“Draw Close to God”
“Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”—JAMES 4:8.
1, 2. (a) What claim do humans often make? (b) What exhortation did James give, and why was it needed?
“GOD with us.” Those words have decorated national emblems and even the uniforms of soldiers. “In God we trust” has been engraved on innumerable coins and bills in modern currency. It is common for humans to claim that they have a close relationship with God. Would you not agree, though, that actually having such a relationship requires far more than just talking about it or displaying slogans?
2 The Bible shows that it is possible to have a relationship with God. Effort is required though. Even some anointed Christians in the first century needed to strengthen their relationship with Jehovah God. The Christian overseer James had to warn some regarding their fleshly tendencies and loss of spiritual cleanness. In the midst of that counsel, he gave this powerful exhortation: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:1-12) What did James mean by “draw close”?
3, 4. (a) Of what might some of James’ first-century readers have been reminded by the expression “draw close to God”? (b) Why may we be assured that approach to God is possible?
3 James used an expression that would have been familiar to many of his readers. The Mosaic Law gave the priests specific instructions on how to “come near to,” or approach, Jehovah on behalf of his people. (Exodus 19:22) James’ readers may thus have been reminded that approaching Jehovah is not something to be taken for granted. Jehovah is the greatest dignitary in the universe.
4 On the other hand, as one Bible scholar notes, “this exhortation [at James 4:8] reveals a powerful optimism.” James knew that Jehovah has always lovingly invited imperfect humans to draw close to Him. (2 Chronicles 15:2) Jesus’ sacrifice opened the way of approach to Jehovah in a fuller sense. (Ephesians 3:11, 12) Today, the way of approach to God has been opened up to millions! How, though, may we take advantage of this marvelous opportunity? We will briefly consider three means by which we can draw close to Jehovah God.
Keep On “Taking in Knowledge” of God
5, 6. How does the example of young Samuel illustrate what is involved in “taking in knowledge” of God?
5 According to John 17:3, Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” Many translations of this verse differ slightly from the New World Translation. Instead of saying “taking in knowledge” of God, they simply render the verb “to know” God or “knowing” God. However, a number of scholars note that the sense of the word used in the original Greek involves something more—a continuous process, one that may even lead to intimate acquaintance with another.
6 Coming to know God intimately was not a new idea in Jesus’ day. In the Hebrew Scriptures, for example, we read that when Samuel was a boy, he “had not yet come to know Jehovah.” (1 Samuel 3:7) Did this mean that Samuel knew very little about his God? No. His parents and the priests would surely have taught him much. However, the Hebrew word used in that verse can, according to one scholar, be “used for the most intimate acquaintance.” Samuel had not yet come to know Jehovah intimately, as he would later when serving as Jehovah’s spokesman. As Samuel continued growing up, he truly came to know Jehovah, gaining a close personal relationship with him.—1 Samuel 3:19, 20.
7, 8. (a) Why should we not be intimidated by the Bible’s deeper teachings? (b) What are some deep truths of God’s Word that we would do well to study?
7 Are you taking in knowledge of Jehovah so as to become intimately acquainted with him? To do so, you need to “form a longing” for the spiritual food that God provides. (1 Peter 2:2) Do not be satisfied with the basics. Seek to take in some of the Bible’s deeper teachings. (Hebrews 5:12-14) Are you intimidated by such teachings, assuming that they are too difficult? If so, remember that Jehovah is the “Grand Instructor.” (Isaiah 30:20) He knows how to convey deep truths to imperfect human minds. And he can bless your sincere efforts to grasp what he is teaching you.—Psalm 25:4.
8 Why not examine yourself regarding some of “the deep things of God”? (1 Corinthians 2:10) These are not dry topics such as might be debated by theologians and clergymen. They are living doctrines that provide fascinating insight into the mind and heart of our loving Father. For example, the ransom, the “sacred secret,” and the various covenants that Jehovah has used to bless his people and fulfill his purposes—these subjects and many like them are delightful and rewarding fields for personal research and study.—1 Corinthians 2:7.
9, 10. (a) Why is pride dangerous, and what will help us to avoid it? (b) When it comes to the knowledge of Jehovah, why should we strive to be humble?
