Who Is the Most Important Person in Your Life?
“You alone are the Most High over all the earth.”—PS. 83:18.
1, 2. With regard to our personal salvation, why is it not enough just to know Jehovah’s name?
PERHAPS the first time you saw Jehovah’s name was when it was shown to you at Psalm 83:18. You may have been surprised to read those words: “That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” Since then, you no doubt have used this same scripture to help others come to know our loving God, Jehovah.—Rom. 10:12, 13.
2 Although it is important for people to know Jehovah’s name, such knowledge in itself is not enough. Notice how the psalmist highlights yet another truth essential to our salvation when he says: “You alone are the Most High over all the earth.” Yes, Jehovah is the most important Person in the whole universe. As the Creator of all things, he has the right to expect full submission from all his creatures. (Rev. 4:11) For good reason, then, we need to ask ourselves, ‘Who is the most important person in my life?’ It is vital that we carefully analyze our answer to that question!
The Issue in the Garden of Eden
3, 4. How was Satan able to deceive Eve, and with what result?
3 The seriousness of this question can be clearly seen in the events that developed back in the garden of Eden. There the rebellious angel who later became known as Satan the Devil enticed the first woman, Eve, to put her own desires ahead of Jehovah’s command not to eat the fruit of a certain tree. (Gen. 2:17; 2 Cor. 11:3) She succumbed to this enticement and thereby showed a lack of respect for Jehovah’s sovereignty. Eve did not acknowledge Jehovah as the most important Person in her life. But how was Satan able to deceive Eve?
4 Satan used several subtle tactics in his conversation with Eve. (Read Genesis 3:1-5.) First, Satan did not use Jehovah’s personal name. He simply spoke of “God.” By contrast, the writer of Genesis used Jehovah’s personal name in the first verse of that chapter. Second, instead of speaking of God’s “command,” Satan merely asked about what God had “said.” (Gen. 2:16) In this subtle way, Satan may have tried to minimize the importance of that command. Third, although speaking only to Eve, he used the plural form of the pronoun “you.” In so doing, he may have tried to appeal to her pride, endeavoring to make her feel important—as if she were the spokesperson for herself and her husband. The result? Eve evidently took it upon herself to speak for both of them by saying to the serpent: “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat.”
5. (a) On what did Satan get Eve to focus her attention? (b) What did Eve show by eating of the forbidden fruit?
5 Satan also distorted the facts. He implied that God was unfair in demanding that Adam and Eve “must not eat from every tree of the garden.” Next, Satan got Eve to think about herself and how she could supposedly improve her lot in life, becoming “like God.” Eventually, he got her to focus on the tree and its fruit rather than on her relationship with the One who had given her everything. (Read Genesis 3:6.) Sadly, by eating of the fruit, Eve showed that Jehovah was not the most important Person in her life.
The Issue in Job’s Day
6. How did Satan challenge Job’s record of integrity, and what opportunity was thereby given to Job?
6 Centuries later, the faithful man Job had an opportunity to show who was the most important Person in his life. When Jehovah confronted Satan with Job’s record of integrity, Satan retorted: “Is it for nothing that Job has feared God?” (Read Job 1:7-10.) Satan did not deny that Job was obedient to God. Instead, he questioned Job’s motives. He slyly accused Job of serving Jehovah, not out of love, but out of selfish interest. Only Job could answer that charge, and he was given the opportunity to do so.
7, 8. What trials did Job have to deal with, and what did he show by his faithful endurance?
7 Jehovah allowed Satan to bring a series of disasters upon Job, one after the other. (Job 1:12-19) How did Job react to this reversal of circumstances? We are told that he “did not sin or ascribe anything improper to God.” (Job 1:22) But Satan was still not silenced. He further complained: “Skin in behalf of skin, and everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul.”* (Job 2:4) Satan alleged that if Job personally suffered, he would decide that Jehovah was not the most important Person in his life.
