STUDY ARTICLE 43
Give Jehovah Exclusive Devotion
“Jehovah is a God who requires exclusive devotion.”—NAH. 1:2.
SONG 51 To God We Are Dedicated!
1. Why does Jehovah deserve our exclusive devotion?
JEHOVAH deserves our exclusive devotion because he is our Creator and Life-Giver. (Rev. 4:11) However, we face a challenge. Even though we love and respect Jehovah, we might be lured away from giving him the exclusive devotion he deserves. We need to understand how that can happen. First, though, let us consider some aspects of what exclusive devotion involves.
2. According to Exodus 34:14, what will we do if we are exclusively devoted to Jehovah?
2 In the Bible, being devoted to God implies having a deep love for him. When we are exclusively devoted to Jehovah, we will worship only him. We will not allow anyone or anything to take his place in our heart.—Read Exodus 34:14.
3. Why is our devotion to Jehovah not blind?
3 Our devotion to Jehovah is not blind. Why not? Because it is based on the facts we have learned about him. We have come to admire his beautiful qualities. We know and agree with his likes and dislikes. We understand and support his purpose for us. We feel honored that he allows us the opportunity to be his friend. (Ps. 25:14) Every detail we learn about our Creator draws us closer to him.—Jas. 4:8.
4. (a) What does the Devil use to weaken our devotion to Jehovah? (b) What will we consider in this article?
4 The Devil controls this system of things, and he uses it to appeal to our natural human desires and fleshly weaknesses. (Eph. 2:1-3; 1 John 5:19) His goal is to divide our affections so that we are not exclusively devoted to Jehovah. Let us consider two ways in which he might have a measure of success. First, he tempts us to pursue riches, and second, he tries to influence us to make poor choices of entertainment.
GUARD AGAINST LOVING MONEY
5. Why must we guard against developing a love of money?
5 We naturally want to have enough to eat, suitable clothes to wear, and a decent place to live. However, we must guard against developing a love of money. Many who are part of Satan’s world are “lovers of money” and of the things that money can buy. (2 Tim. 3:2) Jesus knew that his followers might be tempted to develop this love. “No one can slave for two masters,” Jesus said, “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” (Matt. 6:24) A person who worships Jehovah while also spending excessive time and effort trying to gain this world’s riches would, in a sense, be trying to serve two masters. He would not be giving Jehovah exclusive devotion.
6. What lesson can we learn from Jesus’ words to the congregation in Laodicea?
6 Near the end of the first century C.E., members of the congregation in the city of Laodicea boasted: “I am rich and have acquired riches and do not need anything at all.” But in the eyes of Jehovah and Jesus, they were “miserable and pitiful and poor and blind and naked.” Jesus counseled them, not because they were wealthy, but because their love of riches was damaging their relationship with Jehovah. (Rev. 3:14-17) If we detect that a desire to pursue riches is growing in our heart, we must act quickly to correct our thinking. (1 Tim. 6:7, 8) If we do not, our heart will be divided and Jehovah will not accept our worship. He “requires exclusive devotion.” (Deut. 4:24) How might we lose our balance regarding our view of money?
7-9. What do you learn from the experience of an elder named David?
7 Consider the example of David, a hardworking elder who lives in the United States. He describes himself as having been a dedicated employee. He was promoted within the company he worked for and even received national recognition in his field of work. “At the time, I thought that these rewards were evidence of Jehovah’s blessing,” David said. But were they?
8 David began to see warning signs that his work was having a negative effect on his friendship with Jehovah. “At congregation meetings and even in the ministry, I found myself thinking about problems at work,” he says. “I was making a lot of money, but I became increasingly stressed, and my marriage was suffering.”
9 David realized that he needed to review his priorities. “I made a firm decision to correct my situation,” he says. David wanted to reorganize his work schedule, and he presented his plan to his employer. The result? David lost his job! How did he respond? “The very next day, I applied to serve as a continuous auxiliary pioneer,” he said. To support themselves, David and his wife started doing janitorial work. After a while, he began regular pioneering, and his wife eventually joined him in the pioneer work. This couple chose to do secular work that is looked down on by many, but the type of work they are doing is not the most important thing for them. Even though their income has dropped to a tenth of what they were earning before, each month they have just what they need to cover their expenses. They want to give Jehovah priority, and they have learned firsthand that he cares for those who put Kingdom interests first.—Matt. 6:31-33.
10. How can we guard our heart?
10 Whether we have little or much materially, we need to guard our heart. How? Do not develop a love for riches. And do not allow your secular work to take priority over your service to Jehovah. How can you know if that is happening to you? Some questions you could ask yourself are: ‘Do I often think about my secular work when I am at meetings or in the ministry? Do I constantly worry about being financially secure in the future? Are money and material possessions causing problems for me and my mate? Would I be willing to do secular work that others look down on if it allowed me to spend more time serving Jehovah?’ (1 Tim. 6:9-12) When considering those questions, let us remember that Jehovah loves us and makes this promise to those who are devoted to him: “I will never leave you, and I will never abandon you.” That is why the apostle Paul wrote: “Let your way of life be free of the love of money.”—Heb. 13:5, 6.
