Youths—Make Jehovah’s Heart Rejoice
1 When one uses strength and vigor of youth in the right way, life can be truly delightful. Wise King Solomon wrote: “Rejoice, young man, in your youth, and let your heart do you good in the days of your young manhood.” (Eccl. 11:9) You young people are accountable to God for your actions.
2 How you live your life makes a difference not only to you but also to your parents. Proverbs 10:1 states: “A wise son is the one that makes a father rejoice, and a stupid son is the grief of his mother.” But even more important, how you live your life affects your Creator, Jehovah God. That is why Proverbs 27:11 also encourages young ones: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.” How can you young ones make Jehovah’s heart rejoice today? This may be accomplished in a number of ways.
3 By Proper Example: You young people experience the “critical times hard to deal with” foretold in God’s Word. (2 Tim. 3:1) You may also be subjected to pressures from unbelieving schoolmates and even from teachers who may deride your Bible-based viewpoints. For instance, one teacher presented the evolution theory as fact and the Bible as myth. However, a young publisher in that class loyally defended the Bible. As a result, a number of Bible studies were started. Some interested ones began attending meetings. The faith of you young brothers and sisters condemns the ungodly world and attracts honesthearted ones to the truth.—Compare Hebrews 11:7.
4 Can you encourage your peers in the congregation so that they do not yield to what is bad? By setting a good example in school, at home, and in the congregation, you can strengthen the faith of other young publishers. (Rom. 1:12) Make Jehovah’s heart rejoice by setting an example for others.
5 By Dress and Grooming: One young sister was teased and ridiculed because of her modest dress and was labeled an “untouchable.” This did not intimidate her into conforming to the world’s ungodly standards. Instead, she explained that she was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the high standard of the Witnesses is what she kept. Do you have such fortitude? Or do you allow Satan’s world to mold you into its way of thinking and conduct? What a pleasure to observe many of you young ones heeding Jehovah’s teaching and rejecting the sloppy styles, fads, idols, and teachings of the world. Really, as we learned at our recent district convention, we must recognize that those things that originate with the world are influenced by the demons!—1 Tim. 4:1.
6 By Choice of Entertainment and Recreation: Parents need to keep in mind the necessity of helping their children wisely choose the right kind of entertainment and recreation. One brother spoke highly of a fine family he had grown to love very much. Being spiritually minded, the parents provided guidance that carried over into family recreation. The brother observed: ‘I admire their doing things together. Not only do the parents help the children prepare for service, but when it’s time for recreation, they have fun going on hikes, visiting museums, or just staying home and playing or working on projects. Their love for one another and for others makes you feel confident that they will walk in the truth in the future, come what may.’
7 Of course, there are times when it is not possible for the entire family to engage in recreation and entertainment. You young folks need to be aware of this and the seriousness of choosing how you will spend some of your leisure time. Satan is determined to mislead as many as possible. The young and inexperienced are especially vulnerable to his crafty acts and deceptive persuasion. (2 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 6:11) So today Satan uses a variety of means to induce you to get sidetracked and pursue a life of selfish pleasure-seeking and unrighteousness.
8 Television is a master seducer that promotes a materialistic and immoral life-style. Movies and videos regularly feature violence and explicit sex. Popular music has become increasingly debased and obscene. Satan’s enticements may appear innocent, yet they have ensnared thousands of Christian youths into wrong thinking and conduct. To resist such pressures, you must vigorously pursue righteousness. (2 Tim. 2:22) If adjustments are needed in your thinking or conduct with regard to entertainment and recreation, how can these be made? The psalmist gives the answer: “With my whole heart I have searched for you. Do not cause me to go astray from your commandments.”—Ps. 119:10.
9 The idolizing of sports and entertainment stars is common. Fear of Jehovah will help you to keep from idolizing imperfect humans. Even sexual immorality is idolized today by many. You can guard against this tendency by avoiding pornography and corrupting music. Regarding music, the April 15, 1993, issue of The Watchtower observed: “Music is a divine gift. For many, though, it becomes an unhealthy preoccupation. . . . Make it your aim to keep music in its place and let the activity of Jehovah be your main concern. Be selective and careful about the music you choose. Thus you will be able to use—not abuse—this divine gift.”
10 Cultivate a complete abhorrence of what is bad. (Ps. 97:10) When tempted to do bad, think of how Jehovah views the matter, and consider the consequences: unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, emotional devastation, loss of self-respect, and loss of privileges in the congregation. Avoid exposing yourself to TV shows, movies, videos, songs, or conversations that encourage wickedness. Avoid associating with those whom the Bible classifies as “stupid ones.” (Prov. 13:19) Be selective; choose for close association those in the congregation who love Jehovah and his righteous standards.
11 Yes, youths who truly want to make Jehovah’s heart rejoice will heed the good counsel found at Ephesians 5:15, 16: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked.” What will help you keep “strict watch” on your progress in these last days?