9 As you grow in knowledge of deeper spiritual truths, beware of the danger that may come with knowledge—pride. (1 Corinthians 8:1) Pride is dangerous, for it alienates humans from God. (Proverbs 16:5; James 4:6) Remember, no man has reason to boast in his knowledge. To illustrate, consider these words from the introduction to a book that surveys mankind’s more recent scientific advances: “The more we come to know, the more we realize how little we know. . . . Everything we have learned is nothing compared to what we have yet to learn.” Such humility is refreshing. Now, when it comes to the greatest body of knowledge—the knowledge of Jehovah God—we have even greater cause for keeping humble. Why?
10 Note some Biblical statements about Jehovah. “Very deep your thoughts are.” (Psalm 92:5) “[Jehovah’s] understanding is beyond recounting.” (Psalm 147:5) “There is no searching out of [Jehovah’s] understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28) “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!” (Romans 11:33) Clearly, we will never know all there is to know about Jehovah. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) He has taught us many wonderful things, yet we will always have before us an infinite body of knowledge from which to learn more. Do we not find that prospect both thrilling and humbling? As we learn, then, let us always use our knowledge as a basis for drawing close to Jehovah and for helping others to do so—never as a means to exalt ourselves over others.—Matthew 23:12; Luke 9:48.
Express Your Love for Jehovah
11, 12. (a) How should the knowledge we take in regarding Jehovah affect us? (b) What determines whether a person’s love for God is genuine?
11 Fittingly, the apostle Paul made a connection between knowledge and love. He wrote: “This is what I continue praying, that your love may abound yet more and more with accurate knowledge and full discernment.” (Philippians 1:9) Rather than puffing us up with pride, every precious truth that we learn about Jehovah and his purposes should increase our love for our heavenly Father.
12 Of course, many who claim to love God really do not. They may be sincere about strong feelings that well up in their hearts. Such feelings are good, even commendable, when in harmony with accurate knowledge. But they do not in themselves amount to real love for God. Why not? Note how God’s Word defines such love: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments.” (1 John 5:3) Love for Jehovah, then, is genuine only when it is expressed in obedient actions.
13. How will godly fear help us to demonstrate our love for Jehovah?
13 Godly fear will help us to obey Jehovah. This profound awe and deep respect for Jehovah stems from taking in knowledge of him, learning about his infinite holiness, glory, power, justice, wisdom, and love. Such fear is crucial to drawing close to him. In fact, note what Psalm 25:14 says: “The intimacy with Jehovah belongs to those fearful of him.” So if we have a healthy fear of displeasing our beloved heavenly Father, we can draw close to him. Godly fear will help us to heed the wise counsel recorded at Proverbs 3:6: “In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.” What does that mean?
14, 15. (a) What are some of the decisions we face in everyday life? (b) How can we make decisions in a way that reflects our godly fear?
14 You have to make decisions every day, both major and minor. For instance, what kind of conversation will you have with your workmates, schoolmates, neighbors? (Luke 6:45) Will you work hard at the tasks set before you, or will you seek ways to get by with minimal effort? (Colossians 3:23) Will you draw closer to those who show little or no love for Jehovah, or will you seek to strengthen your relationships with spiritual people? (Proverbs 13:20) What will you do, even in small ways, to promote the interests of God’s Kingdom? (Matthew 6:33) If such Scriptural principles as those cited here guide your everyday decisions, then you are indeed taking notice of Jehovah “in all your ways.”
15 In effect, with each decision we make, we should be guided by this thought: ‘What would Jehovah want me to do? What course would please him most?’ (Proverbs 27:11) Showing godly fear in this manner is an excellent way to express love for Jehovah. Godly fear will also move us to keep clean—spiritually, morally, and physically. Remember, in the same verse in which James urges Christians to “draw close to God,” he also exhorts: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you indecisive ones.”—James 4:8.
16. By giving to Jehovah, what can we never accomplish, yet what may we always succeed in doing?
16 Of course, expressing our love for Jehovah involves far more than refraining from what is bad. Love also moves us to do what is right. For instance, how do we respond to Jehovah’s overwhelming generosity? James wrote: “Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, for it comes down from the Father of the celestial lights.” (James 1:17) Granted, when we give to Jehovah of our possessions, we do not enrich him. He already owns all the goods and resources there are. (Psalm 50:12) And when we give to Jehovah of our time and energy, we are not filling a need that he cannot otherwise meet. Even if we were to refuse to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom, he could cause the stones to cry out! Why, then, give to Jehovah of our resources, time, and energy? Above all, because we thereby express our love for him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.—Mark 12:29, 30.
17. What can motivate us to give cheerfully to Jehovah?
17 When we give to Jehovah, we should do so gladly, “for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) The principle recorded at Deuteronomy 16:17 can help us to give cheerfully: “The gift of each one’s hand should be in proportion to the blessing of Jehovah your God that he has given you.” When we contemplate how generous Jehovah has been with us, we feel a desire to give freely to him. Such giving makes his heart rejoice, much the way a little gift from a beloved child delights a parent. Expressing our love in this way will help us draw close to Jehovah.
Build Intimacy by Means of Prayer
18. Why is it worthwhile to consider how to improve the quality of our prayers?
18 Our moments of private prayer afford us an invaluable opportunity—occasions for intimate, confidential talk to our heavenly Father. (Philippians 4:6) Since prayer is a vital means of drawing close to God, it is worthwhile to pause and consider the quality of our prayers. Not that they must be models of eloquence and organization, but they should be sincere expressions that come from the heart. How can we improve the quality of our prayers?
19, 20. Why meditate before we pray, and what are some fitting subjects for such meditation?
19 We might try meditating before we pray. If we meditate ahead of time, we can make our prayers specific and meaningful, thus avoiding the practice of repeating phrases that feel familiar and spring readily to mind. (Proverbs 15:28, 29) Perhaps pondering some of the themes that Jesus mentioned in his model prayer and then considering how these relate to our own circumstances might help. (Matthew 6:9-13) For example, we might ask ourselves what small part we hope to play in the doing of Jehovah’s will here on earth. Might we express to Jehovah our desire to be as useful to him as possible and request his help in carrying out whatever assignments he has given us? Are we burdened by concerns about our material needs? For what sins do we need forgiveness, and toward whom do we need to be more forgiving? What temptations afflict us, and do we realize how urgently we need Jehovah’s protection in that regard?
20 Additionally, we might think about people we know who are in particular need of Jehovah’s help. (2 Corinthians 1:11) Not to be forgotten, though, is the matter of giving thanks. If we stop and think about it, we can surely come up with reasons to thank Jehovah and praise him each day for his abundant goodness. (Deuteronomy 8:10; Luke 10:21) Doing so has an added benefit—it can help us to gain a more positive, appreciative outlook on life.
21. Studying what Scriptural examples might help us when we approach Jehovah in prayer?
21 Study can aid our prayers as well. There are outstanding prayers by faithful men and women recorded in God’s Word. For instance, if a challenging problem is looming ahead of us, causing us some anxiety and even fear for our well-being or that of our loved ones, we might read over the prayer of Jacob regarding his upcoming meeting with his vengeful brother, Esau. (Genesis 32:9-12) Or we might study the prayer uttered by King Asa when a force of some one million Ethiopians threatened God’s people. (2 Chronicles 14:11, 12) If we are troubled by a problem that threatens to bring reproach on Jehovah’s good name, then Elijah’s prayer before the Baal worshipers on Mount Carmel is worth considering, as is Nehemiah’s prayer regarding the deplorable state of Jerusalem. (1 Kings 18:36, 37; Nehemiah 1:4-11) Reading and meditating on such prayers can strengthen our faith and give us ideas as to how best to approach Jehovah with the concerns that weigh us down.
22. What is the yeartext for 2003, and what might we ask ourselves from time to time throughout the year?
22 Clearly, there is no greater honor, no higher aim, than heeding James’ counsel to “draw close to God.” (James 4:8) May we do so by progressing in our knowledge of God, by seeking to express our love for him more and more, and by developing intimacy with him in our prayers. Throughout the year 2003, while we keep in mind James 4:8 as the yeartext, let us continue to examine ourselves as to whether we are indeed drawing close to Jehovah. What, though, about the latter part of that statement? In what sense will Jehovah “draw close to you,” bringing what blessings? The following article will take up this matter.
“He Will Draw Close to You”
“[God] is not far off from each one of us.”—ACTS 17:27.
1, 2. (a) When looking up at the starry heavens, what question might we ask regarding the Creator? (b) How does the Bible assure us that humans are far from insignificant in Jehovah’s eyes?
