Keep Yourself in God’s Love!
“Beloved ones, . . . keep yourselves in God’s love, . . . with everlasting life in view.”—JUDE 20, 21.
1, 2. How can you remain in God’s love?
JEHOVAH loves the world of mankind so much that he gave his only-begotten Son in order that those exercising faith in him might have everlasting life. (John 3:16) How grand it is to experience such love! If you are a servant of Jehovah, you surely want to enjoy that love forever.
2 The disciple Jude disclosed how you can remain in God’s love. “By building up yourselves on your most holy faith, and praying with holy spirit,” wrote Jude, “keep yourselves in God’s love, while you are waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with everlasting life in view.” (Jude 20, 21) Studying God’s Word and preaching the good news help to build you up on the “most holy faith”—Christian teachings. To remain in God’s love, you must pray “with holy spirit,” or under its influence. In order to be blessed with everlasting life, you must also exercise faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ.—1 John 4:10.
3. Why are some no longer Jehovah’s Witnesses?
3 Some who once had faith have not remained in God’s love. Because they have chosen to pursue a sinful course, they are no longer Jehovah’s Witnesses. How can you avoid such an experience? Meditating on the following points may help you to refrain from sin and to keep yourself in God’s love.
Demonstrate Your Love for God
4. How important is obedience to God?
4 Show your love for God by obeying him. (Matthew 22:37) “This is what the love of God means,” wrote the apostle John, “that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3) A pattern of obedience to God can strengthen you to resist temptation and can make you joyful. The psalmist said: “Happy is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked ones, . . . but his delight is in the law of Jehovah.”—Psalm 1:1, 2.
5. Love for Jehovah will move you to act in what way?
5 Your love for Jehovah will move you to avoid committing a serious sin that would bring reproach upon his name. “Give me neither poverty nor riches,” prayed Agur. “Let me devour the food prescribed for me, that I may not become satisfied and I actually deny you and say: ‘Who is Jehovah?’ and that I may not come to poverty and I actually steal and assail the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:1, 8, 9) Be determined not to ‘assail the name of God’ by bringing reproach upon him. Instead, always strive to do upright things that bring him glory.—Psalm 86:12.
6. What could happen if you were to go headlong into sin?
6 Pray regularly to your loving heavenly Father for help to resist temptation to engage in sin. (Matthew 6:13; Romans 12:12) Keep following God’s counsel so that your prayers are not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7) If you were to go headlong into sin, the consequences could be tragic, for Jehovah figuratively blocks the approach of rebellious ones as with a cloud mass so that their prayers may not pass through to him. (Lamentations 3:42-44) So display a humble spirit, and pray that you may do nothing that would deprive you of approach to God in prayer.—2 Corinthians 13:7.
Show Love for God’s Son
7, 8. How can heeding Jesus’ counsel help one to reject a sinful course?
7 Display love for Jesus Christ by obeying his commandments, for this will help you to reject a sinful course. “If you observe my commandments,” said Jesus, “you will remain in my love, just as I have observed the commandments of the Father and remain in his love.” (John 15:10) How can the application of Jesus’ words assist you in remaining in God’s love?
8 Paying attention to Jesus’ words can help you to maintain moral integrity. God’s Law to Israel stated: “You must not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14) But Jesus revealed a principle behind that command by saying: “Everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27, 28) The apostle Peter said that some in the first-century congregation had “eyes full of adultery” and ‘enticed unsteady souls.’ (2 Peter 2:14) Unlike them, however, you can avoid sexual sins if you love and obey God and Christ and are determined to preserve your relationship with them.
Let Jehovah’s Spirit Lead You
9. As regards the holy spirit, what can happen if one were to persist in sin?
9 Pray for God’s holy spirit, and allow it to lead you. (Luke 11:13; Galatians 5:19-25) If you were to persist in sin, God might withdraw his spirit from you. After David sinned in connection with Bath-sheba, he begged God: “Do not throw me away from before your face; and your holy spirit O do not take away from me.” (Psalm 51:11) Because of being an unrepentant sinner, King Saul did lose God’s spirit. Saul sinned by offering up a burnt sacrifice and by sparing the flock, the herd, and the king of the Amalekites. Jehovah thereafter withdrew his holy spirit from Saul.—1 Samuel 13:1-14; 15:1-35; 16:14-23.