12 Caring for Spiritual Needs: At Matthew 5:3, Jesus commented: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.” You too can be happy by being conscious of your spiritual need. Filling that need includes a zealous share in preaching the good news, since this builds our faith in the things we are learning.—Rom. 10:17.
13 From personal experience you know that it is not always easy to share regularly in the ministry. Much of this may be due to a lack of confidence. Thus, firm determination on your part is necessary. By sharing in the ministry on a regular basis, you will enhance your witnessing skills and build confidence in your ability to preach.
14 Make arrangements to work with the more experienced publishers in the congregation, such as the regular pioneers and the elders. Listen intently to their presentations and how they handle objections at the door. Make good use of the Reasoning book and the suggestions presented in Our Kingdom Ministry. Before long you will derive even greater joy from the ministry because you are giving your all to Jehovah.—Acts 20:35.
15 Some have been able to take advantage of opportunities to witness at school and have been quite successful in making disciples. (Matt. 28:19, 20) One Christian youth says: “During free class periods, I had many opportunities to witness, especially around holiday time. When I left Bible publications on my desk where others could see them, many interested students approached me.” Eventually, a number of the students and even the teacher began attending Christian meetings. In fact, the teacher has progressed to the point of becoming a dedicated Witness. Jehovah rejoices greatly when young worshipers like you bring praise to his name.
16 Another way to satisfy your spiritual need is through personal study. To make Jehovah’s heart rejoice, we must take in knowledge of him, his purposes, and his requirements for us. Do you set aside time for personal study? Do you study regularly, just as you take time to eat regularly? (John 17:3) Do you have a personal schedule for reading the Bible in addition to trying to keep up with the Bible reading schedule for the Theocratic Ministry School? Do you prepare well for all the meetings? Do you read the Watchtower and Awake! magazines regularly? In particular, do you take the time to read each article in the “Young People Ask . . .” series, carefully looking up each scripture? And do not forget the book that the Society has designed especially for your spiritual needs, Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work. Christian youths and their parents the world over have written to say how this book has helped them to draw closer to Jehovah.
17 When you read the Bible and theocratic Bible study aids, they tell you about Jehovah, his thinking, and his purposes. Consider how this information would be helpful to you. Relate what you are reading to what you have read previously. This involves meditation. Meditation allows the information to reach the heart and motivate you.—Ps. 77:12.
18 We rejoice to see young ones who are conscious of their spiritual need attending the congregation meetings. You Christian youths can encourage others by regularly offering meaningful comments during the meetings. Make it a goal to give at least one comment at every meeting. Cultivate warm relationships with people of all age groups in the congregation by sharing in upbuilding association before and after the meetings. (Heb. 10:24, 25) One young brother commented that his parents encouraged him to hold a conversation with at least one older brother or sister at every meeting. Today he values the experience he has gained by associating with the older members of the congregation.
19 Pursue Spiritual Goals: It is sad that the lives of many youths lack purpose and direction. However, is it not good to experience the feeling that comes from setting theocratic goals and then successfully achieving them? These goals, pursued with the enlightenment of divine education, will be personally satisfying now and will ultimately lead to eternal salvation.—Eccl. 12:1, 13.
20 When setting goals, make it a matter of prayer. Speak with your parents and the elders. Examine yourself and your abilities, and set practical goals according to what you are able to accomplish and not in comparison with someone else. Everyone is different in makeup—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Therefore, do not expect to accomplish everything someone else does.
21 What are some goals that you can reach for? If you are not yet a publisher or are not yet baptized, why not make these your goals. If you are a publisher, you could make a goal of putting a certain amount of time in the ministry each week. Work at becoming a capable teacher on return visits, and make it your goal to conduct a Bible study. If you are a baptized youth in school, why not make it your goal to auxiliary pioneer during the summer months? There is “plenty to do in the work of the Lord.”—1 Cor. 15:58.
22 Assistance From Parents Vital: Youths in the congregation should never feel that they are alone in their endeavors to gain life. Jehovah, through his organization, has provided counsel to assist these young ones with making everyday decisions and overcoming obstacles in life. Dedicated parents, of course, have the primary responsibility to help their children to make proper decisions. At 1 Corinthians 11:3, the Bible designates the husband as the head of the household. Therefore, in a Christian household, with the wife working closely with him, the father takes the lead in teaching the children God’s commandments. (Eph. 6:4) This is done through conscientious training that begins in infancy. Since a child’s brain triples in size during the first year of life, parents should never underestimate their infant’s ability to learn. (2 Tim. 3:15) As children grow, parents need progressively to teach them to love Jehovah and to cultivate a good relationship with him.
23 At the “Divine Teaching” District Convention, there was a talk given entitled “Work Hard for the Salvation of Your Household.” Various points were shared helping parents see the practical ways they can assist their children. A good parental example is the best place to start. This will do more in helping your children spiritually than speaking volumes to them about what they should or should not do. Setting the proper parental example would include exhibiting the fruitage of the spirit within the home, toward your spouse and toward your children. (Gal. 5:22, 23) Many have seen from experience that God’s spirit is a powerful influence for good. It can help you to mold the minds and hearts of your children.