HAVE you ever looked up at the starry heavens on a clear night and been filled with wonder? The sheer number of stars and the vastness of space inspire awe. In this immense universe, the earth is but a speck. Does this mean that the Creator, “the Most High over all the earth,” is too lofty to be concerned about humans or too distant and unsearchable to be known by them?—Psalm 83:18.
2 The Bible assures us that humans are far from insignificant in Jehovah’s eyes. In fact, God’s Word encourages us to seek him, saying: “He is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27; 1 Chronicles 28:9) Indeed, if we take steps to draw close to God, he will respond to our efforts. In what way? The words of our yeartext for 2003 give this heartwarming answer: “He will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) Let us discuss some of the marvelous blessings that Jehovah showers upon those who are close to him.
A Personal Gift From Jehovah
3. What gift does Jehovah give to those who draw close to him?
3 First, Jehovah’s servants have a precious gift that he has reserved for his people. All the power, wealth, and education that this system of things offers cannot secure this gift. It is a personal gift, one that Jehovah gives only to those close to him. What is it? God’s Word answers: “If . . . you give forth your voice for discernment itself, if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God. For Jehovah himself gives wisdom.” (Proverbs 2:3-6) Imagine imperfect humans being able to find “the very knowledge of God”! That gift—the knowledge found in God’s Word—is compared to “hid treasures.” Why?
4, 5. Why can “the very knowledge of God” be compared to “hid treasures”? Illustrate.
4 For one thing, the knowledge of God has great value. One of its most precious blessings is the prospect of everlasting life. (John 17:3) But that knowledge enriches our life even now. For example, as a result of our careful study of God’s Word, we have come to know the answers to such important questions as: What is God’s name? (Psalm 83:18) What is the true condition of the dead? (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) What is God’s purpose for the earth and mankind? (Isaiah 45:18) We have also come to know that the best way to live is by applying the Bible’s wise counsel. (Isaiah 30:20, 21; 48:17, 18) Thus, we have sound guidance that helps us to cope with the anxieties of life and to pursue a course that promotes genuine happiness and satisfaction. Above all, our study of God’s Word has enabled us to come to know Jehovah’s marvelous qualities and to draw close to him. What could be more valuable than a close relationship with Jehovah based on “the very knowledge of God”?
5 There is another reason why the knowledge of God can be compared to “hid treasures.” Like many treasures, it is relatively rare in this world. Of earth’s six billion inhabitants, some six million worshipers of Jehovah, or about 1 in 1,000, have found “the very knowledge of God.” To illustrate what a rare privilege it is to know the truth of God’s Word, consider just one Bible question: What happens to humans at death? We know from the Scriptures that the soul dies and that the dead are unconscious. (Ezekiel 18:4) Yet, the false belief that something inside a person continues living after death is embraced by most of the world’s religions. It is an integral part of the religions of Christendom. It also prevails in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, and Taoism. Just think—billions of people are deceived by this one false doctrine!
6, 7. (a) Who only can find “the very knowledge of God”? (b) What example shows that Jehovah has blessed us with insight that escapes many “wise and intellectual ones”?
6 Why have not more people found “the very knowledge of God”? Because one cannot fully grasp the meaning of God’s Word without His help. Remember, this knowledge is a gift. Jehovah gives it only to those who are willing to search his Word with honesty and humility. Such ones may not be “wise in a fleshly way.” (1 Corinthians 1:26) Many among them may even be considered “unlettered and ordinary” by the world’s standards. (Acts 4:13) Yet, that does not matter. Jehovah rewards us with “the very knowledge of God” because of qualities he finds in our heart.
7 Consider an example. Many scholars in Christendom have produced extensive commentaries on the Bible. Such reference works may explain historical background, the meaning of Hebrew and Greek words, and more. With all of their learning, have such scholars really found “the very knowledge of God”? Well, do they clearly understand the theme of the Bible—the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty by means of his heavenly Kingdom? Do they know that Jehovah God is not part of a Trinity? We do have an accurate understanding of such matters. Why? Jehovah has blessed us with insight into spiritual truths that escapes many “wise and intellectual ones.” (Matthew 11:25) How Jehovah blesses those who are close to him!
“Jehovah Is Guarding All Those Loving Him”
8, 9. (a) How did David describe another blessing for those who are close to Jehovah? (b) Why do true Christians need divine protection?
