The Challenge of Following in His Footsteps
“For Christ suffered for you and left you a personal example, so that you might follow in his footsteps.”—1 PETER 2:21, Phillips.
1, 2. (a) What can be a real challenge, and why is this of interest to Christians? (b) What questions are here raised?
DID you ever walk along a sandy beach or across a snowy field and find yourself fascinated by the pattern of footsteps left by someone who walked there before you? Did you perhaps even pick out a set of footsteps and try to follow them, matching your own steps with them as exactly as possible? If so, you discovered that it was not easy. In fact, following closely in the footsteps of another—either literally or figuratively—is a real challenge. And yet, by calling ourselves Christians, we have indicated our desire to do just that, to follow closely in the footsteps of Christ.
2 Are you willing to put forth the effort that is necessary to meet this challenge successfully? More than that, are you determined to do so, come what may? If so, fully understanding the difficulties of following in literal footsteps will make you more successful in following in Christ’s figurative footsteps.
Learn to Conform
3. Why does following in someone else’s footsteps seem at first unnatural?
3 Everyone has a distinctive way of walking. The length of stride, for example, varies from person to person, as does the angle at which a person places his feet. His toes may point straight forward, or they may turn in or out at an angle, an angle possibly more pronounced with one foot than with the other. Do you recognize the challenge? To follow closely in another’s footsteps, you must conform your length of stride and foot position to his. At first this will seem unnatural, but it must be done. There is no other way.
4. Why is following in Jesus’ footsteps a special challenge?
4 Christ’s way of walking, figuratively speaking, was unique, for among his contemporaries he alone was a perfect man, “one who did not know sin.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Since humans by nature are imperfect sinners, walking in Jesus’ footsteps is not their normal way of walking. Paul reminded Christians in Corinth of this, saying: “For you are yet fleshly. For whereas there are jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and are you not walking as men do?” Tendencies toward jealousy and strife, “works of the flesh,” are normal for imperfect people, but Jesus walked the way of love, and “love is not jealous, . . . does not become provoked.” So walking in Christ’s footsteps presents a challenge greater than if we were asked merely to follow in the footsteps of an imperfect person.—1 Corinthians 3:3; 13:4, 5; Galatians 5:19, 20; see also Ephesians 5:2, 8.
5, 6. (a) Why have many people failed to follow in Christ’s footsteps, leading Paul to give what counsel? (b) How are people being encouraged to walk in Christ’s footsteps today, with what result for them?
5 Besides imperfection, ignorance of God’s will can also prevent a person from walking in Christ’s footsteps. Paul thus admonished Ephesian Christians not to “go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds, while they are in darkness mentally, and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensibility of their hearts.”—Ephesians 4:17, 18.
6 By means of the Kingdom-preaching work, people today are being urged to stop walking in their normal way, in ignorance of God’s purposes, in darkness mentally, motivated by insensible hearts seeking unprofitable goals. They are being encouraged to conform to the perfect example of Christ, “walking in union with him,” thus “bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ.” (Colossians 2:6, 7; 2 Corinthians 10:5) People willing to meet this challenge are stabilized in their faith. As they get used to walking the way Christ walked, it becomes progressively easier for them.
7. What assurance do we have that, although it is often a challenge, following in Jesus’ footsteps is possible?
7 It is often, however, a challenge. The disparity between a perfect creature and an imperfect one is great. So imperfect creatures must make great changes in order to try to follow a perfect example. Some people, due perhaps to inheritance or environment, have more difficulty conforming to a Christian way of life than others do. But Jehovah assures us that anyone who is really willing to exert himself can do it. “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me,” said the apostle Paul. (Philippians 4:13; see also 2 Corinthians 4:7; 12:9.) The same is true of all Christians.
8, 9. (a) Why are undivided attention and intense concentration necessary when following in someone’s footsteps? (b) Following what Biblical counsel will prevent us from wandering away from Jesus’ footsteps?
8 We cannot follow literal footsteps without keeping a close eye on where we are stepping. If our eyes wander—focusing on things going on around us or on other things—we are bound to make a misstep sooner or later. Unless we pay undivided attention and concentrate intensely, we will stray from the footsteps we should be following. Thus, there is always the need to be on guard, especially when sudden noises or other unexpected distractions might take our mind off the task at hand.—Compare Job 18:10, 11.
