Youths Who Make Jehovah’s Heart Rejoice
These study articles were prepared especially for youths among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Therefore, we encourage young ones to study this material carefully and to comment freely when it is considered at the congregation Watchtower Study.
“Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.”—Proverbs 27:11.
1, 2. (a) Explain whether mere attraction to the things of the world means that you are not cut out to be a Christian. (Romans 7:21) (b) What do you learn from Asaph’s example? (See box, page 13.)
IMAGINE that you are shopping for clothes. While browsing, you catch sight of a garment that immediately appeals to you. The color and style seem just right for you, and the price tag indicates that this is a real bargain. But then you take a closer look. Much to your surprise, you notice that the fabric is frayed at the edges, and the stitching is somewhat shoddy. The garment, while attractive, is cheaply made. Would you spend your money on such an inferior product?
2 Compare this to a situation that could confront you as a Christian youth. At first glance, the things of this world—much like that garment—might seem highly appealing. For instance, your schoolmates may go to exciting parties, take drugs, drink, date casually, and engage in premarital sex. Are you, on occasion, attracted to such a life-style? Do you long for just a taste of their so-called freedom? If so, do not hastily conclude that you are bad at heart and just not cut out to be a Christian. After all, the Bible acknowledges that the world can be powerfully enticing—even to a person who wants to please God.—2 Timothy 4:10.
3. (a) Why is it futile to pursue the things of the world? (b) How does one Christian describe the vanity of worldly pursuits?
3 Now please take a closer look, just as you would at an item of clothing that you were interested in buying. Ask yourself, ‘Of what quality is the fabric and stitching of this system of things?’ The Bible states that “the world is passing away.” (1 John 2:17) Any pleasure derived from it would be temporary at best. Furthermore, ungodly conduct has a high price tag. It is certainly no bargain. One Christian, who has had to endure what she calls “the pains resulting from a misspent youth,” says: “The world may appear to be glamorous and inviting. And it wants you to believe that you can have its form of fun without pain. But this simply isn’t possible. The world will use you, and when it is through, it will throw you away.”a Why waste your youth on such an inferior way of life?
Protection From “the Wicked One”
4, 5. (a) Shortly before his death, what did Jesus request in prayer to Jehovah? (b) Why was this an appropriate request?
4 Realizing that this system of things has nothing of quality to offer, young ones among Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to avoid friendship with this world. (James 4:4) Are you one of these faithful youths? If so, you are to be commended. Granted, it is not easy to resist peer pressure and to stand out as being different, but you have help.
5 Shortly before his death, Jesus prayed that Jehovah would “watch over” his disciples “because of the wicked one.” (John 17:15) Jesus made this request for good reason. He knew that the course of integrity would not be easy for his followers, regardless of their age. Why? For one thing, as Jesus acknowledged, his disciples would face a powerful, invisible enemy—“the wicked one,” Satan the Devil. The Bible says that this evil spirit creature “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.”—1 Peter 5:8.
6. How do we know that Satan has no compassion for young people?
6 Throughout history, Satan has taken sadistic delight in bringing the cruelest of atrocities upon humans. Consider the horrific calamities that Satan brought upon Job and his family. (Job 1:13-19; 2:7) Perhaps you can recall news events during your own lifetime that bear the stamp of Satan’s violent spirit. The Devil is on the prowl, and in his quest to devour, he shows no mercy to youths. At the turn of the first century C.E., for instance, Herod hatched a scheme to have put to death all boys in Bethlehem who were two years of age or younger. (Matthew 2:16) It was likely Satan who motivated Herod—all in an effort to destroy the child who would one day become God’s promised Messiah and bring God’s judgment upon Satan! (Genesis 3:15) Clearly, Satan has no soft spot for young people. His sole intention is to devour as many humans as possible. This is especially true now, for Satan has been cast out of heaven down to the earth, “having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Revelation 12:9, 12.
7. (a) How does Jehovah stand out in stark contrast with Satan? (b) How does Jehovah feel about your enjoying life?