10. Why should you reject the very thought of practicing sin?
10 Reject the very thought of practicing sin. “If we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth,” wrote the apostle Paul, “there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left.” (Hebrews 10:26-31) How tragic it would be if you were to carry sin to that point!
Display True Love for Others
11, 12. In what ways will love and respect deter one from engaging in sexual misconduct?
11 Love for fellow humans will deter you from engaging in sexual misconduct. (Matthew 22:39) Such love will impel you to safeguard your heart so that it does not entice you to steal the affections of another person’s marriage mate. Doing so could lead to the sin of adultery. (Proverbs 4:23; Jeremiah 4:14; 17:9, 10) Be like upright Job, who did not allow himself to be attentive to any woman other than his wife.—Job 31:1.
12 Respect for the sanctity of marriage can help you to avoid serious sin. God purposed that honorable marriage and sexual relations should be the means of propagating life. (Genesis 1:26-28) Remember that the sex organs have to do with life, which is sacred. Fornicators and adulterers disobey God, degrade the sexual act, lack respect for the sanctity of marriage, and sin against their own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18) But love of God and neighbor coupled with godly obedience will keep a person from engaging in conduct that could result in his being disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation.
13. An immoral person “destroys valuable things” in what way?
13 We need to suppress sinful thoughts so that we do not cause our loved ones pain. “He that is having companionship with prostitutes destroys valuable things,” says Proverbs 29:3. An unrepentant adulterer destroys his relationship with God and ruins family bonds. His wife has grounds for divorce. (Matthew 19:9) Whether the husband or the wife is the wrongdoer, a marital breakup can cause the innocent mate, the children, and others great pain. Do you not agree that knowing the destructiveness of immoral conduct should move us to resist the temptation to engage in it?
14. What lesson regarding wrongdoing can be learned from Proverbs 6:30-35?
14 The fact that there is no way to compensate for adultery should impel one to avoid this grossly selfish act. Proverbs 6:30-35 shows that whereas people may sympathize with a thief who steals because he is hungry, they despise an adulterer because he has a bad motive. He is “bringing his own soul [or, life] to ruin.” Under the Mosaic Law, he would have been put to death. (Leviticus 20:10) A person who commits adultery causes others pain just to satisfy his lust, and an unrepentant adulterer does not remain in God’s love but is expelled from the clean Christian congregation.
Maintain a Clean Conscience
15. What is the condition of a conscience marked “as with a branding iron”?
15 To remain in God’s love, we cannot allow our conscience to become insensitive to sin. Obviously, we must not accept the world’s low moral standards, and we need to exercise care in such matters as our choice of associates, reading material, and entertainment. Paul warned: “In later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons, by the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, marked in their conscience as with a branding iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1, 2) A conscience marked “as with a branding iron” is like seared flesh covered with scar tissue and devoid of feeling. Such a conscience would no longer warn us to stay away from apostates and from situations that could cause us to fall away from the faith.
16. Why is it so important to have a clean conscience?
16 Our salvation depends on our having a clean conscience. (1 Peter 3:21) Through our faith in Jesus’ shed blood, our conscience has been cleansed from dead works, “that we may render sacred service to the living God.” (Hebrews 9:13, 14) If we were to sin willfully, our conscience would become defiled and we would no longer be clean people fit for God’s service. (Titus 1:15) But with Jehovah’s help, we can have a clean conscience.