9 In a figurative way, this is also true of those who are following in Jesus’ footsteps. Jesus warned his followers to pay close attention to themselves, lest their hearts “become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life.” (Luke 21:34) Satan uses these daily distractions to cause us to take our eyes from Jesus’ footsteps. He is quick to catch us off guard by taking advantage of unexpected circumstances, such as opposition, illness, or financial setbacks. To ensure “that we may never drift away,” we must “pay more than the usual attention to the things heard,” in other words, keep our eyes more closely focused on Christ’s footsteps than ever before.—Hebrews 2:1; see also 1 John 2:15-17.
Do Not Deviate
10. (a) What danger exists when different trails of footprints cross one another? (b) In a spiritual sense, why are the consequences of following wrong footsteps serious?
10 On a crowded beach, there may be several sets of footprints in the moist sand, and some trails of footprints may cross the one we are following. Many sets of footprints may, at least superficially, look alike. How vital it is to be certain that we are following the correct ones! Otherwise we may be betrayed into going in the wrong direction. In a spiritual sense, this could have serious consequences. The danger in following footsteps that may look right but that in reality are not is shown in the proverb that warns: “There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterward.”—Proverbs 16:25.
11. What warning did Paul give early Christians, setting an example for whom today?
11 Because of this very real danger, Paul felt compelled to warn his brothers in the early Christian congregation: “I marvel that you are being so quickly removed from the One who called you with Christ’s undeserved kindness over to another sort of good news. . . . There are certain ones who are causing you trouble and wanting to pervert the good news about the Christ. . . . Whoever it is that is declaring to you as good news something beyond what you accepted, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9) In keeping with Paul’s example, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses today warns us of apostates and false brothers who lay down, as it were, counterfeit footprints. True Christians do not want to deviate from the path Christ has set before them at God’s direction.—Psalm 44:18.
12. (a) How can 2 Timothy 1:13 help us avoid being misled into following counterfeit footsteps? (b) What characterizes other sorts of good news?
12 By paying close attention to the identifying marks of Christ’s footprints, we avoid being misled. Accurate knowledge about Jesus, about his teachings, and about the way the Christian congregation operates helps us identify “the pattern of healthful words” that protects us from those who “pervert the good news about the Christ.” (2 Timothy 1:13) Other sorts of so-called good news—in reality, counterfeit footprints—fail to fit into that pattern of truth. They pervert it, throwing the picture out of focus. Rather than clarifying basic Bible truths and principles, they contradict them. Instead of encouraging us to greater activity in Jehovah’s service, they argue in favor of slowing down. Their message is not positive and does not glorify Jehovah’s name and organization; it is negative, faultfinding, and critical. Most certainly, these are not the footsteps we want to follow.
Keep the Proper Pace
13. How is pace involved when we are following in someone’s footsteps?
13 When we walk, the length of our stride is determined in part by the speed at which we walk. Generally, the faster we walk, the longer our stride; the slower we walk, the shorter. Thus, it will be easier for us to follow in someone’s literal footsteps if we adjust our pace to agree with his. Likewise, in order to walk successfully in the figurative footsteps of our Leader, Jesus Christ, we must maintain his pace.
14. (a) In what ways may we not keep pace with Jesus? (b) Why is it foolish to try to go faster than “the faithful and discreet slave”?
14 Not keeping pace with Christ could mean one of two things. Either we try to go faster, running ahead of “the faithful and discreet slave” that Jesus is using to accomplish Jehovah’s purpose, or we lag behind in following that ‘slave’s’ direction. (Matthew 24:45-47) As an example of the first, some Christians have in times past become impatient about doctrinal or organizational changes or refinements that they felt were necessary and overdue. Becoming disgruntled because they felt things were not moving quickly enough, they withdrew from Jehovah’s people. How foolish and how shortsighted! Often the very thing that upset them was later changed—in Jehovah’s due time.—Proverbs 19:2; Ecclesiastes 7:8, 9.
