“Let us by love grow up in all things.”—EPH. 4:15.
SONG 2 Jehovah Is Your Name
1. What truths did you learn when you began to study the Bible?
DO YOU remember when you started studying the Bible? You may have been surprised to discover that God has a name. Perhaps you were relieved to find out that God does not torture people in hellfire. And likely you were thrilled at the prospect of seeing your dead loved ones again and living with them in an earthly paradise.
2. In addition to learning Bible truths, what further progress did you make? (Ephesians 5:1, 2)
2 The more you studied God’s Word, the more your love for Jehovah grew. That love motivated you to apply what you learned. You made better decisions based on Bible principles. You improved your attitude and conduct because you wanted to please God. Just as a child imitates a loving parent, you were imitating your heavenly Father.—Read Ephesians 5:1, 2.
3. What questions might we ask ourselves?
3 We might ask ourselves: ‘Is my love for Jehovah stronger now than when I first became a Christian? Since my baptism, is my way of thinking and acting more like Jehovah’s way—especially in showing love to my brothers and sisters?’ If “the love you had at first” has cooled off somewhat, do not be discouraged. Something similar happened to Christians in the first century. Jesus did not give up on them, and he does not give up on us either. (Rev. 2:4, 7) He knows that we can rekindle the love we felt when we first learned the truth.
4. What will we consider in this article?
4 This article will discuss how we can continue to grow in our love for Jehovah and for others. Then we will identify some of the blessings that come to us and to others when we strengthen our love.
GROW IN YOUR LOVE FOR JEHOVAH
5-6. What challenges did the apostle Paul face during his ministry, but what motivated him to keep serving Jehovah?
5 The apostle Paul enjoyed a satisfying life in Jehovah’s service, but he had many challenges to overcome. Paul often traveled long distances, and travel was not easy in those days. On his journeys, Paul was sometimes “in dangers from rivers” and “in dangers from robbers.” He was also occasionally subjected to physical mistreatment from opposers. (2 Cor. 11:23-27) And Paul’s Christian brothers did not always show appreciation for his sincere efforts to help them.—2 Cor. 10:10; Phil. 4:15.
6 What helped Paul to keep going in Jehovah’s service? Paul learned much about Jehovah’s personality from the Scriptures and from his own experiences. Paul became convinced that Jehovah God loved him. (Rom. 8:38, 39; Eph. 2:4, 5) And he came to love Jehovah very much. Paul showed his love for Jehovah “by ministering and continuing to minister to the holy ones.”—Heb. 6:10.
7. What is one way we can grow in our love for Jehovah?
7 We can grow in our love for God by diligently studying his Word. As you read the Bible, try to discern what each passage reveals about Jehovah. Ask yourself: ‘How does this account show that Jehovah loves me? What reasons does it give me to love Jehovah?’
8. How can prayer help us to grow in our love for God?
8 Another way we can grow in our love for Jehovah is by regularly opening our heart to him in prayer. (Ps. 25:4, 5) Jehovah, in turn, will answer our prayers. (1 John 3:21, 22) Khanh, a sister in Asia, says: “My love for Jehovah was first based on knowledge, but that love deepened as I saw how he answered my prayers. This made me want to do things that please him.”b
GROW IN YOUR LOVE FOR OTHERS
9. How did Timothy show that he was making progress in showing love?
9 Some years after his conversion, Paul met a fine young man named Timothy. Timothy loved Jehovah, and he loved people. Paul told the Philippians: “I have no one else of a disposition like [Timothy’s] who will genuinely care for your concerns.” (Phil. 2:20) Paul did not here comment on Timothy’s ability as an organizer or as a public speaker, but Paul was obviously impressed by Timothy’s love for the brothers and sisters. No doubt the congregations that Timothy served looked forward to his visits.—1 Cor. 4:17.
10. How did Anna and her husband express the love they felt for their brothers and sisters?
10 We too look for ways to help our Christian brothers and sisters. (Heb. 13:16) Consider the experience of Anna, mentioned in the preceding article. After a severe storm, she and her husband visited the home of a Witness family and discovered that the roof of the family’s house had caved in. As a result, the family had no clean clothes. Anna says: “We took their clothes, washed them, and returned them ironed and folded. To us, it was a little gesture, but it created a bond of friendship that remains strong to this day.” Anna and her husband’s love for the brothers and sisters motivated them to give practical help.—1 John 3:17, 18.
11. (a) How might our efforts to show love affect others? (b) According to Proverbs 19:17, how does Jehovah respond when we show love?
