“The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the wicked one.”—2 THESS. 3:3.
SONG 124 Ever Loyal
1. Why did Jesus ask Jehovah to watch over his disciples?
ON THE last night of his life as a man, Jesus was thinking about the challenges that his disciples would face. Moved by his love for his friends, Jesus asked his Father to “watch over them because of the wicked one.” (John 17:14, 15) Jesus knew that after he returned to heaven, Satan the Devil would continue to wage war against any who wanted to serve Jehovah. Clearly, Jehovah’s people would need protection.
2. How can we be sure that Jehovah will answer our prayers?
2 Jehovah answered Jesus’ prayer because of His love for His Son. If we try our best to please Jehovah, he will love us too, and he will pay attention to our prayers for help and protection. As a concerned family Head, Jehovah will continue to care lovingly for his children. His very name, or reputation, is at stake!
3. Why do we need Jehovah’s protection today?
3 We need Jehovah’s protection as never before. Satan has been cast out of heaven, “having great anger.” (Rev. 12:12) He has managed to convince some who persecute us that they are offering “a sacred service to God.” (John 16:2) Others, who do not believe in God, persecute us because we do not fit into this world’s mold. Whatever the case, we can be confident. Why? Because God’s Word says: “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the wicked one.” (2 Thess. 3:3) How does Jehovah protect us? Let us discuss two ways.
JEHOVAH PROVIDES A SUIT OF ARMOR
4. According to Ephesians 6:13-17, what has Jehovah made available to protect us?
4 Jehovah has made available to us a suit of armor that can protect us from Satan’s attacks. (Read Ephesians 6:13-17.) This spiritual armor is strong and effective! But it will protect us only if we put on each piece of the armor—and keep it on. What does each piece represent? Let us take a closer look.
5. What is the belt of truth, and why must we wear it?
5 The belt of truth represents the truths found in God’s Word, the Bible. Why must we wear this belt? Because Satan is “the father of the lie.” (John 8:44) He has had thousands of years to practice his lying and has misled “the entire inhabited earth”! (Rev. 12:9) But the truths contained in the Bible protect us from being deceived. How do we wear this symbolic belt? We do so by learning the truth about Jehovah, by worshipping him “with spirit and truth,” and by conducting ourselves honestly in all things.—John 4:24; Eph. 4:25; Heb. 13:18.
6. What is the breastplate of righteousness, and why must we wear it?
6 The breastplate of righteousness represents Jehovah’s righteous standards. Why must we wear the breastplate? Just as a breastplate protects the literal heart of a soldier from being pierced, the breastplate of righteousness protects our figurative heart, or inner person, from the corrupting influences of this world. (Prov. 4:23) Jehovah expects us to love and serve him with our whole heart. (Matt. 22:36, 37) So Satan tries to divide our heart by getting us to love the things this world offers—things that Jehovah hates. (Jas. 4:4; 1 John 2:15, 16) And if that does not work, he will try to bully us into going against Jehovah’s standards.
7. How do we wear the breastplate of righteousness?
7 We wear the breastplate of righteousness by accepting Jehovah’s standards of right and wrong and by living according to those standards. (Ps. 97:10) Some may feel that Jehovah’s standards are restrictive. But if we were to stop applying Bible principles in our lives, we would be like a soldier who removed his breastplate in the middle of a battle because he thought it was too heavy. How foolish that would be! To those who love Jehovah, his commandments are, “not burdensome,” but lifesaving.—1 John 5:3.
8. What does it mean to have our feet shod in readiness to declare the good news?
8 Paul also urges us to have our feet shod in readiness to declare the good news of peace. In other words, we should always be ready to preach the Kingdom good news. When we share the Bible’s message with others, our own faith is strengthened. It is truly encouraging to see how Jehovah’s people around the earth are looking for opportunities to declare the good news—when at work, at school, in business territory and when preaching from house to house, shopping, visiting unbelieving relatives, talking to casual acquaintances, and even when confined at home for a time. If we were to give in to fear and stop preaching, we would be like a soldier who removed his sandals during the battle; his feet would easily get injured. As a result, he would be more vulnerable to attack, and he would not be able to follow the orders of his commander.
9. Why do we need to carry the large shield of faith?
9 The large shield of faith represents the faith we have in Jehovah. We trust that he will fulfill all his promises. That faith will help us “to extinguish all the wicked one’s burning arrows.” Why do we need to carry this large shield? Because it protects us from being swayed by the teachings of apostates or from being intimidated by the snide remarks of cynics. Without faith, we will not have the strength to resist when others try to persuade us to ignore Jehovah’s standards. On the other hand, each time we stand up for our faith at work or at school, we are carrying our shield. (1 Pet. 3:15) Each time we turn down a better-paying job that would interfere with our routine of worship, we are carrying our shield. (Heb. 13:5, 6) And each time we serve Jehovah despite opposition, we are being protected by our shield.—1 Thess. 2:2.
