Keep On Serving Jehovah With a Steadfast Heart
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.”—PSALM 57:7.
1. Why can we have conviction like that of David?
JEHOVAH can make us steadfast in the Christian faith, so that we can cling to true Christianity as his dedicated servants. (Romans 14:4) Therefore, we can have conviction like that of the psalmist David, who was moved to sing: “My heart is steadfast, O God.” (Psalm 108:1) If our heart is steadfast, we will be motivated to fulfill our dedication to God. And by looking to him for guidance and strength, we can prove to be immovable, firm in determination and belief as integrity keepers, “always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 15:58.
2, 3. What is the import of Paul’s exhortations recorded at 1 Corinthians 16:13?
2 In exhortations addressed to Jesus’ followers in ancient Corinth but certainly applicable to present-day Christians, the apostle Paul said: “Stay awake, stand firm in the faith, carry on as men, grow mighty.” (1 Corinthians 16:13) In Greek each of these imperatives is in the present tense, thus urging continuous action. What is the import of this admonition?
3 We can “stay awake” spiritually by opposing the Devil and staying close to God. (James 4:7, 8) Reliance upon Jehovah enables us to keep our ranks unbroken and to ‘stand firm in the Christian faith.’ We—including the many women among us—“carry on as men” by serving God courageously as Kingdom proclaimers. (Psalm 68:11) We “grow mighty” by continually looking to our heavenly Father for strength to do his will.—Philippians 4:13.
4. What led up to our baptism as Christians?
4 We took our stand for the true faith when we made an unreserved dedication to Jehovah and symbolized it by undergoing water immersion. But what led up to our baptism? First we took in accurate knowledge of God’s Word. (John 17:3) This built faith and moved us to repent, manifesting true sorrow over past wrongdoing. (Acts 3:19; Hebrews 11:6) Next came our conversion, for we turned away from wrong practices in order to pursue a life in harmony with God’s will. (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23, 24) This was followed by a wholehearted dedication to Jehovah in prayer. (Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 2:21) We made request to God for a good conscience and were baptized in symbol of our dedication to him. (1 Peter 3:21) Bearing these steps in mind will help us to remain focused on the need for continuous effort to live up to our dedication and keep on serving Jehovah with a steadfast heart.
Continue Your Quest for Accurate Knowledge
5. Why should we continue to take in Scriptural knowledge?
5 To live up to our dedication to God, we must continue to gain faith-building Scriptural knowledge. What a delight it was to take in spiritual food when we first became acquainted with God’s truth! (Matthew 24:45-47) Those “meals” were delicious—and they nourished us well spiritually. Now it is essential to keep on taking in rich spiritual food so that we maintain a steadfast heart as Jehovah’s dedicated servants.
6. How may you have been helped to develop heartfelt appreciation for Bible truth?
6 Effort is needed to acquire further knowledge of the Scriptures. It is like searching for hidden treasures—something that calls for exertion. But how rewarding it is to find “the very knowledge of God”! (Proverbs 2:1-6) When a Kingdom publisher first studied the Bible with you, he or she may have used the book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life. Considerable time may have been taken to cover each chapter, perhaps in more than one session. You benefited when cited scriptures were read and discussed. If a point was hard to grasp, it was explained. The one conducting your Bible study prepared well, prayed for God’s spirit, and helped you to develop heartfelt gratitude for the truth.
7. What qualifies a person to teach God’s truth to others?
7 This effort was appropriate, for Paul wrote: “Let anyone who is being orally taught the word share in all good things with the one who gives such oral teaching.” (Galatians 6:6) Here the Greek text indicates that the teachings of God’s Word were sounded down into the mind and heart of the one “being orally taught.” Your being taught that way qualifies you to be a teacher of still others. (Acts 18:25) To be faithful to your dedication, you must maintain your spiritual health and steadfastness by continual study of God’s Word.—1 Timothy 4:13; Titus 1:13; 2:2.
Remember Your Repentance and Conversion
8. How is it possible to maintain godly conduct?
8 Do you recall the relief you felt when you learned the truth, repented, and then had a sense of God’s forgiveness based on faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice? (Psalm 32:1-5; Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18) Surely you do not want to return to a sinful life. (2 Peter 2:20-22) Among other things, regular prayer to Jehovah will help you to maintain godly conduct, live up to your dedication, and keep on serving Jehovah faithfully.—2 Peter 3:11, 12.
9. Having turned away from sinful practices, what course should we pursue?
9 Having converted by turning away from sinful practices, continue to seek God’s help in keeping your heart steadfast. In effect, you were going down the wrong highway but consulted a reliable map and began to travel on the right road. Do not lose your way now. Keep relying on God’s guidance, and be determined to stay on the road to life.—Isaiah 30:20, 21; Matthew 7:13, 14.
Never Forget Your Dedication and Baptism
10. What points should we keep in mind regarding our dedication to God?
10 Bear in mind that you made a dedication to Jehovah in prayer, with an eternity of faithful service in view. (Jude 20, 21) Dedication signifies a setting apart, or a separation, for a sacred purpose. (Leviticus 15:31; 22:2) Your dedication was neither a temporary agreement nor a commitment to men. It was a permanent dedication to the Universal Sovereign, and living up to it requires loyalty to God for life. Yes, ‘live or die, we belong to Jehovah.’ (Romans 14:7, 8) Our happiness depends on our submission to his will and our continuing to serve him with a steadfast heart.
11. Why should you remember your baptism and its significance?
11 Always remember your baptism in symbol of your wholehearted dedication to God. It was no forced baptism, for you made the decision on your own. Are you now determined to exercise your will in harmony with the divine will for the rest of your life? You made a request to God for a good conscience and were baptized in symbol of your dedication to him. Preserve that good conscience by fulfilling your dedication, and the rich blessing of Jehovah will rest upon you.—Proverbs 10:22.
Your Will Plays a Part
12, 13. How is our own will related to dedication and baptism?
12 Dedication and baptism have, indeed, brought great blessings to millions of people throughout the earth. When we symbolize our dedication to God by undergoing water baptism, we die with respect to our past course of life but not with respect to our own will. As properly instructed believers, we actually exercised our own will when we made a dedication to God in prayer and got baptized. The course of dedication and baptism requires that we determine what God’s will is and then deliberately choose to do it. (Ephesians 5:17) Thus we imitate Jesus, who exercised his will when he laid aside his carpenter’s tools, got baptized, and devoted himself fully to the doing of his heavenly Father’s will.—Psalm 40:7, 8; John 6:38-40.
13 Jehovah God purposed that his Son would be made “perfect through sufferings.” Jesus therefore had to exercise his will so as to endure such sufferings in faithfulness. To that end, he offered up “supplications and also petitions . . . with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear.” (Hebrews 2:10, 18; 5:7, 8) If we display similar reverential fear of God, we too are sure to be “favorably heard,” and we can be confident that Jehovah will make us steadfast as his dedicated Witnesses.—Isaiah 43:10.
You Can Maintain a Steadfast Heart
14. Why should we read the Bible daily?
14 What will help you to maintain a steadfast heart and thus live up to your dedication to God? With the purpose of taking in ever-increasing knowledge of God’s Word, read the Bible daily. This is something that “the faithful and discreet slave” constantly urges us to do. Such counsel is given because living up to our dedication requires that we keep on walking in God’s truth. If Jehovah’s organization knowingly endorsed false teachings, advice to read the Bible would never be given to Jehovah’s Witnesses and those to whom they preach.
15. (a) What should be considered when making decisions? (b) Why can it be said that secular employment is a Christian’s avocation?
15 When making decisions, always consider how they may affect the fulfilling of your dedication to Jehovah. This may relate to your secular work. Do you endeavor to make it help you in advancing true worship? Although employers in general find that dedicated Christians are dependable and efficient, they also note that Witnesses of Jehovah are not consumed by ambition to get ahead in the world and are not competing with others for the most lucrative positions. This is because the goal of the Witnesses is not the attainment of wealth, fame, prestige, or power. For those who are living up to their dedication to God, the most important thing is doing the divine will. A secular job that enables them to obtain life’s necessities is an avocation, an occupation of secondary importance. Like the apostle Paul, their vocation, or chief work, is the Christian ministry. (Acts 18:3, 4; 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 8; 1 Timothy 5:8) Do you keep Kingdom interests first in your life?—Matthew 6:25-33.