CHOOSE YOUR ENTERTAINMENT CAREFULLY
11. What can entertainment do to a person?
11 Jehovah wants us to enjoy life, and entertainment can help us to do that. In fact, God’s Word says that “there is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and find enjoyment in his hard work.” (Eccl. 2:24) However, much of the entertainment in the world can have a bad effect on us. It degrades people’s moral standards, encouraging them to tolerate—or even to love—things that God’s Word condemns.
12. According to 1 Corinthians 10:21, 22, why should we choose our entertainment carefully?
12 We want to give Jehovah exclusive devotion, so we cannot eat from “the table of Jehovah” and “the table of demons.” (Read 1 Corinthians 10:21, 22.) Eating a meal with someone is often a sign of friendship. If we choose entertainment that promotes violence, spiritism, immorality, or other fleshly desires and attitudes, we are, in effect, sharing a meal prepared by enemies of God. As a result, we not only harm ourselves but also damage our friendship with Jehovah.
13-14. Based on James 1:14, 15, why must we be concerned about feeding wrong desires? Illustrate.
13 Consider some specific ways in which entertainment is like literal food. When we eat, we can control what we put in our mouth. But once we swallow the food, automatic processes take over and the nutrients in the food eventually become part of our bodies. A good diet can make us healthier; a poor diet will make us unhealthy. The results may not become evident overnight, but they will become evident in time.
14 Similarly, when we choose our entertainment, we have control over what we put into our mind. After that, automatic processes take over and our mind and heart are affected. Good entertainment can refresh us; unwholesome entertainment will harm us. (Read James 1:14, 15.) The effects of bad entertainment may not be immediately evident, but they will eventually become obvious. That is why the Bible warns us: “Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap; because the one sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh.” (Gal. 6:7, 8) How important it is for us to reject all entertainment that promotes things that Jehovah hates!—Ps. 97:10.
15. What gift has Jehovah provided for us to enjoy?
15 Many of Jehovah’s people enjoy watching JW Broadcasting®, our wholesome Internet television station. A sister named Marilyn said: “JW Broadcasting has helped me to be more positive, and I don’t have to filter the content. When I get lonely or discouraged, I find an encouraging talk or Morning Worship program to watch. That makes me feel closer to Jehovah and to his organization. The provision of JW Broadcasting has completely changed my life.” Are you benefiting from Jehovah’s gift? In addition to a new program each month, JW Broadcasting features numerous audio and video programs as well as uplifting songs that are available on demand.
16-17. Why must we carefully control the amount of time we spend on entertainment, and how can we do so?
16 We must carefully control not only the type of entertainment we enjoy but also the amount of time we spend enjoying it. If we do not, we may spend more time on entertaining ourselves than we do on serving Jehovah. Many find it a challenge to control the amount of time they spend on entertainment. An 18-year-old sister named Abigail says: “Watching TV helps me to unwind at the end of a busy day. But if I’m not careful, I can spend hours in front of the screen.” A young brother named Samuel says: “I have found myself watching an endless amount of short videos on the Internet. I start out watching just one, and before I know it, three or four hours have gone by.”
17 How can you control the amount of time you spend on entertainment? The first step is to find out how much time you are actually spending on it. Why not keep a record for one week? Write on a calendar how many hours you spend watching television, surfing the Internet, and playing games on your mobile device. If you feel that you are spending an excessive amount of time, try making a schedule. Assign time to the more important things first, and then allot time for entertainment. Next, ask Jehovah to help you stick to your schedule. That way you will have the time and energy you need for personal Bible study, family worship, congregation meetings, and serving Jehovah in the preaching and teaching work. You may also be less likely to feel guilty about the time you spend on entertainment.
REMAIN EXCLUSIVELY DEVOTED TO JEHOVAH
18-19. How can we prove that we are exclusively devoted to Jehovah?
18 After writing about the end of Satan’s world and the new world to come, the apostle Peter stated: “Beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace.” (2 Pet. 3:14) When we obey that counsel and do our best to remain morally and spiritually clean, we prove that we are exclusively devoted to Jehovah.
19 Satan and his system will continue to tempt us to change our priorities. (Luke 4:13) But despite any challenges we face, we will not allow anyone or anything to take Jehovah’s place in our heart. We are determined to give Jehovah what he alone deserves—our exclusive devotion!
SONG 30 My Father, My God and Friend
a We are devoted to serving Jehovah. But are we exclusively devoted to him? The answer is revealed by the decisions we make. Let us consider two specific areas of our life that can help us measure the extent of our devotion to Jehovah.
b PICTURE DESCRIPTION: We would not want to eat food contaminated in an unsanitary kitchen. Why would we want to watch entertainment contaminated with violence, spiritism, or immorality?