Do You Have “a Waiting Attitude”?
“What sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah!”—2 PETER 3:11, 12.
1, 2. How might we illustrate having “a waiting attitude” regarding Jehovah’s day?
PICTURE in your mind a family that is expecting guests for dinner. The set time for their arrival is rapidly approaching. The wife is busy putting the finishing touches on the meal. Her husband and their children are helping to make sure that everything is in order. Everyone is excited. Yes, the whole family is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the guests and is looking forward to a delicious meal and fine fellowship.
2 As Christians, we are waiting for something even more important. For what? Why, all of us are waiting for “the day of Jehovah”! Until it arrives, we need to be like the prophet Micah, who said: “It is for Jehovah that I shall keep on the lookout. I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation.” (Micah 7:7) Does that imply inactivity? No. There is much work to be done.
3. According to 2 Peter 3:11, 12, what attitude are Christians to have?
3 The apostle Peter helps us to have the proper attitude while waiting. He says: “What sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah!” (2 Peter 3:11, 12) Note that this is an exclamatory statement. Peter was not asking a question. In his two divinely inspired letters, he described what sort of people Christians ought to be. He also admonished them to go on performing “holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion.” Although some 30 years had passed since Jesus Christ had given the sign “of the conclusion of the system of things,” Christians were not to let down their guard. (Matthew 24:3) They were to be “awaiting and keeping close in mind” the presence of Jehovah’s day.
4. What is involved in “keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah”?
4 The Greek word here rendered “keeping close in mind” literally means “speeding up.” Of course, we cannot literally ‘speed up’ the day of Jehovah. For that matter, we “know neither the day nor the hour” when Jesus Christ will come to execute judgment upon his Father’s enemies. (Matthew 24:36; 25:13) One reference work explains that the root verb of the expression “speeding up” here means “‘to make haste’ and is thus closely related to ‘to be zealous, active, concerned about something.’” So Peter was urging fellow believers to be “ardently desiring” the presence of the day of Jehovah. They could do this by constantly keeping it in mind. (2 Peter 3:12, footnote) With “the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah” now so near, we should have the same mental attitude.—Joel 2:31.
Wait With “Holy Acts of Conduct”
5. How can we show that we are “ardently desiring” to see “the day of Jehovah”?
5 If we are “ardently desiring” to survive Jehovah’s day, we will make that evident by our “holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion.” The expression “holy acts of conduct” may well remind us of Peter’s admonition: “As obedient children, quit being fashioned according to the desires you formerly had in your ignorance, but, in accord with the Holy One who called you, do you also become holy yourselves in all your conduct, because it is written: ‘You must be holy, because I am holy.’”—1 Peter 1:14-16.
6. To be holy, what must we do?
6 To be holy, we must maintain physical, mental, moral, and spiritual cleanness. Are we preparing for “the day of Jehovah” by keeping ourselves holy as individuals bearing Jehovah’s name? It is not easy today to maintain such purity because the moral standards of the world are steadily deteriorating. (1 Corinthians 7:31; 2 Timothy 3:13) Are we finding the gap between our moral standards and those of the world widening? If not, we have cause for concern. Could it be that our personal standards, though higher than those of the world, are eroding? If so, we need to take positive action to correct matters in order to please God.
7, 8. (a) How might we lose sight of the importance of engaging in “holy acts of conduct”? (b) What corrective measures may be required?
7 With the advent of pornography on the Internet and because of the privacy in which it is available, some who once had no access to such immoral material are now finding “an infinite supply of sexual opportunities,” says one medical doctor. If we were to seek out such unclean Internet sites, we would certainly be ignoring the Bible’s command to “touch nothing unclean.” (Isaiah 52:11) Would we really be “keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah”? Or might we be mentally postponing that day, reasoning that even if we are polluting our mind with filthy material, we still have time to cleanse ourselves? If we have encountered a problem along these lines, how urgent it would be to petition Jehovah to ‘make our eyes pass on from seeing what is worthless and preserve us alive in his own way’!—Psalm 119:37.