15. How were King David and Jesus good examples of maintaining a proper pace?
15 The course of wisdom is to wait for Jehovah to act rather than trying to dictate the pace at which things should happen. Ancient King David set a proper example. He refused to conspire against King Saul in an attempt to claim the kingship before it was Jehovah’s due time to give it to him. (1 Samuel 24:1-15) Likewise, “the Son of David,” Jesus, realized that he would have to wait to enter fully into his heavenly kingship. He knew the prophetic utterance that applied to him: “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.” So when a group of Jews wanted to “seize him to make him king,” Jesus quickly withdrew. (Matthew 21:9; Psalm 110:1; John 6:15) Some 30 years later, according to Hebrews 10:12, 13, Jesus was still awaiting his kingship. In fact, he waited almost 19 centuries before being installed as rightful King of God’s Kingdom at its establishment in 1914.
16. (a) Illustrate how we may move more slowly than we should. (b) What is the purpose of Jehovah’s patience, and how should we avoid abusing that patience?
16 Failing to keep a proper pace, however, could also mean slowing down, lagging behind. Thus, when God’s Word indicates that changes must be made in our lives, do we act without delay? Or do we argue that since God is patient, we can put off making such changes until later, hoping that it may be easier then? True, Jehovah is patient. But this is not in order that we may be lax about making needed adjustments. Rather, “he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9, 15) How much better, then, to imitate the psalmist who said: “I hurried up, and I did not delay to keep your commandments.”—Psalm 119:60.
17. What does keeping proper pace have to do with Kingdom preaching, leading us to ask ourselves what question?
17 Lagging behind could also involve Kingdom preaching. According to Matthew 25, Jesus is at present judging mankind, separating “the sheep” from “the goats.” This is being accomplished for the most part by means of the preaching of “this good news of the kingdom.” (Matthew 24:14; 25:31-33; Revelation 14:6, 7) The time allotted to accomplish this separating work is necessarily limited. (Matthew 24:34) As the available time draws to a close, we can expect Jesus to speed up the work. In doing so, he is acting as an instrument of God, who, speaking of the ingathering work, promises: “I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time.” (Isaiah 60:22) As God’s coworkers, following closely in the footsteps of his Son, are we speeding up our pace of Kingdom preaching to the extent that our physical situation and Scriptural responsibilities allow? Field service reports indicate that millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are!
Shun Overconfidence, Fight Discouragement
18. Why might a person become overconfident, and how does the Bible warn of this danger?
18 The longer we persevere in following in someone else’s footsteps, the more habitual his way of walking will become for us. If, though, we become complacent, sooner or later we will make a misstep. Thus, when following in Jesus’ figurative footsteps, we must recognize the danger of becoming overconfident, carelessly relying upon our own strength and abilities, feeling that we have mastered his perfect way of walking. Peter’s experience recorded at Luke 22:54-62 serves as a timely warning. It also emphasizes the truthfulness of 1 Corinthians 10:12, which says: “Let him that thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall.”
19 Because of imperfection, every Christian will make a misstep from time to time. The divergence may be small, scarcely noticeable to others. Or it may be such an obvious missing of the mark that it will be seen by all. In either case, how comforting to remember Paul’s honest admission: “For the good that I wish I do not do, but the bad that I do not wish is what I practice. Miserable man that I am!” (Romans 7:19, 24) Of course, these words are not to be viewed as an excuse for doing wrong. Rather, they are an encouragement to devoted Christians struggling with imperfections, helping them to persist in their endeavor to meet the challenge of walking in Jesus’ perfect footsteps.
20. (a) How does Proverbs 24:16 help us in our race for life? (b) What should we be determined to do?
20 “The righteous one may fall even seven times, and he will certainly get up,” says Proverbs 24:16. In our race for life, no one should feel impelled to resign. This race is like a marathon, a race of endurance, not a hundred-yard dash. The slightest misstep on the part of a sprinter will in all probability cost him the race. But the marathon runner, even if he stumbles, has time to recover and finish the course. So when some personal misstep makes you cry out, “Miserable man that I am!” remember that you still have time to recover. You still have an opportunity to get back into step with your Leader, Jesus Christ. No reason for despair! No reason to give up! Be determined, with divine help, to meet successfully the challenge of ‘following closely in Jesus’ footsteps.’—1 Peter 2:21.
A People Walking in Jesus’ Footsteps
“We walked in the same spirit, did we not? In the same footsteps, did we not?”—2 CORINTHIANS 12:18.
