“He satisfies you with good things all your life.”—PS. 103:5.
1, 2. When choosing goals in life, why is it wise to listen to our Creator? (See opening pictures.)
IF YOU are a young person, you have likely received much advice about your future. Teachers, guidance counselors, or others may have encouraged you to pursue higher education and a lucrative career. Jehovah, however, advises you to take a different course. To be sure, he wants you to work hard while you are at school so that you are able to earn a living after you graduate. (Col. 3:23) But when you are deciding on your priorities in life, he encourages you to be guided by sound principles that take into account his purpose and his will for us during this time of the end.—Matt. 24:14.
2 Keep in mind, too, that Jehovah sees the full picture because he knows what lies ahead for the present world and he knows how soon its end will come. (Isa. 46:10; Matt. 24:3, 36) He also knows us—what gives us true satisfaction and happiness as well as what leads us to disappointment and unhappiness. So no matter how reasonable human advice may seem, if it does not take God’s Word into account, it is not wisdom at all.—Prov. 19:21.
“THERE IS NO WISDOM . . . IN OPPOSITION TO JEHOVAH”
3, 4. How did heeding bad advice affect Adam and Eve and their descendants?
3 Bad advice has its roots very early in human history when Satan entered the scene. A presumptuous, self-appointed adviser, he told Eve that she and her husband would be happier if they chose their own course in life. (Gen. 3:1-6) In reality, though, Satan’s motives were selfish. He wanted Adam and Eve—and their future offspring—to submit to and worship him rather than worship Jehovah. But what had he done for them? It was Jehovah who had given them everything they had—each other, their beautiful garden home, and their perfect bodies with the potential of living forever.
4 Sadly, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, cutting themselves off from him. The results, as you know, were tragic. Like flowers cut from a plant, they slowly began to wither and die. Their children also suffered from the curse of sin. (Rom. 5:12) Even so, most people still choose not to submit to God. They want to live life their own way. (Eph. 2:1-3) The results clearly show that “there is no wisdom . . . in opposition to Jehovah.”—Prov. 21:30.
5. What confidence did God have in his human creation, and was this confidence justified?
5 Still, Jehovah knew that some humans, including many fine young people, would search for him and serve him. (Ps. 103:17, 18; 110:3) How he cherishes such ones! Do you count yourself among them? If so, you are no doubt enjoying many “good things” from God that contribute greatly to your happiness. (Read Psalm 103:5; Prov. 10:22) As we shall now see, these “good things” include an abundance of fine spiritual food, the very best kind of friends, worthwhile goals, and true freedom.
JEHOVAH SATISFIES YOUR SPIRITUAL NEED
6. Why should you care for your spiritual need, and how does Jehovah provide for you?
6 Unlike the animals, you have a spiritual need, which only your Creator can satisfy. (Matt. 4:4) When you listen appreciatively to him, you gain insight, wisdom, and happiness. “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need,” Jesus said. (Matt. 5:3) God satisfies your spiritual need by means of his Word and the abundance of spiritual food that he provides through “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45) And how varied and rich that food is!—Isa. 65:13, 14.
7. What are some benefits that come from absorbing the spiritual food that God provides?
7 The spiritual food that God provides will give you wisdom and thinking ability, which can protect you in many ways. (Read Proverbs 2:10-14.) For example, these qualities open your eyes to false teachings, such as the view that there is no Creator. They protect you against the lie that money and possessions are the key to happiness. And they help you to recognize and resist wrong desires and self-destructive behavior. So continue to search for godly wisdom and thinking ability, viewing them as treasures! As you acquire those precious qualities, you will come to know from personal experience that Jehovah loves you and wants the very best for you.—Ps. 34:8; Isa. 48:17, 18.
8. Why should you draw close to God now, and how will this benefit you in the future?
8 Soon, every part of Satan’s world will come crashing down, and Jehovah will be our only security. Indeed, the time may come when we will depend on him for our very next meal! (Hab. 3:2, 12-19) Yes, now is the time to draw close to your heavenly Father and strengthen your trust in him. (2 Pet. 2:9) If you do, then no matter what happens around you, you will feel as did the psalmist David, who wrote: “I keep Jehovah before me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I will never be shaken.”—Ps. 16:8.
JEHOVAH GIVES YOU THE VERY BEST KIND OF FRIENDS
9. (a) According to John 6:44, what does Jehovah do? (b) What is unique about meeting other Witnesses?
9 Jehovah draws those whom he allows to become members of his spiritual family, gently attracting honesthearted ones to true worship. (Read John 6:44.) When you first meet someone who is not in the truth, what do you know about that person? Other than his name and physical appearance, probably very little. That is not the case when you first meet someone who knows and loves Jehovah. Even if that person is from a different background, country, tribe, or culture, you already know much about him—and he about you!
10, 11. What do Jehovah’s people have in common, and how does this benefit us?
10 For example, you quickly recognize each other’s “language”—the “pure language” of truth. (Zeph. 3:9) As a result, you each know what the other believes about God, moral standards, and the hope for the future, to name just a few. Moreover, those are the most important things to know about a person, the things that build confidence and trust. They also form the basis for wholesome and enduring friendships.
11 It is no exaggeration to say that as a worshipper of Jehovah, you have the very best kind of friends, and they are all around the world. It is just that you have yet to meet most of them! Who other than Jehovah’s people enjoy this precious gift?
JEHOVAH GIVES YOU WORTHWHILE GOALS
12. What fine spiritual goals can you set for yourself?
12 Read Ecclesiastes 11:9–12:1. Do you have one or more spiritual goals that you are working toward? Perhaps you are trying to read portions of the Bible each day. Or you may be trying to improve your speaking and teaching abilities. Whatever the case, when you see positive results—or others see them and commend you—how do you feel? No doubt you feel a sense of achievement and joy. And so you should, in no small part because you are putting God’s will ahead of your own, in imitation of Jesus.—Ps. 40:8; Prov. 27:11.
13. Compared with secular pursuits, what makes serving God special and unique?
13 By focusing on spiritual pursuits, you are also doing a work that is truly satisfying because it is not in the least futile. The apostle Paul wrote: “Be steadfast, immovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58) By comparison, a life marked by secular ambitions and pursuits—even if these seem very successful—is ultimately a life of futility. (Luke 9:25) Someone who proved that to himself—and to us—was King Solomon.—Rom. 15:4.
14. What can you learn from Solomon’s experiment with pleasures?
14 Fabulously rich and powerful, Solomon embarked on an experiment to “try out pleasure and see what good [would come].” (Eccl. 2:1-10) He built houses, designed gardens and parks, and pursued whatever he desired. How did he feel afterward? Contented? Fulfilled? Satisfied? We need not guess. Solomon himself told us. He wrote: “When I reflected on all the works that my own hands had done . . . , I saw that everything was futile . . . There was nothing of real value.” (Eccl. 2:11) What a powerful lesson! Will you wisely take it to heart?
15. Why is faith important, and what are its benefits, as mentioned at Psalm 32:8?
15 Jehovah wants to spare you the pain of learning life’s lessons the hard way. Granted, you need faith in order to obey God and put his will first in your life. That faith is invaluable, and it never disappoints. Yes, Jehovah will never forget “the love you showed for his name.” (Heb. 6:10) So work hard to build a strong faith, and thus see for yourself that your heavenly Father has your best interests at heart.—Read Psalm 32:8.
GOD GIVES YOU TRUE FREEDOM
16. Why should we value freedom and use it wisely?
16 “Where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom,” wrote Paul. (2 Cor. 3:17) Yes, Jehovah loves freedom, and he put that love in your heart. At the same time, however, he wants you to use your freedom responsibly, which is a protection for you. Perhaps you know young ones who view pornography or who engage in sexual immorality, high-risk sports, or drug and alcohol abuse. To be sure, they may enjoy a few moments of excitement or pleasure. But often that comes at great cost, perhaps in the form of disease, addiction, or even death. (Gal. 6:7, 8) Clearly, their “freedom” is a cruel self-deception.—Titus 3:3.
17, 18. (a) How is obedience to God liberating? (b) How does the freedom initially enjoyed by Adam and Eve compare with that of humans today?
17 By comparison, how many people do you know who became sick because they adhered to Bible standards? Clearly, obedience to Jehovah is both healthful and liberating. (Ps. 19:7-11) What is more, when you use your freedom wisely—that is, within the bounds of God’s perfect laws and principles—you show God, as well as your parents, that you can be trusted with more freedom. In fact, it is God’s purpose ultimately to give his faithful servants perfect freedom, described in the Bible as “the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Rom. 8:21.
18 Adam and Eve had a taste of that freedom. In the garden of Eden, how many restrictive commands did God give them? Just one. They were not to eat the fruit of one tree. (Gen. 2:9, 17) Would you consider that single restriction harsh or oppressive? Of course not! Compare it with the countless man-made laws that men have been forced to learn and obey.
19. In what ways are we being taught to become a free people?
19 Jehovah takes a very wise approach to his servants. Instead of giving us endless laws, he patiently teaches us to follow the law of love. He wants us to live by godly principles and to hate what is bad. (Rom. 12:9) Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is a fine example of that teaching, for it addresses the root causes of wrongdoing. (Matt. 5:27, 28) As King of God’s Kingdom, Christ will continue to educate us in the new world so that our attitude toward righteousness and lawlessness will perfectly mirror his. (Heb. 1:9) He will also elevate us to physical and mental perfection. Imagine, you will no longer feel the tug of sin or experience the horrible effects of sin. Then, at last, you will enjoy “the glorious freedom” that Jehovah promised you.
20. (a) How does Jehovah use his freedom? (b) How can you benefit from God’s example?
20 Of course, our freedom will never be absolute. It will be governed by love for God and for fellow humans. In fact, Jehovah is simply asking us to imitate him. He has unlimited freedom; yet, he has chosen to be guided by love in his dealings with his intelligent creation. (1 John 4:7, 8) So it stands to reason that our freedom will have its fullest expression only when it is guided by godlike love.
21. (a) How did David feel toward Jehovah? (b) What will we consider in the next article?
21 Do you appreciate the many “good things” that Jehovah has given you, such as an abundance of spiritual food, good friends, worthwhile goals, and the prospect of perfect freedom? (Ps. 103:5) If so, may the prayerful thoughts found at Psalm 16:11 be yours as well: “You make known to me the path of life. In your presence is abundant joy; there is happiness at your right hand forever.” The next article will examine some additional spiritual gems as found in Psalm 16. These will shed still more light on the keys to a truly satisfying life.