8 Those who are close to Jehovah enjoy another blessing—divine protection. The psalmist David, who was no stranger to adversity, wrote: “Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him, to all those who call upon him in trueness. The desire of those fearing him he will perform, and their cry for help he will hear, and he will save them. Jehovah is guarding all those loving him.” (Psalm 145:18-20) Yes, Jehovah is near to those who love him and therefore can be swift in responding to their cries for help.
9 Why do we need divine protection? In addition to feeling the effects of living in these “critical times hard to deal with,” true Christians are a special target of Jehovah’s chief Adversary, Satan the Devil. (2 Timothy 3:1) That crafty enemy is out “to devour” us. (1 Peter 5:8) Satan persecutes, pressures, and tempts us. He also looks for attitudes of mind and heart that he can exploit. He has an objective in mind: to weaken our faith and consume us spiritually. (Revelation 12:12, 17) Since we have such a powerful foe to contend with, is it not reassuring to know that “Jehovah is guarding all those loving him”?
10. (a) How does Jehovah guard his people? (b) What is the most important kind of protection, and why?
10 How, though, does Jehovah guard his people? His promise of protection does not guarantee us a problem-free life in this system; nor does it mean that he is obligated to work miracles in our behalf. Nevertheless, Jehovah does provide physical protection for his people as a group. After all, he would never allow the Devil to efface true worshipers from the earth! (2 Peter 2:9) Above all, Jehovah protects us spiritually. He equips us with what we need to endure trials and to safeguard our relationship with him. In the long run, spiritual protection is the most important kind of protection. Why? As long as we have our relationship with Jehovah, nothing—not even death—can do us lasting harm.—Matthew 10:28.
11. What provisions has Jehovah made for the spiritual protection of his people?
11 Jehovah has made abundant provisions for the spiritual protection of those who are close to him. Through his Word, the Bible, he grants us wisdom to cope with various trials. (James 1:2-5) Applying the practical counsel found in the Scriptures makes a difference. In addition, Jehovah gives “holy spirit to those asking him.” (Luke 11:13) That spirit is the most powerful force in the universe, so it can certainly equip us to face successfully any trial or temptation that may come our way. Through Christ, Jehovah provides “gifts in men.” (Ephesians 4:8) These spiritually qualified men endeavor to reflect Jehovah’s own heartfelt compassion in helping fellow worshipers.—James 5:14, 15.
12, 13. (a) By what means does Jehovah supply us with spiritual food at the proper time? (b) How do you feel about Jehovah’s provisions for our spiritual well-being?
12 Jehovah provides something else to safeguard us: spiritual food at the proper time. (Matthew 24:45) By means of printed publications, including the journals The Watchtower and Awake!, as well as by meetings, assemblies, and conventions, Jehovah supplies us with what we need when we need it. Can you recall an occasion when you heard something at a Christian meeting, an assembly, or a convention that touched your heart and strengthened or comforted you? Have you ever read an article in one of the above-mentioned journals and felt that it was written for you?
13 One of Satan’s most effective weapons is discouragement, and we are not immune to its effects. He well knows that prolonged despondency can rob us of strength, even making us vulnerable. (Proverbs 24:10) Because Satan is trying to capitalize on negative feelings, we need help. The Watchtower and Awake! magazines have occasionally featured articles that help us to combat discouragement. Regarding one such article, a Christian sister wrote: “I read the article almost every day, and the tears still well up. I keep it by my bed so that I can have it with me whenever I am feeling down. Through articles like these, I can just feel Jehovah’s protective arms embracing me.”* Are we not grateful to Jehovah for supplying us with timely spiritual food? Remember, his provisions for our spiritual well-being are evidence that he is close to us and has placed us under his protective care.
Access to the “Hearer of Prayer”
14, 15. (a) What personal blessing does Jehovah bestow upon those who are close to him? (b) Why is being granted free access to Jehovah in prayer a remarkable privilege?
14 Have you ever noticed that as humans gain power and authority, they often become less accessible to those under them? What, though, about Jehovah God? Is he too far removed to be interested in the expressions made to him by mere humans? On the contrary! The gift of prayer is yet another blessing that Jehovah bestows upon those who are close to him. Being granted free access to the “Hearer of prayer” is a truly remarkable privilege. (Psalm 65:2) Why?