1. Why is it often not difficult to recognize one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
“AS A group, they’re polite, responsible, and do well in school. This cannot be said of other groups.” So said the principal of an elementary school in the United States. Whom was he speaking about? The children of Jehovah’s Witnesses who were pupils in his school. Indeed, many have noticed that Jehovah’s Witnesses, including their children, often resemble other Witnesses in certain ways. Over the years it has become increasingly apparent that they are remarkably united as regards beliefs and conduct. So the Witnesses are not difficult to recognize.
2. What was a characteristic quality of the early Christian congregation, and what did Paul have to say about this?
2 The unity of Jehovah’s Witnesses is something unusual in this disunited world. But it is not hard to understand if we remember that all of them are striving to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. (1 Peter 2:21) Such unity was also a characteristic of first-century Christians. On one occasion, Paul admonished the congregation in Corinth: “Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you should all speak in agreement, and that there should not be divisions among you, but that you may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10) Paul also gave inspired counsel on how to deal with persons unwilling to maintain Christian unity.—See Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:6.
3, 4. How did Paul describe the unity between himself and Titus, and what was the basis for this unity?
3 About the year 55 C.E., Paul sent Titus to Corinth to assist in making a collection for needy brothers in Judea and possibly to see how the congregation was reacting to Paul’s counsel. When later writing to the Corinthians, Paul referred to Titus’ recent visit and asked: “Titus did not take advantage of you at all, did he? We walked in the same spirit, did we not? In the same footsteps, did we not?” (2 Corinthians 12:18) What did Paul mean by their walking “in the same spirit” and “in the same footsteps”?
4 He was expressing the unity that existed between him and Titus. Titus was Paul’s occasional traveling companion, and he no doubt learned much from Paul in this way. But the unity existing between the two was based on something stronger than that. It was based on their fine relationship with Jehovah and on the fact that both of them were footstep followers of Christ. Titus imitated Paul just as Paul imitated Christ. (Luke 6:40; 1 Corinthians 11:1) So it was in Jesus’ spirit and in his footsteps that they were walking.
5. What can be expected of persons today who imitate Paul and Titus as they walk “in the same spirit” and “in the same footsteps”?
5 It is not strange, then, that Christians of this 20th century, walking “in the same spirit” and “in the same footsteps” as Paul and Titus, enjoy an unequaled unity. In fact, the disunity of nominal Christians betrays them as being counterfeit Christians, not walking in the footsteps of the Leader they claim to follow. (Luke 11:17) This striking difference between true and nominal Christians can be illustrated in various ways. Let us mention four.
The Sanctity of Blood
6, 7. (a) What correct view of blood is involved in walking in Jesus’ footsteps? (b) What is the difference between Jehovah’s Witnesses and others today who refuse blood transfusions?
6 About the year 49 C.E., the governing body of the first-century congregation sent out a letter that answered the question: Should non-Jewish Christians obey the Law of Moses? The letter said this: “The holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you, except these necessary things, to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication.” (Acts 15:28, 29) Notice that among the “necessary things” was abstinence from blood. Walking in Jesus’ footsteps would mean not taking blood into the body either orally or in any other way.
7 This principle has been flagrantly violated in Christendom by the practice of administering blood transfusions. True, in recent years a number of individuals have become aware of the health hazards of blood transfusions and have refused them for medical reasons. This is particularly true since many have contracted AIDS from transfused blood. But who uphold the sanctity of blood out of respect for God’s law, doing so as a group? When a patient objects to having a transfusion, whom does the doctor automatically think him to be? Does the doctor not usually say: ‘You must be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses’?
8. How was a Witness in Italy blessed for her determination to keep God’s law in this respect?
8 Antonietta lives in Italy. About eight years ago she was very sick, and her blood count was so low that doctors insisted that transfusions were needed to save her life. She refused and was opposed by both doctors and relatives. Even her two little boys pleaded: “Mama, if you really love us, take the blood.” But Antonietta was determined to remain faithful, and happily she did not die. Still, her condition was so serious that a doctor said: “We can’t explain why she’s still alive.” But once an unobjectionable type of treatment was begun, she made such rapid progress that another doctor remarked: “I can’t believe it—you just couldn’t have recovered in such a short time, not even if we had pumped blood into you all day long.” Currently, she is a regular pioneer, and her two sons, now 12 and 14, are making fine progress in the truth. Antonietta courageously observed that ‘necessary thing,’ the sanctity of blood. All of Jehovah’s Witnesses hold the same view as they walk in Jesus’ footsteps.
9. What is another ‘necessary thing’ involved in following in Jesus’ footsteps, and what happens to those who fail to observe this?
9 Another ‘necessary thing’ highlighted in that letter from the first-century governing body was “to keep abstaining . . . from fornication.” In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul enlarged on this, saying: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) Christians help people who wish to serve Jehovah to rid themselves of these unclean practices. Even members of the congregation who get ensnared by them are helped to purify themselves if they turn around and repent. (James 5:13-15) But if any Christian falls into such filthy practices and refuses to repent, a straightforward Bible rule applies. Paul was divinely inspired to say: “Quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator. . . . Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”—1 Corinthians 5:11, 13.
10, 11. (a) Who must bear responsibility for the low moral standards in Christendom, and why? (b) How does the experience of a man in the Philippines demonstrate that, as a group, Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain high moral standards?
10 Despite this clear teaching, Christendom is riddled with immorality. Clergymen who water down the divine standards are to blame for this situation, as are those who pay lip service to Bible standards but fail to enforce them courageously in their congregations. Nevertheless, in this, too, Jehovah’s Witnesses as a people walk in Jesus’ footsteps.
11 Consider Jose, from the Philippines. At 17 he was already known as a troublemaker and a gambler. He was often drunk, was living an immoral life, and frequently landed in jail for stealing. Then he came in contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The study of the Bible completely changed my life,” he says. “I no longer drink and smoke, and I have learned to control my temper. I now have a clear conscience, having just one wife. I have also gained the respect of my neighbors, who used to call me ‘Jose, the notorious one’ and ‘Jose, the ghost.’ Now they call me ‘Jose, the Witness of Jehovah.’ My son and my nephew are ministerial servants in the congregation where I presently serve as an elder and a regular pioneer.” Jose and millions of other Christian witnesses of Jehovah walk in Jesus’ footsteps as morally clean Christians.
12. What attitude of genuine Christians did Jesus highlight in his prayer recorded in John chapter 17?
12 In the long prayer that Jesus offered on the last evening he was with his disciples, he mentioned another way that his followers would ‘walk in his footsteps.’ Speaking of his disciples, he said: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:16) This means that Christians are neutral. Rather than taking part in politics or national conflicts, they tell others about God’s Kingdom, the only solution to this world’s problems.—Matthew 6:9, 10; John 18:36.
13, 14. (a) How does Christendom differ from Jehovah’s Witnesses in the matter of neutrality? (b) How did maintaining political neutrality on the part of a Witness in Japan work out to the benefit of the whole brotherhood?
13 This principle of neutrality has been forgotten by most members of Christendom, for whom national origins are usually more important than religious affiliations. Syndicated columnist Mike Royko points out that “Christians” have never been “squeamish about waging wars on other Christians,” adding: “If they had been, most of the liveliest wars in Europe would never have occurred.” That Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain strict Christian neutrality in times of war is a well-known fact. But as footstep followers of Jesus, they are also neutral on social and political issues. Thus, nothing disturbs their remarkable worldwide unity.—1 Peter 2:17.
14 Their neutrality sometimes brings unexpected results. In the Tsugaru district of northern Japan, for example, elections are taken very seriously. But Toshio, assistant manager in the Finance Department of a local governmental office, refused for reasons of conscience to get involved in the mayor’s reelection campaign. This resulted in his being demoted to a low position in the Department of Sewage. A year later, however, the mayor was arrested and forced to resign because of corrupt practices. A new mayor was elected. When he heard about Toshio’s demotion, he restored him to a high administrative position, and this brought blessings to Toshio’s Christian brothers. How? Toshio explains that it is very difficult to obtain permission to use gymnasiums for gatherings other than athletic events. But in his present position, “Jehovah has been able to use me”—quoting Toshio’s own words—“to obtain the use of such gymnasiums for three district conventions and four circuit assemblies.” He concludes: “Provided we remain faithful, Jehovah will open up unimaginable ways to use us.”