Other Ways to Avoid Wrong Conduct
17. Of what benefit is it to ‘follow Jehovah fully’?
17 ‘Follow Jehovah fully,’ as did Caleb of ancient Israel. (Deuteronomy 1:34-36) Do what God requires of you, and never consider partaking of “the table of demons.” (1 Corinthians 10:21) Reject apostasy. Partake appreciatively of the spiritual food available only at Jehovah’s table, and you will not be misled by false teachers or wicked spirit forces. (Ephesians 6:12; Jude 3, 4) Focus on spiritual things, such as Bible study, meeting attendance, and the field ministry. You are sure to be happy if you follow Jehovah fully and have plenty to do in the Lord’s work.—1 Corinthians 15:58.
18. How will fear of Jehovah affect your conduct?
18 Be determined to “render God sacred service with godly fear and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28) Reverential fear of Jehovah will motivate you to reject any wayward course. It will help you to conduct yourself in harmony with Peter’s counsel to fellow anointed ones: “If you are calling upon the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves with fear during the time of your alien residence.”—1 Peter 1:17.
19. Why should you constantly put into practice the things you are learning from God’s Word?
19 Constantly put into practice what you are learning from God’s Word. This will help you to avoid serious sin because you will prove to be among “those who through use have their perceptive powers trained to distinguish both right and wrong.” (Hebrews 5:14) Instead of being careless in speech and conduct, be vigilant so that you walk as a wise person, “buying out the opportune time” in these wicked days. “Go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is,” and keep on doing it.—Ephesians 5:15-17; 2 Peter 3:17.
20. Why should we avoid covetousness?
20 Allow no place for covetousness—greedy desire for what belongs to others. One of the Ten Commandments says: “You must not desire [“covet,” New International Version] your fellowman’s house. You must not desire your fellowman’s wife, nor his slave man nor his slave girl nor his bull nor his ass nor anything that belongs to your fellowman.” (Exodus 20:17) This law protected a person’s house, wife, servants, animals, and so forth. But most important is Jesus’ statement that covetousness defiles a man.—Mark 7:20-23.
21, 22. What preventive measures might a Christian take in order to avoid sinning?
21 Take preventive measures so that desire does not lead to sin. The disciple James wrote: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.” (James 1:14, 15) For example, if a person has had a drinking problem in the past, he may decide not to have alcoholic beverages on hand in his home. To avoid temptation involving a member of the opposite sex, a Christian may need to change his work location or his place of employment.—Proverbs 6:23-28.
22 Do not take even the first step toward sin. Flirtation and the entertaining of immoral ideas can result in fornication or adultery. Telling small lies could embolden a person to tell big ones and might lead to the sinful practice of lying. Little thefts could dull an individual’s conscience to the point that he begins to steal on a larger scale. Even a slight toleration of apostate thinking might start one down the road to full-fledged apostasy.—Proverbs 11:9; Revelation 21:8.
What if You Have Sinned?
23 All humans are imperfect. (Ecclesiastes 7:20) But if you have sinned seriously, you can draw comfort from King Solomon’s prayer at the inauguration of Jehovah’s temple. Solomon prayed to God: “Whatever prayer, whatever request for favor there may occur on the part of any man or of all your people Israel, because they know each one his own plague and his own pain; when he actually spreads out his palms toward this house, then may you yourself hear from the heavens, the place of your dwelling, and you must forgive and give to each one according to all his ways, because you know his heart (for you yourself alone well know the heart of the sons of mankind).”—2 Chronicles 6:29, 30.
24 Yes, God knows the heart and is forgiving. Proverbs 28:13 says: “He that is covering over his transgressions will not succeed, but he that is confessing and leaving them will be shown mercy.” By repentantly confessing and leaving sin, a person can receive God’s mercy. Yet, if you are at a low ebb spiritually, what else can help you to remain in God’s love?
How Would You Answer?
• How can we keep ourselves in God’s love?
• How does love for God and Christ help us to reject a sinful course?
• Why does real love for others deter us from engaging in sexual misconduct?
• What are some ways to avoid wrong conduct?
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Jude shows us how to keep ourselves in God’s love
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A marital breakup can cause the innocent mate and children great pain
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Like Caleb, are you determined to ‘follow Jehovah fully’?
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Pray regularly for help to resist temptation