7 In stark contrast with Satan, who has “great anger,” Jehovah has “tender compassion.” (Luke 1:78) He is the very epitome of love. In fact, this grand quality so characterizes our Creator that the Bible says: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) What a difference between the god of this system of things and the God you are privileged to worship! While Satan seeks to devour, Jehovah “does not desire any to be destroyed.” (2 Peter 3:9) He views every human life as precious—including yours. When Jehovah in his Word exhorts you to be no part of the world, he is not trying to stifle your enjoyment of life or restrict your freedom. (John 15:19) On the contrary, he is watching over you because of the wicked one. Your heavenly Father wants you to have something far better than the fleeting pleasures of this world. His desire is that you attain to “the real life”—everlasting life on a paradise earth. (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Jehovah wants you to succeed, and he is urging you on toward that goal. (1 Timothy 2:4) Furthermore, Jehovah extends to you a special invitation. What is it?
“Make My Heart Rejoice”
8, 9. (a) What gift can you present to Jehovah? (b) How does Satan taunt Jehovah, as illustrated in the case of Job?
8 Have you ever purchased a gift for a close friend and then watched your friend’s face beam with surprise and appreciation upon receiving it? You probably thought long and hard about what type of gift would be appropriate for that person. Now consider this question: What kind of gift can you offer your Creator, Jehovah God? At first, the very idea might sound absurd. What does the Almighty need from a mere human? What could you possibly give him that he does not already possess? The Bible answers at Proverbs 27:11: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.”
9 As you likely know from your study of the Bible, it is Satan the Devil who taunts Jehovah. He asserts that any who serve God do so, not out of love, but for selfish reasons. Let them suffer hardship, Satan claims, and they will quickly abandon true worship. Consider, for instance, what Satan said to Jehovah regarding the righteous man Job: “Have not you yourself put up a hedge about him and about his house and about everything that he has all around? The work of his hands you have blessed, and his livestock itself has spread abroad in the earth. But, for a change, thrust out your hand, please, and touch everything he has and see whether he will not curse you to your very face.”—Job 1:10, 11.
10. (a) How do we know that Satan called into question the integrity of more than just Job? (b) How are you involved in the issue of sovereignty?
10 As revealed in the Bible account, Satan called into question not only Job’s loyalty but also that of all others who serve God—including you. In fact, speaking of mankind in general, Satan said to Jehovah: “Everything that a man [not just Job but anyone] has he will give in behalf of his soul.” (Job 2:4) Do you see your role in this vital issue? As indicated at Proverbs 27:11, Jehovah is saying that there is something you can give to him—a basis for him to make a reply to his taunter, Satan. Imagine—the Universal Sovereign is calling upon you to share in addressing the greatest issue of all time. What an awesome responsibility and privilege is yours! Can you fulfill what Jehovah is asking of you? Job did. (Job 2:9, 10) So did Jesus as well as countless others throughout history, including many youths. (Philippians 2:8; Revelation 6:9) You can do the same. Make no mistake about it, though, there is no neutral ground in this matter. By your course of action, you will show that you support either Satan’s taunt or Jehovah’s reply. Which will you choose to uphold?
Jehovah Cares for You!
11, 12. Does it make a difference to Jehovah whether you choose to serve him or not? Explain.
11 Does it really matter to Jehovah which choice you make? Have not enough people already remained faithful for him to give an adequate reply to Satan? True, the Devil asserted that no one serves Jehovah out of love, a charge that has already been proved false. Still, Jehovah wants you to take his side on the issue of sovereignty because he cares about you as an individual. Jesus said: “It is not a desirable thing with my Father who is in heaven for one of these little ones to perish.”—Matthew 18:14.
12 Clearly, Jehovah is interested in the course you choose. More than that, he is affected by it. The Bible makes clear that Jehovah has deep feelings that are stirred by the good or the bad actions of humans. For example, when the Israelites repeatedly rebelled, Jehovah was “pained.” (Psalm 78:40, 41) Before the Deluge of Noah’s day, when “the badness of man was abundant,” Jehovah “felt hurt at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5, 6) Think about what this means. If you adopted a wrong course, you could cause your Creator to feel pain. This does not mean that God is weak or is ruled by emotion. Rather, he loves you and cares about your welfare. On the other hand, when you do what is right, Jehovah’s heart rejoices. He is happy not only because he has a further reply to give to Satan but also because he can now become your Rewarder. And that is something he wants to become. (Hebrews 11:6) What a loving Father you have in Jehovah God!
