How to Identify True Worship
MOST religions claim that what they say comes from God. Therefore, we do well to heed the words of Jesus’ apostle John, who wrote: “Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.” (1 John 4:1) How can we test something to see if it comes from God?
Everything that comes from God reflects his personality, especially his predominant quality, love. For example, our sense of smell, which enables us to delight in the aroma of herbs, flowers, or freshly baked bread, is an expression of God’s love. Our ability to see a sunset, a butterfly, or the smile of a young child reflects God’s love for us. The same is true of our ability to hear beautiful music, the sound of a bird, or the voice of a loved one. Even our human nature, imperfect as it is, reflects God’s love. That is why we often experience the truth of Jesus’ words: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) We enjoy expressing love because we are made “in God’s image.” (Genesis 1:27) Although Jehovah has many other qualities, love is the most outstanding aspect of his personality.
Writings that come from God should reflect his love. The world’s religions have many ancient writings. How do such writings measure up in regard to reflecting God’s love?
The truth is, most ancient religious texts explain little about how God loves us or how we can love God. Thus, millions of people receive no answer when they ask, “Why do we see evidence of God’s love in creation while suffering and evil continue?” The Bible, on the other hand, is the only ancient religious writing that fully explains God’s love. It also teaches us how to practice love.
The Book About Love
God’s Word, the Bible, reveals Jehovah as “the God of love.” (2 Corinthians 13:11) The Bible describes how love moved Jehovah to give to the first humans life free of sickness and death. But rebellion against God’s authority introduced suffering to mankind. (Deuteronomy 32:4, 5; Romans 5:12) Jehovah acted to restore what was lost. God’s Word says: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) The Holy Scriptures illuminate God’s love still further when they describe how God has provided a perfect government in the hands of Jesus to restore peace to obedient mankind.—Daniel 7:13, 14; 2 Peter 3:13.
The Bible sums up man’s obligation in these words: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law hangs.” (Matthew 22:37-40) The Bible claims to be inspired of God. Since it clearly does reflect his personality, we can be sure that it comes from “the God of love.”—2 Timothy 3:16.
By applying this one standard, we can identify which ancient writings are truly from God. Love also identifies true worshippers, for they imitate God in showing love.
How to Recognize People Who Love God
Those who truly love God stand out, particularly now that we live in what the Bible calls “the last days.” Increasingly, people are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.”—2 Timothy 3:1-4.
How can you recognize people who love God? The Bible says: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments.” (1 John 5:3) Love for God moves people to respect the Bible’s moral standards. For instance, God’s Word has laws on sex and marriage. Sexual relations are permitted only within marriage, and marriage is to be permanent. (Matthew 19:9; Hebrews 13:4) When a woman in Spain who studied theology attended a meeting where Jehovah’s Witnesses were eagerly studying the Bible’s moral laws, she noted: “I left feeling upbuilt, not only by the enlightening Scriptural talks but also by the unity that exists among these people, their high morals, and their fine behavior.”
In addition to their love for God, true Christians are easily identified by the way they show love for their neighbors. Their most important work is speaking to others about mankind’s only hope, the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 24:14) Nothing can bring more lasting benefits to their neighbors than to help them gain knowledge of God. (John 17:3) True Christians also show their love in other ways. They extend practical help to those who are suffering. For example, when an earthquake caused disaster in Italy, a local newspaper reported that Jehovah’s Witnesses “operate in a practical way, extending a hand to those who suffer, without worrying about which religion they belong to.”
Besides loving God and neighbor, true Christians love one another. Jesus said: “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”—John 13:34, 35.
Is the love that true Christians have for one another noticeably different? A housemaid named Ema thought so. She works in La Paz, Bolivia, where ethnic differences often separate the rich from the poor. She said: “The first time I went to a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I saw a well-dressed gentleman sitting and conversing with an Indian lady. I had never seen that before. In that moment, I knew that these must be God’s people.” Similarly, a young Brazilian woman named Miriam said: “I did not know how to be happy, not even in my family. The first time I saw love in action was among Jehovah’s Witnesses.” In the United States, the news director for a television station wrote: “If more people lived the way your faith does, this nation wouldn’t be in the shape it is in. I am one newsman who knows that your organization is founded on love and a strong faith in the Creator.”
Seek True Worship
Love is a distinguishing feature of true worship. Jesus likened finding true worship to finding the right road and choosing to walk on it. It is the only road that leads to everlasting life. Jesus said: “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14) Only one body of true Christians walks unitedly with God on the road of true worship. Therefore, it does matter which religion you choose. If you find that road and choose to walk on it, you will have found the best way of life, for it is the way of love.—Ephesians 4:1-4.
Imagine what joy can be yours as you walk on the road of true worship! It is like walking with God. From God you can learn wisdom and love so as to enjoy good relationships with others. From him you can learn about the purpose of life, and you can understand God’s promises and have a hope for the future. You will never regret seeking true worship.
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Among ancient religious writings, only the Bible reveals God’s love
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True Christians are recognizable because they practice love