8 Job was disfigured by a disgusting disease and then pressured by his wife to curse God and die. Later, three false comforters accused him of misconduct. (Job 2:11-13; 8:2-6; 22:2, 3) However, through all this suffering, Job refused to give up his integrity. (Read Job 2:9, 10.) He showed by his faithful endurance that Jehovah was the most important Person in his life. Job also demonstrated that it is possible for an imperfect human to answer, although in a limited way, the false accusations of the Devil.—Compare Proverbs 27:11.
Jesus’ Perfect Answer
9. (a) How did Satan try to tempt Jesus with regard to personal desire? (b) What was Jesus’ reaction to this temptation?
9 Shortly after Jesus’ baptism, Satan tried to entice Jesus to pursue selfish desires rather than to keep Jehovah as the most important Person in his life. The Devil presented Jesus with three temptations. First, he tried to appeal to fleshly desire, tempting Jesus to turn stones into bread. (Matt. 4:2, 3) Jesus had just fasted for 40 days and was very hungry. So the Devil urged him to misuse his miraculous powers to satisfy his hunger. How did Jesus react? Unlike Eve, Jesus focused on Jehovah’s Word and immediately rejected the temptation.—Read Matthew 4:4.
10. Why did Satan dare Jesus to hurl himself off the battlement of the temple?
10 Satan also tried to goad Jesus into reacting selfishly. He dared Jesus to hurl himself off the battlement of the temple. (Matt. 4:5, 6) What was Satan hoping to accomplish? Satan alleged that if Jesus was not injured by the fall, it would prove that he was “a son of God.” Obviously, the Devil wanted Jesus to be overly concerned about his own reputation, even to the point of making a showy display. Satan knew that a person might accept a dangerous dare because of pride and a desire not to lose face in front of others. Satan misapplied a scripture, but Jesus showed that He had a complete understanding of Jehovah’s Word. (Read Matthew 4:7.) By rejecting that dare, Jesus again proved that Jehovah was the most important Person in his life.
11. Why did Jesus refuse the Devil’s offer of all the kingdoms of the world?
11 In his last desperate attempt, Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. (Matt. 4:8, 9) Jesus immediately refused the offer. He realized that accepting it would be tantamount to rejecting Jehovah’s sovereignty—God’s very right to be the Most High. (Read Matthew 4:10.) In each case, Jesus answered Satan by quoting scriptures that contained Jehovah’s personal name.
12. What difficult decision did Jesus face as he neared the end of his earthly course, and what do we learn from the way he reacted to that decision?
12 As Jesus neared the end of his earthly course, he was confronted with a very difficult decision. Throughout his ministry, he had expressed his willingness to offer his life as a sacrifice. (Matt. 20:17-19, 28; Luke 12:50; John 16:28) However, Jesus realized that he was also going to be falsely charged and convicted under the Jewish legal system and be executed as a blasphemer. This aspect of his death troubled him deeply. He prayed: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me.” But he continued: “Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:39) Yes, Jesus’ faithfulness right up until his death proved beyond a doubt who was the most important Person in his life!
Our Answer to the Question
13. What lessons have we learned so far from the examples of Eve, Job, and Jesus Christ?
13 What have we learned so far? In the case of Eve, we learn that those who cave in to selfish desires or feelings of self-importance reveal that Jehovah is not the most important Person in their life. By contrast, from Job’s integrity-keeping course, we learn that even imperfect humans can show that they put Jehovah first by faithfully enduring adversities—even when the cause of such troubles is not fully understood by them. (Jas. 5:11) Finally, Jesus’ example teaches us to be willing to suffer shame and not to put too much importance on our personal reputation. (Heb. 12:2) But how can we apply these lessons?
14, 15. How did Jesus’ reaction to temptation differ from that of Eve, and how can we imitate Jesus? (Comment on illustration on page 18.)
14 Never allow temptations to make you forget Jehovah. Eve allowed her attention to be directed to the temptation immediately in front of her. She saw that the fruit “was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree was desirable to look upon.” (Gen. 3:6) What a contrast to Jesus’ reaction to the three temptations! Each time, he saw beyond the immediate temptation and considered the consequences of his actions. He relied on God’s Word and also used Jehovah’s name.
15 When we are faced with temptations to do things that are displeasing to Jehovah, on what do we focus our attention? The more we focus on the temptation, the stronger that wrong desire will be. (Jas. 1:14, 15) We need to take quick action to root out the desire, even if that action may seem as drastic as, in effect, removing a part of our body. (Matt. 5:29, 30) Like Jesus, we need to focus on the consequences of our actions—how they will affect our relationship with Jehovah. We must recall what his Word, the Bible, says. Only in this way can we prove that Jehovah is the most important Person in our life.
16-18. (a) What may cause our hearts to become weighed down? (b) What will help us to cope with distressing circumstances?
16 Never allow personal tragedies to embitter you against Jehovah. (Prov. 19:3) As we draw ever closer to the end of this wicked world, more and more of Jehovah’s people are being affected by disasters and tragedies. We do not expect miraculous protection at this time. Even so, like Job, we may find that our hearts are weighed down when we lose loved ones or suffer personal difficulties.
17 Job did not understand why Jehovah allowed certain things to happen, and at times we may not understand why bad things happen. Perhaps we have heard of faithful brothers who were killed by an earthquake, such as those in Haiti, or by some other natural disaster. Or we may know of an integrity keeper who has become a victim of an act of violence or has died in a terrible accident. Or we might even find ourselves plagued by some distressing circumstances or perceived injustices. Our anguished hearts may cry out: ‘Why, Jehovah? Why me? What did I do wrong?’ (Hab. 1:2, 3) What will help us cope at times like that?
18 We need to be careful not to assume that such events are an indication of Jehovah’s disapproval. Jesus highlighted this fact when referring to two tragedies that occurred in his day. (Read Luke 13:1-5.) Many calamities are the result of “time and unforeseen occurrence.” (Eccl. 9:11) But no matter what the cause of our distress, we can cope if we focus our attention on “the God of all comfort.” He will give us the strength required to continue on faithfully.—2 Cor. 1:3-6.
19, 20. What helped Jesus to endure humiliating situations, and what can help us to do the same?
19 Never allow pride or fear of shame to become your prime focus. Jesus’ humility enabled him to ‘empty himself and take a slave’s form.’ (Phil. 2:5-8) He was able to endure many humiliating situations because of his reliance on Jehovah. (1 Pet. 2:23, 24) By so doing, Jesus put Jehovah’s will first, and this resulted in his being exalted to a superior position. (Phil. 2:9) Jesus recommended the same life course to his disciples.—Matt. 23:11, 12; Luke 9:26.
20 At times, certain tests of our faith may be embarrassing. Still, we should have confidence like that of the apostle Paul, who said: “For this very cause I am also suffering these things, but I am not ashamed. For I know the one whom I have believed, and I am confident he is able to guard what I have laid up in trust with him until that day.”—2 Tim. 1:12.
21. In spite of the world’s selfish attitude, what is your determination?
21 The Bible foretold that during our time people would be “lovers of themselves.” (2 Tim. 3:2) No wonder, then, that we are surrounded by a me-first generation. May we never be tainted by such a selfish attitude! Rather, whether we are faced with temptation, beset by tragedies, or confronted with efforts to shame us, let each one of us be determined to prove that Jehovah is indeed the most important Person in our life!
Some Bible scholars feel that the expression “skin in behalf of skin” may imply that Job would selfishly be willing to allow his children and animals to lose their skins, or lives, as long as he could keep his own skin, or life. Others feel that the expression emphasizes that a person would be willing to lose some skin if it meant saving his life. For example, a person may hold up his arm to avert a blow to his head, thus losing some skin to save his skin. Whatever the idiom meant, it obviously implied that Job would gladly give up everything as long as he could keep his life.
What Can We Learn From . . .
• the way Satan deceived Eve?
• Job’s reaction to personal tragedies?
• the main focus of Jesus’ attention?
[Picture on page 17]
Eve failed to focus on her relationship with Jehovah
[Picture on page 18]
Jesus rejected Satan’s temptations and focused on doing Jehovah’s will
[Pictures on page 20]
Witnessing from tent to tent after the earthquake in Haiti
During times of distress, we can focus on “the God of all comfort”