8 The vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses, young and old, are sticking to God’s high moral standards and avoiding this world’s immoral enticements. Aware of the urgency of our times and of Peter’s warning that “Jehovah’s day will come as a thief,” they continue to perform “holy acts of conduct.” (2 Peter 3:10) Their actions prove that they are “awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.”a
Wait With “Deeds of Godly Devotion”
9. What should godly devotion move us to do?
9 “Deeds of godly devotion” also are vital if we are to keep Jehovah’s day in mind. “Godly devotion” involves reverence for God that moves us to do what is pleasing in his eyes. Loyal attachment to Jehovah is the motivating force behind such deeds of godly devotion. It is his will that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) God “does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) So, then, should not our godly devotion stimulate us to intensify our efforts to help people to learn about Jehovah and imitate him?—Ephesians 5:1.
10. Why should we guard against “the deceptive power of riches”?
10 Our life will abound with deeds of godly devotion if we seek God’s Kingdom first. (Matthew 6:33) This involves our having a balanced view of material things. Jesus warned: “Keep your eyes open and guard against every sort of covetousness, because even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Although it may be hard to picture ourselves becoming blinded by the love of money, we do well to note that “the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches” can “choke the word” of God. (Matthew 13:22) It may not be easy to make a living. In some parts of the world, many therefore reason that to live a better life, they have to move to a more affluent land, perhaps leaving their family behind for years at a time. Even some of God’s people have reasoned in this way. By going to another land, they may be able to supply their family with modern conveniences. However, what may happen to the spiritual state of their loved ones back home? Without the exercise of proper headship in the home, will they have the spirituality needed to survive Jehovah’s day?
11. How did one migrant worker demonstrate that deeds of godly devotion are more important than riches?
11 A migrant worker from the Philippines learned Bible truth from Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan. Upon learning about the Scriptural responsibilities of headship, he realized that he needed to help his family to become worshipers of Jehovah. (1 Corinthians 11:3) His wife back home strongly opposed his newly found faith and wanted him to keep sending money instead of returning home to teach the family his Bible-based beliefs. Spurred on by the urgency of the times and concern for his loved ones, however, he went home. His patience in lovingly dealing with family members was rewarded. In time, his family became united in true worship, and his wife entered the full-time ministry.
12. Why should we put spiritual interests first in life?
12 Our situation might be likened to that of individuals in a burning building. Would it be wise to run around frantically in order to retrieve material things from the blazing structure that is about to collapse? Instead, would it not be far more important to save lives—our own and those of our family and others occupying the building? Well, this wicked system of things is rapidly heading for its collapse, and lives are at stake. Realizing this, surely we should put spiritual interests first and zealously concentrate on the lifesaving Kingdom-preaching work.—1 Timothy 4:16.
We Need to Be “Spotless”
13. What condition should we want to be in when the day of Jehovah strikes?
13 Emphasizing the importance of maintaining a waiting attitude, Peter says: “Beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by [God] spotless and unblemished and in peace.” (2 Peter 3:14) Going beyond his admonition to engage in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, Peter emphasizes the importance of finally being found by Jehovah to be individuals cleansed by Jesus’ precious blood. (Revelation 7:9, 14) This requires that a person exercise faith in Jesus’ sacrifice and become a dedicated and baptized servant of Jehovah.
14. What does being “spotless” involve?
14 Peter urges us to do our utmost to be found “spotless.” Are we keeping our garments of Christian conduct and personality spotless, not tainted by the world? When we notice a spot on our clothes, we immediately try to remove it. If a favorite garment is involved, we are especially meticulous about cleaning it. Do we feel the same way if our Christian garments become stained, as it were, because of some flaw in our personality or conduct?
15. (a) Why were the Israelites to make fringed edges upon the skirts of their garments? (b) Why do Jehovah’s present-day servants stand out as different?
15 The Israelites were to make “fringed edges upon the skirts of their garments” and to “put a blue string above the fringed edge of the skirt.” Why? So that they would remember Jehovah’s commandments, obey them, and “prove to be holy” to their God. (Numbers 15:38-40) As Jehovah’s present-day servants, we stand out as different from the world because we observe divine laws and principles. For instance, we maintain moral cleanness, we respect the sanctity of blood, and we avoid idolatry of all sorts. (Acts 15:28, 29) Many respect us for our firm determination to keep ourselves undefiled.—James 1:27.