10. What is the helmet of salvation, and why must we wear it?
10 The helmet of salvation is the hope Jehovah gives us—the hope that he will save us from death and will reward all those who do his will. (1 Thess. 5:8; 1 Tim. 4:10; Titus 1:1, 2) Just as a literal helmet protects a soldier’s head, the hope of salvation protects our thinking ability. In what way? That hope keeps us focused on God’s promises and helps us to see problems in the right perspective. How do we wear this helmet? We do so by keeping our thinking in harmony with God’s thoughts. For example, we place our hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God.—Ps. 26:2; 104:34; 1 Tim. 6:17.
11. What is the sword of the spirit, and why do we need to use it?
11 The sword of the spirit is God’s Word, the Bible. That sword has the power to cut through deception of all kinds and to liberate people from being enslaved to false teachings and harmful habits. (2 Cor. 10:4, 5; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Heb. 4:12) We learn to use that sword properly through personal study and through the training we receive from God’s organization. (2 Tim. 2:15) In addition to the suit of armor, Jehovah gives us another powerful form of protection. What is it?
WE DO NOT HAVE TO FIGHT ALONE
12. What else do we need, and why?
12 An experienced soldier knows that he cannot successfully fight a massive army on his own; he needs the help of his fellow soldiers. Similarly, we cannot successfully resist Satan and his followers on our own; we need the support of our brothers and sisters. Jehovah has provided us with a worldwide “association of brothers” who are there to help us.—1 Pet. 2:17.
13. According to Hebrews 10:24, 25, what benefits come from attending our meetings?
13 One way we receive support is by attending our meetings. (Read Hebrews 10:24, 25.) When we feel discouraged—as we all do at times—meetings can lift our spirits. We are encouraged by the heartfelt comments given by our brothers and sisters. The Bible-based talks and demonstrations that they present strengthen our determination to serve Jehovah. And our upbuilding conversations before and after the meeting encourage us. (1 Thess. 5:14) In addition, our meetings give us the opportunity to have the joy that comes from helping others. (Acts 20:35; Rom. 1:11, 12) Our meetings help us in other ways too. They improve our battle skills, so to speak, by equipping us for the ministry. For example, we learn to use the tools in our Teaching Toolbox effectively. So prepare well for congregation meetings. During the meeting, listen carefully. After the meeting, apply the training you received. By doing such things, you will become “a fine soldier of Christ Jesus.”—2 Tim. 2:3.
14. What other help do we have available to us?
14 We also have the support of myriads of powerful angels. Think of what just one angel can do! (Isa. 37:36) Now consider what a mighty army of angels would be able to accomplish. No man or demon is equal to Jehovah’s powerful fighting force. It has been said that one faithful Witness plus Jehovah equals the majority. (Judg. 6:16) How true that is! Keep those thoughts in mind when you feel intimidated by something a workmate, a schoolmate, or an unbelieving relative says or does. Remember, you are not alone in this fight. You are following Jehovah’s direction.
JEHOVAH WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT US
15 The world under Satan’s control has many reasons to hate us. We remain strictly neutral politically and do not take up arms. We proclaim God’s name, promote his Kingdom as the only hope for peace, and uphold his righteous standards. We expose the world’s ruler as a monstrous liar and murderer. (John 8:44) And we announce the imminent destruction of Satan’s world. Yet, we will never be silenced by Satan and his followers. On the contrary, we will keep praising Jehovah, using every means at our disposal to do so! As powerful as Satan is, he has not been able to prevent the Kingdom message from reaching people around the globe. Only Jehovah’s protection can account for that.—Read Isaiah 54:15, 17.
16. How will Jehovah save his people during the great tribulation?
16 What lies ahead? During the great tribulation, Jehovah will save us in two amazing ways. First, he will save his loyal servants during the time when he causes the kings of the earth to destroy Babylon the Great, the empire of false religion. (Rev. 17:16-18; 18:2, 4) Then, he will save his people when he annihilates the remaining elements of Satan’s world at Armageddon.—Rev. 7:9, 10; 16:14, 16.
17. How do we benefit from remaining close to Jehovah?
17 When we remain close to Jehovah, Satan can do us no lasting harm. In fact, he is the one who will suffer permanent harm. (Rom. 16:20) So put on the complete suit of armor—and leave it on! Do not try to fight the battle on your own. Support your brothers and sisters. And follow Jehovah’s direction. If you do, you can be confident that your loving heavenly Father will strengthen you and protect you.—Isa. 41:10.
SONG 149 A Victory Song
The Bible promises that Jehovah will strengthen us and protect us not only from spiritual harm but from any other lasting harm. In this article, we will answer the following questions: Why do we need to be protected? How does Jehovah protect us? And what must we do to benefit from the help Jehovah offers?