11 When we deal lovingly and kindly with others, they often notice our efforts to reflect Jehovah’s ways of thinking and acting. And they may appreciate our kindness more than we will ever know. Khanh, mentioned earlier, fondly remembers those who helped her. She says: “I am so grateful to all the dear sisters who took me out in service. They picked me up, invited me for snacks or lunch, and dropped me off safely at home. I realize now that it took so much effort. And they did it with love.” Of course, not everyone will thank us for what we do for them. Khanh says about those who helped her: “I wish I could repay them for their many kindnesses, but I don’t know where they all live. However, Jehovah does, and I pray that he will repay them for me.” Khanh is right. Jehovah does notice even the smallest act of kindness that we extend to others. He views it as a valuable sacrifice and as a debt that he is going to repay.—Read Proverbs 19:17.
12. How can brothers show their love for the congregation? (See also pictures.)
12 If you are a brother, how can you show love for others and reach out to help them? A young brother named Jordan asked an elder how he could do more to help in the congregation. The elder commended him for the progress that he had already made and then gave him some advice on how he could do more. For example, he suggested that Jordan arrive early at the Kingdom Hall and greet others, participate at the meetings, preach regularly with his field service group, and look for practical ways to help others. When Jordan applied this advice, he was not simply learning new skills but also growing in his love for his brothers and sisters. Jordan learned that when a brother becomes a ministerial servant, he does not begin helping others; rather, he continues helping them.—1 Tim. 3:8-10, 13.
13. How did love motivate a brother named Christian to qualify again as an elder?
13 What if you formerly served as a ministerial servant or an elder? Jehovah remembers the work you did in the past and the love that motivated you to do it. (1 Cor. 15:58) He also observes the love that you continue to show. A brother named Christian was disappointed when he was deleted as an elder. Yet, he says: “I decided to do all that I could to serve Jehovah out of love—with or without certain privileges.” In time, he was reappointed as an elder. Christian admits: “I was a little apprehensive to serve again. But I decided that if Jehovah, by his mercy, was allowing me to serve as an elder again, I would do it because of my love for him and for my brothers and sisters.”
14. What do you learn from the comments of a sister from Georgia?
14 Jehovah’s servants also express their love for their neighbors. (Matt. 22:37-39) For example, Elena, a sister in the country of Georgia, says: “At first, the only thing that motivated me to preach was my love for Jehovah. But as my love for my heavenly Father grew, my love for people also grew. I tried to imagine what problems they faced and what topic might touch their heart. The more I thought about them in this way, the more I wanted to help them.”—Rom. 10:13-15.
BLESSINGS THAT COME FROM SHOWING LOVE TO OTHERS
15-16. As reenacted in the pictures, what blessings come from showing love to others?
15 When we show love to our brothers, they are not the only ones who benefit. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, a brother named Paolo and his wife helped many elderly sisters learn how to use their electronic devices in order to give a witness. One sister who at first found it difficult to use her device finally succeeded. She was able to use it to invite her relatives to the Memorial. Sixty of them attended via videoconference! The sister and her relatives all benefited from the efforts of Paolo and his wife. Later, the sister wrote Paolo: “Thank you for teaching us elderly ones. I will never forget Jehovah’s concern and your tireless efforts.”
16 Experiences like this one taught Paolo a vital lesson. He was reminded that love is more important than knowledge or natural ability. He recalls: “I used to serve as a circuit overseer. Today, I realize that although the publishers may have forgotten my talks, they still remember the practical help I gave them.”
17. Who else will benefit when we show love?
17 When we show love to others, we ourselves benefit in unexpected ways. Jonathan, who lives in New Zealand, confirms this. One hot Saturday afternoon, he saw a pioneer witnessing along the road. Jonathan decided to work with the pioneer on subsequent Saturday afternoons. He did not realize at the time how much he himself would benefit from this act of kindness. “At that point in my life,” Jonathan admits, “I did not love field service. But as I listened to the pioneer’s way of teaching and saw how fruitful his ministry was, it stirred in me a real love for this work. I also gained a great friend who helped me to grow spiritually, to enjoy the ministry, and to draw closer to Jehovah.”
18. What does Jehovah want us to do?
18 Jehovah wants all of us to grow in love for him and for others. As we have learned, we can strengthen our love for Jehovah by reading his Word and meditating on it and by regularly talking to him in prayer. We can grow in our love for our brothers and sisters by assisting them in practical ways. As our love grows, we will draw ever closer to Jehovah and to our spiritual family. And we will enjoy those friendships forever!
SONG 109 Love Intensely From the Heart
a Whether we are new in the truth or we have been serving Jehovah for many years, all of us can continue to make progress. This article will discuss an important way we can do this: by growing in our love for Jehovah and for others. As you meditate on this material, consider what progress you have already made and how you can make further progress.
b Some names have been changed.