In the Home
15. How did Jesus leave a model for his footstep followers in the matter of family relationships?
15 Another field in which Christians ‘follow in Jesus’ footsteps’ is in the home. The Bible establishes Jesus’ example as the model for domestic relations when it says: “Be in subjection to one another in fear of Christ. Let wives be in subjection to their husbands as to the Lord, because a husband is head of his wife as the Christ also is head of the congregation . . . In fact, as the congregation is in subjection to the Christ, so let wives also be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it.”—Ephesians 5:21-25.
16, 17. (a) What bad situation exists in Christendom as regards domestic relationships? (b) How only can domestic relations be improved, as shown by the experience of a married couple in Brazil?
16 Christendom today for the most part ignores this counsel and is thus full of shattered families. Broken homes are common, and parent-child conflicts often go very deep. “The family is falling apart,” observed a psychology professor some years ago. Child psychologists, marriage counselors, and psychiatrists have only limited success in holding endangered families together. But Jehovah’s Witnesses try hard to apply Bible principles and are noted for better-than-average family relationships.
17 Aldemar, for example, was a lieutenant in Brazil’s military police and had family problems. His wife left him and sought a legal separation. He began drinking heavily and even attempted suicide. Later, his relatives, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, spoke to him about the Bible. He liked what he heard and began studying. Wanting to harmonize his life with the stand of neutrality for which Jehovah’s Witnesses are noted, he requested a discharge from the military. Aldemar and his wife resolved their marital differences by applying the Bible principles that Aldemar was learning. Today, they are following in the footsteps of Jesus, serving Jehovah together as regular pioneers.
Obedient Because of Love
18. (a) Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses being spiritually blessed today? (b) How is Isaiah 2:2-4 now undergoing fulfillment?
18 It is evident that Jehovah’s Witnesses are unitedly walking in the spirit and in the footsteps of Christ Jesus. As individuals and as a group, they are being spiritually blessed for doing so. (Psalm 133:1-3) The obvious evidences of divine blessing on them have motivated multitudes of honesthearted people to act in harmony with the prophecy at Isaiah 2:2-4. In just the past five years, 987,828 have taken the necessary steps for dedication and then presented themselves for water baptism. Lovingly, Jehovah has placed no arbitrary limit on the number of people who can do this before “the great tribulation” strikes!—Revelation 7:9, 14.
19. (a) What are tangible benefits that may result from serving Jehovah, and how should they be viewed? (b) What is our basic reason for obeying Jehovah’s commandments?
19 As the above experiences demonstrate, the spiritual blessings enjoyed by God’s people are often accompanied by tangible benefits. For example, by abstaining from smoking, by living moral lives, and by respecting the sanctity of blood, they may avoid falling victim to certain diseases. Or because of living in harmony with the truth, they may benefit in an economic, social, or domestic way. Any such tangible benefits are viewed as a blessing from Jehovah, and they prove the practicalness of Jehovah’s laws. But the possibility of gaining such practical advantages is not in itself the main reason for obeying God’s laws. True Christians obey Jehovah because they love him, because he deserves their worship, and because doing his will is the only right thing. (1 John 5:2, 3; Revelation 4:11) It is Satan who contends that people serve God solely for selfish benefits.—See Job 1:9-11; 2:4, 5.
20. How are Jehovah’s Witnesses of today walking in the same spirit as three faithful Hebrew witnesses of ancient times?
20 Modern-day witnesses of Jehovah walk in the same spirit as the three faithful young Hebrew witnesses of Daniel’s day. When threatened with being cast into a burning fiery furnace, these said: “If it is to be, our God whom we are serving is able to rescue us. Out of the burning fiery furnace and out of your hand, O king, he will rescue us. But if not [that is to say, even if he lets us die], let it become known to you, O king, that your gods are not the ones we are serving, and the image of gold that you have set up we will not worship.” (Daniel 3:17, 18) Irrespective of immediate tangible benefits or consequences, Jehovah’s Witnesses will continue to follow closely in Jesus’ footsteps, knowing that everlasting life in God’s new world is assured! As a united people, they will continue walking “in the same spirit” and “in the same footsteps,” come what may!