Search for God With Your Heart and Mind
True Christianity encourages the use of both the heart and the mind in building faith that pleases God.
IN FACT, Christianity’s founder, Jesus Christ, taught that we must love God with our “whole mind,” or intellect, in addition to our “whole heart” and “whole soul.” (Matthew 22:37) Yes, our mental faculties must play a key role in our worship.
When inviting his listeners to reflect on his teaching, Jesus often said: “What do you think?” (Matthew 17:25; 18:12; 21:28; 22:42) In like manner, the apostle Peter wrote to fellow believers in order to ‘arouse their clear thinking faculties.’ (2 Peter 3:1) The most widely traveled early missionary, the apostle Paul, exhorted Christians to use their “power of reason” and to “prove to [themselves] the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1, 2) Only by such a thorough, careful approach to their beliefs can Christians build faith that is pleasing to God and is equal to the tests that arise in life.—Hebrews 11:1, 6.
To help others build such faith, early Christian evangelizers “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving by references” the things taught. (Acts 17:1-3) Such a reasonable approach elicited a fine response from honesthearted ones. For example, a number of people in the Macedonian city of Beroea “received the word [of God] with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things [explained by Paul and his companions] were so.” (Acts 17:11) Two things are worth noting here. First, the Beroeans were eager to listen to God’s Word; second, they did not blindly assume that what they heard was correct, but they referred back to the Scriptures. The Christian missionary Luke humbly commended the Beroeans for this, calling them “noble-minded.” Do you reflect such a noble mind in your approach to spiritual matters?
Mind and Heart Cooperate
As mentioned earlier, true worship involves both the mind and the heart. (Mark 12:30) Think back to the illustration in the preceding article of the hired painter who used the wrong colors when painting a house. If he had listened carefully to his employer’s instructions, he could have put his heart and soul into his work and had confidence that his work would have the owner’s approval. The same applies to our worship.
“The true worshipers,” Jesus said, “will worship the Father with spirit and truth.” (John 4:23) Hence, the apostle Paul wrote: “That is also why we . . . have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him.” (Colossians 1:9, 10) Such “accurate knowledge” enables sincere individuals to put their heart and soul into their worship with full confidence because they “worship what [they] know.”—John 4:22.
For these reasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not baptize infants or newly interested people who have not carefully studied the Scriptures. Jesus commissioned his followers: “Make disciples of people of all the nations, . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) Only after having gained an accurate knowledge of God’s will can sincere Bible students make an informed decision about the matter of worship. Are you striving to gain such an accurate knowledge?
Understanding the Lord’s Prayer
To see the difference between having an accurate knowledge of the Bible and having a passing acquaintance with what it says, let us consider what is commonly called the Our Father, or the Lord’s Prayer, recorded at Matthew 6:9-13.
Millions regularly recite Jesus’ model prayer in church. But how many have been taught its meaning, especially the first part of the prayer dealing with God’s name and Kingdom? These subjects are so important that Jesus placed them first in the prayer.
It begins: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified,” meaning hallowed, or made holy. Note that Jesus said to pray for God’s name to be sanctified. To many people, that raises at least two questions. First, what is God’s name? And second, why does it need to be sanctified?
The answer to the first question can be found in over 7,000 places in the Bible in its original languages. One is at Psalm 83:18: “That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” Concerning the divine name, Jehovah, Exodus 3:15 says: “This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.”* But why does the name of God, which is the very epitome of purity and holiness, need to be sanctified? Because it has been reproached and maligned from the very beginning of human history.
In Eden, God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 2:17) Satan brazenly contradicted God, saying to Eve: “You positively will not die.” Hence, Satan accused God of lying. Yet, he did not rest there. He heaped still more reproach on God’s name, telling Eve that God was unjustly withholding valuable knowledge from her. “For God knows that in the very day of your eating from [the tree of the knowledge of good and bad] your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.” What slander!—Genesis 3:4, 5.
By partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve took their stand with Satan. Most humans since then, knowingly or not, have added to that original reproach by rejecting God’s righteous standards. (1 John 5:19) People still malign God by blaming him for their suffering—even though it may be due to their own bad ways. “A man’s own folly wrecks his life, and then he bears a grudge against the Lord,” says Proverbs 19:3. (The New English Bible) Can you see why Jesus, who truly loved his Father, prayed that His name be sanctified?
“Let Your Kingdom Come”
After praying for God’s name to be sanctified, Jesus said: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:10) Concerning that passage, we may ask: ‘What is God’s Kingdom? And what does its coming have to do with God’s will being done on earth?’
In the Bible, the word “kingdom” basically means a “rulership by a king.” Logically, then, God’s Kingdom would refer to a rulership, or government, by God, with a king of his choosing. This King is none other than the resurrected Jesus Christ—the “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:16; Daniel 7:13, 14) Concerning God’s Messianic Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ, the prophet Daniel wrote: “In the days of those kings [human governments now ruling] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite,” that is, forever.—Daniel 2:44.
Yes, God’s Kingdom will take complete control of the earth, ridding it of all the wicked and ruling “to times indefinite,” that is, forever. In this way, God’s Kingdom is the means by which Jehovah sanctifies his name, clearing it of all the lying reproach of Satan and wicked humans.—Ezekiel 36:23.
Like all governments, God’s Kingdom has subjects. Who are these? The Bible answers: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11) Similarly, Jesus said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” Of course, these ones have accurate knowledge of God, which is a requirement for life.—Matthew 5:5; John 17:3.
Can you imagine the whole earth filled with meek, mild-tempered people who truly love God and love one another? (1 John 4:7, 8) That is what Jesus prayed for when he said: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” Do you appreciate why Jesus taught his followers to pray that way? More important, do you see how that prayer’s fulfillment may affect you personally?
Millions Are Now Reasoning on the Scriptures
Jesus foretold a global campaign of spiritual education that would announce God’s incoming Kingdom. He said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end [of the present world, or system] will come.”—Matthew 24:14.
Around the world some six million of Jehovah’s Witnesses are sharing that good news with their neighbors. They invite you to learn more about God and his Kingdom by “carefully examining the Scriptures,” using your power of reason. Doing so will fortify your faith and make your eyes glow with the hope of life on a paradise earth, which will be “filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—Isaiah 11:6-9.
Some scholars prefer the rendering “Yahweh” instead of “Jehovah.” However, most modern Bible translators have erased God’s name from their versions in any form, replacing it with the generic titles “Lord” or “God.” For an in-depth discussion of God’s name, please see the brochure The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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IMITATE THE GREAT TEACHER
Jesus often taught by focusing on specific Bible topics. For example, after his resurrection he explained his role in God’s purpose to two disciples who were in a quandary over his death. Luke 24:27 says: “Commencing at Moses and all the Prophets he interpreted to them things pertaining to himself in all the Scriptures.”
Note that Jesus chose a specific subject—“himself,” the Messiah—and that he quoted from “all the Scriptures” in his discussion. In effect, Jesus put relevant Bible texts together like the pieces of a puzzle, which enabled his disciples to see a clear pattern of spiritual truth. (2 Timothy 1:13) As a result, they were not simply enlightened but deeply moved. The account tells us: “They said to each other: ‘Were not our hearts burning as he was speaking to us on the road, as he was fully opening up the Scriptures to us?’”—Luke 24:32.
Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to imitate Jesus’ methods in their ministry. Their prime study aids are the brochure What Does God Require of Us? and the book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life. These address dozens of interesting Bible topics, such as: “Who Is God?,” “Why Does God Permit Suffering?,” “How Can You Find the True Religion?,” “These Are the Last Days!,” and “Building a Family That Honors God.” Each lesson contains numerous scriptures.
You are welcome to contact Jehovah’s Witnesses in your community or to write to the address on page 2 of this magazine for a free home Bible study of these and other subjects.
Reach the heart of your student by focusing on specific Bible topics
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Do you grasp the meaning of Jesus’ model prayer?
“Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified . . .”
“Let your [Messianic] kingdom come . . .”
“Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth”