“Commit to Jehovah whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”—PROVERBS 16:3.
1-3. (a) In what situation are all young people, and to what can we compare that? (See opening picture.) (b) What will help young Christians in this situation?
IMAGINE that you plan to go to a special event in a town far away. To make the trip, you need to take a bus. At the bus station, at first you feel confused because there are so many people and so many buses. But happily, you know exactly where you want to go and which bus to take. You will not take any other bus, because you know it would take you in the wrong direction.
2 Life is like a journey, and you young ones are like the people at the bus station. Sometimes there are so many choices and options in life that you could feel confused. But if you know exactly where you want to go, it will be easier for you to make the right choices. Which direction should you take?
3 This article will answer that question and will encourage you to focus your life on pleasing Jehovah. This means following Jehovah’s advice in all decisions you have to make in life, such as what education or job you will get or whether you will get married and have children. And it means working to reach spiritual goals, that is, goals that will bring you closer to Jehovah. If you stay focused on serving Jehovah, you can be sure that he will bless you and help you to succeed.—Read Proverbs 16:3.
WHY SET SPIRITUAL GOALS?
4. What will we examine in this article?
4 It is good to set spiritual goals. Why? We will examine three reasons. The first and the second will help you to see that working to reach spiritual goals will make you an even better friend of Jehovah. The third will show why it is good to set these goals when you are young.
5. What is the most important reason for setting spiritual goals?
5 The most important reason for setting spiritual goals is to thank Jehovah for his love and for what he has done for us. One writer of the Psalms said: “It is good to give thanks to Jehovah . . . For you have made me rejoice, O Jehovah, because of your deeds; because of the works of your hands I shout joyfully.” (Psalm 92:1, 4) Think about everything Jehovah has given you: your life, your faith, the Bible, the congregation, and the hope of living forever in Paradise. When you set spiritual goals, you show Jehovah that you are thankful for all these things, and that brings you closer to him.
6. (a) How do spiritual goals affect your relationship with Jehovah? (b) What are some goals that you can set when you are young?
6 The second reason to set spiritual goals is that when you work to reach them, you are doing good work for Jehovah. This will bring you even closer to him. The apostle Paul promised: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.” (Hebrews 6:10) You are never too young to set goals. For example, Christine was 10 years old when she decided to read the life stories of faithful Witnesses regularly. Toby was 12 when he set the goal of reading the whole Bible before getting baptized. Maxim was 11 and his sister Noemi was 10 when they got baptized. They both set the goal of serving at Bethel. To stay focused on that goal, they posted a Bethel application on a wall in their home. What about you? Can you think of some goals you can set and start working to reach?—Read Philippians 1:10, 11.
If you know what your goals are, it is easier to make wise decisions
7, 8. (a) How can setting goals make it easier to make decisions? (b) Why did one teenager choose not to go to university?
7 What is the third reason why it is good to set goals when you are young? As a young person, you have many decisions to make. You need to decide what education or job you will get and many other things. These decisions in life are like the crossroads you reach when you take a trip. If you know where you are going, it is easy to decide which road to take. In the same way, if you know what your goals are, it is easier to make wise decisions. Proverbs 21:5 says: “The plans of the diligent surely lead to success.” The earlier you make plans by setting good goals, the sooner you will have success. This is what Damaris experienced when she needed to make an important decision as a teenager.
8 Damaris had very good grades when she finished high school, and she could have gone to university to study law without having to pay for her education. Instead, she chose to work in a bank. Why? Because when she was very young, she decided that she would pioneer. She says: “That meant working part-time. With a university degree in law, I could have earned a lot of money, but I would have had little chance of finding part-time work.” Damaris has been a pioneer for 20 years. Does she feel that she set the right goal and made the right decision when she was a teenager? Yes. At the bank where she works, she meets many lawyers who do the work she would be doing if she had gone to university. She says that many of them are very unhappy with their jobs. Damaris feels that all these years of pioneering have given her a lot of joy and have helped her to avoid being unhappy like them.
9. Why are we proud of our young people?
9 Thousands of our young ones all around the world are doing very well and deserve to be commended. Their friendship with Jehovah and their spiritual goals are at the center of their lives. These young people really enjoy life, and at the same time, they are learning to follow Jehovah’s direction in everything, which includes education, work, and family life. Solomon said: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart.” He added: “In all your ways take notice of him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6) Young ones, Jehovah loves you very much! You are precious to him, and he will protect, guide, and bless you.
PREPARE WELL TO TELL OTHERS ABOUT JEHOVAH
10. (a) Why must the preaching work be one of the most important things to us? (b) How can you become better at explaining your beliefs?
10 When you focus your life on pleasing Jehovah, you will want to tell others about him. Jesus Christ said that “the good news has to be preached first.” (Mark 13:10) So the preaching work is urgent and should be one of the most important things to us. Could you set the goal of preaching more often? Could you pioneer? But what if you do not enjoy preaching very much? And how can you become better at explaining your beliefs? Two things will help you: Prepare well, and do not give up telling others what you know about Jehovah. You may be surprised how much you will then enjoy preaching.