16. What can we do if undue anxiety is making it difficult to live up to our dedication to God?
16 Some may have been nearly overwhelmed by various anxieties before they learned the truth. But how their heart welled up with joy, gratitude, and love for God when they embraced the Kingdom hope! Reflecting on the blessings they have enjoyed since then may well help them to live up to their dedication to Jehovah. On the other hand, what if undue anxiety over problems common to life in this system now threatens to choke out “the word of God,” just as thorns may prevent seedlings from reaching fruitful maturity? (Luke 8:7, 11, 14; Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:18, 19) If you sense that this is beginning to happen to you or your family, cast your anxiety upon Jehovah and pray that he will help you to grow in love and appreciation. If you throw your burden upon him, he will sustain you and give you the strength to keep on serving him happily with a steadfast heart.—Psalm 55:22; Philippians 4:6, 7; Revelation 2:4.
17. How is it possible to cope with severe trials?
17 Keep on praying to Jehovah God regularly, even as you prayed when making your dedication to him. (Psalm 65:2) When tempted to do wrong or when faced with a severe trial, seek God’s guidance and his help to follow it. Bear in mind the need for faith, for the disciple James wrote: “If any one of you is lacking in wisdom [to cope with a trial], let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him. But let him keep on asking in faith, not doubting at all, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and blown about. In fact, let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from Jehovah; he is an indecisive man, unsteady in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8) If a trial seems overwhelming, we can be sure of this: “No temptation has taken you except what is common to men. But God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.”—1 Corinthians 10:13.
18. What can we do if a serious concealed sin is weakening our resolve to live up to our dedication to Jehovah?
18 What if a serious concealed sin is bothering your conscience and weakening your resolve to live up to your dedication to God? If you are repentant, you can take comfort in the knowledge that Jehovah ‘will not despise a heart broken and crushed.’ (Psalm 51:17) Seek the help of loving Christian elders, knowing that they—in imitation of Jehovah—will not treat lightly your desire to experience the restoration of a good relationship with your heavenly Father. (Psalm 103:10-14; James 5:13-15) Then with a renewal of spiritual strength and a steadfast heart, you will be able to make straight paths for your feet and find it possible to live up to your dedication to God.—Hebrews 12:12, 13.
Keep On Serving With a Steadfast Heart
19, 20. Why is it vital that we keep on living up to our dedication?
19 In these critical times, we must work hard to live up to our dedication and keep on serving God with a steadfast heart. Jesus said: “He that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13) Since we are living in “the last days,” the end can come at any time. (2 Timothy 3:1) Moreover, none of us can be sure that we will be alive tomorrow. (James 4:13, 14) So it is vital that we keep on living up to our dedication today!
20 The apostle Peter emphasized this in his second letter. He showed that even as the ungodly perished in the Flood, so the symbolic earth, or wicked human society, will be destroyed during “Jehovah’s day.” Peter therefore exclaimed: “What sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion”! He also urged them: “Beloved ones, having this advance knowledge, be on your guard that you may not be led away [by false teachers and ungodly men] and fall from your own steadfastness.” (2 Peter 3:5-17) How tragic it would be if a baptized person were to be led astray and come to the end of his or her life as one who failed to maintain a steadfast heart!
21, 22. How have the words of Psalm 57:7 proved true in the case of David and of true Christians?
21 Your determination to live up to your dedication to God may well be strengthened if you keep in mind the happy day of your baptism and seek God’s help so that your words and deeds will make his heart rejoice. (Proverbs 27:11) Jehovah never fails his people, and surely we should be faithful to him. (Psalm 94:14) He showed mercy and pity in thwarting the enemies’ plans and delivering David. Grateful for this, David declared the firmness, the immovableness, of his love for his Deliverer. With deep feeling, he sang: “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make melody.”—Psalm 57:7.
22 Like David, true Christians have not budged from their devotion to God. With steadfast hearts, they ascribe their deliverance and preservation to Jehovah, to whom they joyfully sing praises. If your heart is steadfast, it will be reliant upon God, and with his help you will be able to fulfill your dedication. Yes, you can be like “the righteous one” concerning whom the psalmist sang: “He will not be afraid even of bad news. His heart is steadfast, made reliant upon Jehovah.” (Psalm 112:6, 7) With faith in God and full reliance upon him, you can live up to your dedication and keep on serving Jehovah with a steadfast heart.
Do You Recall?
• Why should we continue to take in accurate knowledge of the Bible?
• Why should we keep in mind our repentance and conversion?
• How do we benefit from remembering our dedication and baptism?
• What will help us to keep on serving Jehovah with a steadfast heart?
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Making the Christian ministry our chief work helps us to keep on serving Jehovah with a steadfast heart
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Are you maintaining your spiritual health by daily reading God’s Word?