particular interest to us. Or we may allow our minds to wander at Christian meetings. However, we can remain alert if we reason carefully on the points under consideration. Our deep appreciation for the spiritual instruction we receive shows that we recognize Jehovah as our Grand Instructor.
We Must Render an Account
15. How have some acted as though they were invisible to Jehovah?
15 Especially because wickedness is so prevalent in this “time of the end,” faith in the One who is invisible is vital. (Daniel 12:4) Dishonesty and sexual immorality run rampant. Of course, it is wise to remember that Jehovah observes our actions even when humans are unable to see us. Some have lost awareness of this fact. When others do not see them, they may engage in unscriptural conduct. For instance, some have not resisted the temptation to view harmful entertainment and pornography on the Internet, television, and other forms of modern technology. Since involvement in such things can take place in private, some have acted as though their conduct were invisible to Jehovah.
16. What should help us to comply with Jehovah’s lofty standards?
16 It is good to bear in mind the apostle Paul’s words: “Each of us will render an account for himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) We need to be aware that every time we sin, we are sinning against Jehovah. Knowing this should help us to comply with his lofty standards and to avoid unclean conduct. The Bible reminds us: “There is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting.” (Hebrews 4:13) True, we must render an account to God, but surely it is our deep love for Jehovah that is the principal reason why we do his will and abide by his righteous standards. Let us therefore exercise discretion in such matters as our choice of entertainment and our conduct with the opposite sex.
17. With what kind of interest does Jehovah observe us?
17 Jehovah is keenly interested in us, but that does not mean that he is waiting for us to make mistakes so that he can punish us. Rather, he observes us with loving concern, like that of a father who wants to reward his obedient children. How comforting it is to know that our heavenly Father is pleased by our faith and is “the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him”! (Hebrews 11:6) May we exercise implicit faith in Jehovah and “serve him with a complete heart.”—1 Chronicles 28:9.
18. Because Jehovah observes us and notes our faithfulness, what assurance do we receive from the Scriptures?
18 Proverbs 15:3 says: “The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, keeping watch upon the bad ones and the good ones.” Yes, God keeps watch upon bad people and deals with them according to their conduct. However, if we are among “the good ones,” we can be sure that Jehovah takes note of our acts of faithfulness. How faith-strengthening it is to know that ‘our labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord’ and that the one who is invisible will not ‘forget our work and the love we have shown for his name’!—1 Corinthians 15:58; Hebrews 6:10.
Inviting Jehovah to Examine Us
19. What are some of the benefits resulting from strong faith in Jehovah?
19 As Jehovah’s faithful servants, we are precious to him. (Matthew 10:29-31) Although he is invisible, he can be real to us, and we can cherish our precious relationship with him. Having such an attitude toward our heavenly Father brings us many benefits. Our strong faith helps us to have a clean heart and a good conscience before Jehovah. Faith without hypocrisy also prevents us from leading a double life. (1 Timothy 1:5, 18, 19) Our unwavering faith in God sets a good example and can have a positive effect on those around us. (1 Timothy 4:12) Moreover, such faith promotes godly conduct, making Jehovah’s heart rejoice.—Proverbs 27:11.
20, 21. (a) Why is it desirable to have Jehovah’s watchful eye upon us? (b) How may we apply Psalm 139:23, 24 to ourselves?
20 If we are truly wise, we are glad to have Jehovah keep watch over us. Not only do we want him to see us but we also desire that he make a thorough examination of our thoughts and actions. In prayer, we do well to invite Jehovah to search through us and discern whether we have any improper inclinations. He can certainly help us to cope with our problems and to make any needed adjustments. Appropriately, the psalmist David sang: “Search through me, O God, and know my heart. Examine me, and know my disquieting thoughts, and see whether there is in me any painful way, and lead me in the way of time indefinite.”—Psalm 139:23, 24.
21 David pleaded that Jehovah search through him to see if there was any “painful way” in him. Like the psalmist, do we not yearn for God to search our hearts and see whether we have improper motives? In faith, then, let us ask Jehovah to examine us. But what if we are troubled by anxiety over some error or there is something hurtful within us? Then let us continue to pray earnestly to our loving God, Jehovah, and humbly submit to the direction of his holy spirit and the counsel of his Word. We can be confident that he will come to our assistance and will help us to pursue a course that will lead to everlasting life.—Psalm 40:11-13.
22. What should be our determination with respect to the One who is invisible?
22 Yes, Jehovah will bless us with eternal life if we meet his requirements. Of course, we must acknowledge his power and authority, even as the apostle Paul did when he wrote: “To the King of eternity, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17) May we always display such heartfelt reverence for Jehovah. And come what may, let us never waver in our determination to continue steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.
How Would You Answer?
• How is it possible for humans to see God?
• If Jehovah is real to us, how will we act when persecuted?
• What does it mean to see Jehovah as our Grand Instructor?
• Why should we desire that Jehovah examine us?
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Moses, not intimidated by Pharaoh, acted as if he could see Jehovah, the invisible God
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Let us never act as if Jehovah cannot see what we do
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We earnestly seek knowledge of God because we see him as our Grand Instructor