Rich Blessings Now
13. How does serving Jehovah bring blessings right now?
13 The blessings that come from serving Jehovah are not to be experienced only in the future. Many youths among Jehovah’s Witnesses are blessed with joy and satisfaction right now, and for good reason. “The orders from Jehovah are upright, causing the heart to rejoice,” wrote the psalmist. (Psalm 19:8) Better than any human, Jehovah knows what is good for us. Through the prophet Isaiah, Jehovah stated: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
14. How can Bible principles help you avoid the pain of debt?
14 Conforming to Bible principles will help you to avoid much pain and heartache. For example, the Bible says that those who have developed a love for money “have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.” (1 Timothy 6:9, 10) Have any of your peers experienced the harsh reality of this scripture? Some young men and women are heavily in debt simply because they must have the latest brand-name clothes and cutting-edge technological gadgets. Being saddled with long-term, high-interest payments for things you cannot really afford is a painful form of slavery!—Proverbs 22:7.
15. In what ways do Bible principles protect you from the pain resulting from sexual immorality?
15 Consider also the matter of sexual immorality. Throughout the world each year, countless unwed teens become pregnant. Some give birth to a child that they have neither the desire nor the ability to raise. Others submit to an abortion and pay the price of a tormented conscience. Then there are young men and women who contract a sexually transmitted disease, such as AIDS. For one who knows Jehovah, of course, the greatest consequence of all would be a damaged relationship with Jehovah.b (Galatians 5:19-21) For good reason, the Bible says: “Flee from fornication.”—1 Corinthians 6:18.
Serving “the Happy God”
16. (a) How do we know that Jehovah wants you to enjoy your youth? (b) Why does Jehovah set out guidelines for you to follow?
16 The Bible describes Jehovah as “the happy God.” (1 Timothy 1:11) He wants you to be happy too. In fact, his very own Word says: “Enjoy your youth. Be happy while you are still young.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9, Today’s English Version) But Jehovah sees beyond the present moment and can perceive the long-term consequences of both good and bad behavior. That is why he admonishes you: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: ‘I have no delight in them.’”—Ecclesiastes 12:1.
17, 18. How did one young Christian express her happiness in serving Jehovah, and how can you find the same joy?
17 Today, many youths have found great happiness in serving Jehovah. For example, 15-year-old Lina says: “I can hold my head high. I have a healthy body because of abstaining from smoking and drugs. I have valuable guidance given me through the congregation that helps me to combat Satan’s awful pressure. My face has a happy glow because of the upbuilding association made available at the Kingdom Hall. Best of all, I have the unbeatable prospect of eternal life on earth.”
18 Like Lina, many Christian youths are putting up a hard fight for the faith, and this brings them joy. They realize that their life—though challenging at times—has real purpose and a real future. Continue, therefore, to serve the God who has your best interests at heart. Make his heart rejoice, and he will make you rejoice now and to time indefinite!—Psalm 5:11.
a See the article “The Truth Gave Me Back My Life,” appearing in the October 22, 1996, issue of Awake!
b It is comforting to know that when a person repents, stops doing wrong, and confesses his sins, Jehovah “will forgive in a large way.”—Isaiah 55:7.
Do You Recall?
• What danger do you face from “the wicked one,” Satan?
• How can you make Jehovah’s heart rejoice?
• How does the Bible show that Jehovah cares about you?
• What are some blessings that come from serving Jehovah?
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A Righteous Man Nearly Stumbles
Asaph was a prominent Levite musician at Jehovah’s temple in ancient Israel. He even composed songs that were used in public worship. Despite his unique privileges, though, for a time Asaph found himself attracted to the godless conduct of his peers, who seemed to break God’s laws with impunity. “My feet had almost turned aside, my steps had nearly been made to slip,” Asaph later admitted. “I became envious of the boasters, when I would see the very peace of wicked people.”—Psalm 73:2, 3.
Later, Asaph went to God’s sanctuary and prayed about the matter. With renewed spiritual vision, he understood that Jehovah hates badness and that, in time, both the wicked and the righteous will reap what they sow. (Psalm 73:17-20; Galatians 6:7, 8) Really, the wicked are on slippery ground. At the latest, they will experience a fall when Jehovah destroys this ungodly system.—Revelation 21:8.
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Jehovah has your best interests at heart, whereas Satan’s goal is to devour you
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Many youths are finding the greatest happiness by serving Jehovah with fellow Christians