We Need to Be “Unblemished”
16. What is involved in keeping ourselves “unblemished”?
16 Peter also says that we are to be found “unblemished.” How is that possible? A spot can generally be wiped off or cleansed away but not so a blemish. A blemish indicates that something on the inside is wrong, at fault. The apostle Paul admonished fellow Christians in Philippi: “Keep doing all things free from murmurings and arguments, that you may come to be blameless and innocent, children of God without a blemish in among a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you are shining as illuminators in the world.” (Philippians 2:14, 15) If we follow that admonition, we will avoid murmurings and arguments and will serve God out of a pure motive. We will be moved by love for Jehovah and our neighbors as we preach “this good news of the kingdom.” (Matthew 22:35-40; 24:14) Moreover, we will continue to proclaim the good news even though people in general may not comprehend why we volunteer our time in an effort to help others to learn about God and his Word, the Bible.
17. What should be our motive when we reach out for privileges in the Christian congregation?
17 Desirous of being found “unblemished,” we do well to examine our motives in all our pursuits. We have left the world’s way of doing things for selfish reasons, such as striving to obtain riches or power. If we are reaching out for privileges in the Christian congregation, may our motives remain pure and may we always be motivated by love for Jehovah and for others. It is refreshing to see spiritual men “reaching out for an office of overseer” with joy and a humble desire to slave for Jehovah and their fellow believers. (1 Timothy 3:1; 2 Corinthians 1:24) Indeed, those qualified to serve as elders “shepherd the flock of God . . . willingly; neither for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly; neither as lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, but becoming examples to the flock.”—1 Peter 5:1-4.
We Need to Be “in Peace”
18. For what qualities are Jehovah’s Witnesses well-known?
18 Finally, Peter tells us to be found “in peace.” In order to live up to this requirement, we need to be at peace with Jehovah and our neighbor. Peter emphasizes the importance of having “intense love for one another” and of maintaining peace with our fellow Christians. (1 Peter 2:17; 3:10, 11; 4:8; 2 Peter 1:5-7) To maintain our peace, we must have love among ourselves. (John 13:34, 35; Ephesians 4:1, 2) Our love and peace are particularly evident when our international conventions are held. At a convention in Costa Rica in 1999, a vendor at the airport became upset because the local Witnesses welcoming arriving delegates inadvertently limited the visibility of his business place. On the second day, however, he noticed the love and peace demonstrated in the enthusiastic welcome that the delegates received, though the local Witnesses did not know them personally. On the final day, the vendor joined in the welcome and requested a Bible study.
19. Why is it vital to pursue peace with fellow believers?
19 Our sincerity in pursuing peace with our spiritual brothers and sisters may well have a bearing on how earnestly we are awaiting Jehovah’s day and his promised new world. (Psalm 37:11; 2 Peter 3:13) Suppose we find it difficult to maintain peace with a certain fellow believer. Can we see ourselves dwelling with him peacefully in Paradise? If a brother has something against us, we should promptly ‘make our peace with him.’ (Matthew 5:23, 24) Doing so is vital if we are to be at peace with Jehovah.—Psalm 35:27; 1 John 4:20.
20. “A waiting attitude” should be manifest in what ways?
20 Are we personally “awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah”? Our ardent desire to see the end of wickedness is shown by our remaining holy in this immoral world. Moreover, our fervent longing for the coming of Jehovah’s day and for life under Kingdom rule is made evident by our deeds of godly devotion. And our expectation of living in the peaceful new world is reflected in our pursuit of peace with our fellow worshipers now. By such means, we show that we have “a waiting attitude” and are “keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.”
Do You Recall?
• What does it mean to keep “close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah”?
• How is “a waiting attitude” demonstrated in connection with our conduct?
• Why are “deeds of godly devotion” vital?
• What must we do to be found by Jehovah “spotless and unblemished and in peace”?
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“A waiting attitude” is reflected in holy acts of conduct
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The Kingdom-preaching work is lifesaving
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As we await Jehovah’s day, let us pursue peace with others