24 Also mentioned at the convention was the need for parents to set a good example in personal study habits, meeting attendance, and regular participation in the field ministry. If you enthusiastically talk about the truth at home, take a zealous lead in the ministry, and are positive about personal study, your children will be encouraged to take a sincere interest in spiritual matters.
25 When thoughtfully prepared, a regular, meaningful family Bible study can be interesting and enjoyable, a time of reassuring family togetherness. Take the time to reach the heart of your children. (Prov. 23:15) While many families use this occasion to prepare for the weekly Watchtower Study, from time to time it may be encouraging to consider a particular need of the family. Asking viewpoint questions and listening to the comments of each family member will be enlightening as well as refreshing. Conducting a study that benefits each member of the family is a real challenge for the family head. But how rewarding when all grow spiritually! When everyone is kept involved, a happy spirit prevails.
26 Your loving, specialized training now is vital for saving the lives of your offspring. (Prov. 22:6) With this in mind, it is easy to understand that this may be the most important teaching you will ever do. Never think that you are all alone in this special and important task. Learn to rely heavily on Jehovah for guidance in caring for your family responsibilities. That is not all. There are others who can be of much assistance as well.
27 What Others Can Do to Help: Elders can include young people, along with their parents, in cleaning the Kingdom Hall. Encourage the children at congregation meetings. Elders and ministerial servants assigned Service Meeting parts should watch for little hands that are raised when there are parts for audience participation. Look for opportunities to use exemplary young ones in demonstrations with their parents. Some may be interviewed and make brief comments.
28 Do not take their efforts for granted. Young people have proved to be a real asset to the congregation. By their fine conduct, many have ‘adorned the teaching of our Savior, God.’ (Titus 2:6-10) Be conscious of the need to commend young ones who participate in even a small way. This encourages them to prepare and have the desire to do it again in the future. Such interest cannot be appraised; it is priceless. How often have you as an elder or a ministerial servant approached younger members of the congregation to commend them for a talk or a presentation on the meeting?
29 Pioneers, what can you do to help? Why not review your schedule to see how to involve schoolchildren in your arrangements for afternoons and weekends? Do you talk positively about your choice of full-time service? Are you showing by your countenance that you find joy in your ministry? Do you readily recommend it to others, especially younger ones? When working from door to door, is your speech upbuilding and positive? If so, then as a pioneer you too are sharing in this all-important training activity.
30 All in the congregation should be keenly aware of this important work of training young ones. Can you make definite arrangements to work in the field ministry with them? Can you practice a presentation with them in preparation for the door-to-door work? Are you cognizant of opportunities to encourage future spiritual activities when working in the ministry together? Each publisher should be aware that even a small comment can generate positive thoughts toward lifelong spiritual goals, to the young person’s everlasting benefit.
31 Young People Can Help Themselves: Youths, we encourage each of you to keep heeding Jehovah’s teachings and reject what is offered by the world. Continually test yourself by examining your conduct and inner feelings. What is your attitude toward Jehovah and what he expects of you in everyday living? Are you putting up a hard fight against the influence of Satan’s ideas? (1 Tim. 6:12) Since humans, and youths in particular, naturally desire the approval of their peers, do you find yourself enticed to follow the crowd in doing what is bad? (Ex. 23:2) The apostle Paul understood that there is great pressure to conform to the world’s ways.—Rom. 7:21-23.
32 It takes courage to resist the world’s influence, to take a course different from worldly peers, and to heed the teachings of God. Men of old did so with much success. Consider the courage of Noah. He condemned an entire world through his faith and by keeping separate from the wrongdoers of his time. (Heb. 11:7) Put up a hard fight because it is worth the effort. Do not imitate the weak, spineless, fearful ones who follow Satan’s crowd. On the contrary, seek out the association of those who are finding favor in Jehovah’s eyes. (Phil. 3:17) Surround yourself with associates who will march side by side with you into God’s promised new world. (Phil. 1:27) Keep in mind that there is only one way that leads to everlasting life.—Matt. 7:13, 14.
33 If we find joy in seeing youths bring praise and honor to our God, how this must bring joy to him! There is no doubt that Jehovah finds pleasure in seeing young people have a full share in proclaiming his grand purposes. They are “an inheritance” from him, and he wants only the best for them. (Ps. 127:3-5; 128:3-6) Reflecting his Father’s interest, Christ Jesus found much joy in associating with young children, and he took time to encourage them in their worship of Jehovah. He displayed tender affection for them. (Mark 9:36, 37; 10:13-16) Do we view our youths in the same way that Jehovah and Christ Jesus do? Are the young people in our congregations aware of how Jehovah and the angels view their loyalty and good example? They should be commended and encouraged to make Jehovah happy by reaching out for spiritual goals. Youths, pursue goals that will result in blessings for you now and in the future.