15 To illustrate: The chief executive of a large corporation has many responsibilities. He decides which matters he will handle personally and which he will delegate to others. Similarly, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe has the option to determine which matters he will involve himself in and which he will delegate. Consider all that Jehovah has delegated to his beloved Son, Jesus. The Son has been given “authority to do judging.” (John 5:27) The angels have been “made subject to him.” (1 Peter 3:22) Jehovah’s powerful holy spirit has been put at Jesus’ disposal to help him to lead his disciples on earth. (John 15:26; 16:7) Jesus could therefore say: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Yet, when it comes to our prayers, Jehovah has chosen to involve himself personally. That is why the Bible directs us to address our prayers only to Jehovah, doing so in the name of Jesus.—Psalm 69:13; John 14:6, 13.
16. Why can we be confident that Jehovah really listens to our prayers?
16 Does Jehovah really listen to our prayers? If he were indifferent or unconcerned, he would never urge us to “persevere in prayer” or to throw our burdens and anxieties on him. (Romans 12:12; Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7) Faithful servants in Bible times had complete confidence that Jehovah listens to prayer. (1 John 5:14) Thus, the psalmist David stated: “[Jehovah] hears my voice.” (Psalm 55:17) We too have every reason to be confident that Jehovah is close, ready to hear our every thought and care.
Jehovah Rewards His Servants
17, 18. (a) How does Jehovah feel about the faithful service of his intelligent creatures? (b) Explain how Proverbs 19:17 shows that our merciful deeds do not go unnoticed by Jehovah.
17 Jehovah’s position as the Universal Sovereign is unaffected by what mere humans may do or refuse to do. Nevertheless, Jehovah is an appreciative God. He values—in fact, cherishes—the faithful service of his intelligent creatures. (Psalm 147:11) This, then, is another benefit enjoyed by those who are close to Jehovah: He rewards his servants.—Hebrews 11:6.
18 The Bible clearly shows that Jehovah values what his worshipers do. For example, we read: “He that is showing favor to the lowly one is lending to Jehovah, and his treatment He will repay to him.” (Proverbs 19:17) Jehovah’s merciful consideration for lowly ones was reflected in the Mosaic Law. (Leviticus 14:21; 19:15) How does Jehovah feel when we imitate his mercy in our dealings with lowly ones? When we give to the lowly one, expecting nothing in return, Jehovah views this as a loan made to Him. Jehovah promises to repay that debt with favor and blessings. (Proverbs 10:22; Matthew 6:3, 4; Luke 14:12-14) Yes, when we show compassion to a fellow worshiper in need, it touches Jehovah’s heart. How grateful we are to know that our merciful deeds do not go unnoticed by our heavenly Father!—Matthew 5:7.
19. (a) Why can we be assured that Jehovah appreciates what we do in the preaching and disciple-making work? (b) How does Jehovah reward acts of service rendered in support of his Kingdom?
19 Jehovah especially appreciates what we do in behalf of his Kingdom. When we draw close to Jehovah, it is only natural that we want to use our time, energy, and resources to share as fully as possible in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work. (Matthew 28:19, 20) At times, we may feel that we are accomplishing little. Our imperfect heart might even cause us to wonder whether Jehovah is pleased with our efforts. (1 John 3:19, 20) But Jehovah treasures every gift—no matter how small—that springs from a heart motivated by love. (Mark 12:41-44) The Bible assures us: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.” (Hebrews 6:10) Indeed, Jehovah remembers and rewards even the smallest act of service rendered in support of his Kingdom. In addition to rich spiritual blessings now, we can look forward to the joys of life in the coming new world, where Jehovah will generously open his hand and satisfy the righteous desires of all who are close to him!—Psalm 145:16; 2 Peter 3:13.
20. Throughout the year 2003, how might we keep in mind the words of our yeartext, and with what result?
20 Throughout the year 2003, let us ask ourselves if we are making continuous effort to draw close to our heavenly Father. If we are, we can be certain that he will respond as he has promised. After all, “God . . . cannot lie.” (Titus 1:2) If you draw close to him, he will draw close to you. (James 4:8) And with what result? Rich blessings now and the prospect of drawing ever closer to Jehovah throughout eternity!
A response to the article “Jehovah Is Greater Than Our Hearts,” in the May 1, 2000, issue of The Watchtower, pages 28-31.