11, 12. (a) What can you do to prepare to tell others about Jehovah? (b) How did one young brother use an opportunity to talk about Jehovah at school?
11 Start by preparing an answer to some questions your schoolmates might ask, for example, “Why do you believe in God?” There are articles on our jw.org website that can help you to answer that question. If you look under BIBLE TEACHINGS > TEENAGERS, you will find a worksheet with the title “Why Do I Believe in God?” Follow the steps on this worksheet to prepare your own answer. You will find three Bible verses you can use: Hebrews 3:4, Romans 1:20, and Psalm 139:14. There are also other worksheets you can use to prepare answers to many more questions.—Read 1 Peter 3:15.
12 Tell your schoolmates that they can look up things on jw.org for themselves. That is what Luca did. His class was talking about different religions. Luca noticed that the textbook said things about Jehovah’s Witnesses that were incorrect. Even though Luca was nervous, he asked the teacher if he could tell the class about why those things were wrong. The teacher allowed him to explain what he believes, and he was able to show the website to the whole class. For homework the teacher asked everyone in the class to watch the video Beat a Bully Without Using Your Fists. Can you imagine how happy Luca was that he had talked about Jehovah at school?
13. Why should we not give up when we face difficulties?
13 When you face difficulties, do not become discouraged but keep working at your goals. (2 Timothy 4:2) That is what Katharina did. She was 17 when she set the goal to preach to each of her workmates. One of them insulted her several times. But she did not forget her goal. Her good behavior impressed another workmate, whose name was Hans. He started to read our publications, studied the Bible, and got baptized. Katharina did not know about this because by then she had moved away. So she was very surprised when 13 years later, while she was at a meeting with her family, the speaker for the public talk was Hans! She was very happy that she had not given up her goal of preaching to her workmates.
DO NOT FORGET YOUR GOALS
14, 15. (a) What should you remember when others pressure you to do what they do? (b) What can you do to remain strong when others pressure you?
14 So far this article has encouraged you to decide to focus your life on pleasing Jehovah and to set spiritual goals. But many young people who are your age just want to have a good time. And they will probably invite you to do what they do. Sooner or later, you will need to let others see how important it is to you to reach your goals. Do not allow others to make you forget these goals. If you were at the bus station mentioned at the beginning of the article, would you get on just any bus because the people on it were having a good time? No, of course not!
15 So, what can you do to remain strong when others pressure you to do what they do? Avoid situations where it will be hard to resist the pressure. (Proverbs 22:3) Think about the painful consequences of doing things that are wrong. (Galatians 6:7) And humbly admit that you need good advice. Listen to what your parents and experienced brothers and sisters in the congregation tell you.—Read 1 Peter 5:5, 6.
16. How does the experience of Christoph show that it is important to be humble?
16 Humility helped Christoph to accept good advice. Soon after he got baptized, he started going to a fitness center regularly. There, other young people invited him to join their sports club. He talked to an elder about it, and the elder told him to think about some of the dangers, such as becoming very competitive. Christoph decided to join the sports club anyway. But after a while, he noticed that the sport was violent and even dangerous. Again he talked to the elders, and they gave him advice from the Bible. Christoph says, “Jehovah sent me good advisers, and I listened to Him, even if it took some time.” Are you humble enough to accept good advice?
17, 18. (a) What does Jehovah want for young people today? (b) How can you avoid regretting your choices when you become an adult? Give an experience.
17 The Bible says: “Rejoice, young man [or woman], while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9) Jehovah wants you to be happy when you are young. In this article, you have learned that one way to be happy is to stay focused on your spiritual goals and to follow Jehovah’s advice in all your plans and decisions. The earlier you do this in your life, the sooner you will experience how Jehovah guides, protects, and blesses you. Think of all the good counsel he gives you in his Word, and apply the advice: “Remember, then, your Grand Creator in the days of your youth.”—Ecclesiastes 12:1.
18 Young ones quickly grow up and become adults. Sadly, many of them later regret that they set the wrong goals or had no goals at all when they were young. But if you stay focused on your spiritual goals, you will be happy about your choices when you become an adult. That is how Mirjana feels. As a teenager, she was very good at sports. She was even invited to take part in the Winter Olympic Games. Instead, she chose to serve Jehovah full-time. More than 30 years later, she is still in the full-time service, together with her husband. She says that people who want fame, honor, power, and riches are never truly happy. She also says that the best goals are to serve God and to help people get to know him.
19. Why is it good to be focused on spiritual goals when you are young?
19 You young ones really deserve to be commended because despite the difficulties you face, you focus your lives on serving Jehovah. You set spiritual goals, and you view the preaching work as one of the most important things in your life. Also, you do not allow the world to make you forget your goals. You can be sure that your hard work is not for nothing. You have brothers and sisters who love you and support you. So “commit to Jehovah whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”