If I have all the faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.—1 Cor. 13:2.
Jesus emphasized the all-important quality of love for God when he answered the question: “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matt. 22:35-40) Because of the importance of both faith and love, Christian Bible writers highlighted these qualities together multiple times, often in the same sentence or phrase. Paul urged his brothers to “put on the breastplate of faith and love.” (1 Thess. 5:8) John wrote: “This is [God’s] commandment: that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another.” (1 John 3:23) Although faith is essential, aspects of this quality will pass away when we see the fulfillment of God’s promises and experience the reality of our Christian hope. But the need to grow in love for God and for our neighbor will never cease. Thus, Paul could write: “Now, however, these three remain: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love.”—1 Cor. 13:13. w16.10 4:15-17
The congregations continued to be made firm in the faith.—Acts 16:5.
Brothers traveling on behalf of the governing body shared “the decrees that had been decided on by the apostles and the elders who were in Jerusalem.” (Acts 16:4) As congregations observed those decrees, they “continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number day by day.” What should we do when we receive direction from God’s organization today? Jehovah’s own Book directs all of us to be obedient and submissive. (Deut. 30:16; Heb. 13:7, 17) A critical or rebellious spirit has no place in God’s organization, for such an attitude could disrupt our loving, peaceful, and united congregations. Of course, no loyal Christian would want to display a disrespectful and disloyal spirit like that of Diotrephes. (3 John 9, 10) We might well ask ourselves: ‘Do I contribute to the spirituality of those around me? Am I quick to accept and support the direction given by the brothers taking the lead?’ w16.11 2:10, 11
Seek the peace of the city to which I have exiled you.—Jer. 29:7.
The Jewish exiles who submitted to the will of God lived a relatively normal life in Babylon. Their captors allowed them to administer their own affairs to some extent. The exiles even had freedom to move about the country. Babylon was a center of trade and commerce in the ancient world, and documents that have been unearthed indicate that many Jews learned the art of buying and selling there, while others became skilled craftsmen. Some Jews even became prosperous. Exile in Babylon was nothing like the slavery in Egypt that the Israelites had experienced centuries before. (Ex. 2:23-25) But would the Israelites ever again be able to worship God in a completely acceptable way? At the time, it seemed most unlikely that they would. Babylon never released its captives. Yet, Jehovah had promised that his people would be liberated, and so they were. God’s word of promise never fails.—Isa. 55:11. w16.11 4:3, 5