How can you become God’s friend?
In what way does Satan’s challenge involve you?
What conduct displeases Jehovah?
How can you live in a way that pleases God?
WHAT kind of person would you choose as a friend? Very likely you would want the company of someone who shares your views, interests, and values. And you would be drawn to one who has fine qualities, such as honesty and kindness.
2 Throughout history, God has chosen certain humans to be his close friends. For example, Jehovah called Abraham his friend. (Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23) God referred to David as “a man agreeable to my heart” because he was the kind of person Jehovah loves. (Acts 13:22) And Jehovah viewed the prophet Daniel as “someone very desirable.”—Daniel 9:23.
3 Why did Jehovah consider Abraham, David, and Daniel to be his friends? Well, he told Abraham: “You have listened to my voice.” (Genesis 22:18) So Jehovah draws close to those who humbly do what he asks of them. “Obey my voice,” he told the Israelites, “and I will become your God, and you yourselves will become my people.” (Jeremiah 7:23) If you obey Jehovah, you too can become his friend!
JEHOVAH STRENGTHENS HIS FRIENDS
4 Think about what friendship with God means. The Bible says that Jehovah is looking for opportunities “to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) How can Jehovah show his strength in your behalf? One way is brought out at Psalm 32:8, where we read: “I [Jehovah] shall make you have insight and instruct you in the way you should go. I will give advice with my eye upon you.”
5 What a touching expression of Jehovah’s care! He will give you needed direction and watch over you as you apply it. God wants to help you get through your trials and tests. (Psalm 55:22) So if you serve Jehovah with a complete heart, you can be as confident as the psalmist who said: “I have placed Jehovah in front of me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be made to totter.” (Psalm 16:8; 63:8) Yes, Jehovah can help you to live in a way that pleases him. But, as you know, there is an enemy of God who would like to keep you from doing this.
6Chapter 11 of this book explained how Satan the Devil challenged God’s sovereignty. Satan charged God with lying and implied that Jehovah was unfair in not letting Adam and Eve decide for themselves what was right and what was wrong. After Adam and Eve sinned and as the earth began to be filled with their offspring, Satan questioned the motive of all humans. “People do not serve God because they love him,” Satan charged. “Give me a chance, and I can turn anyone against God.” The account of the man named Job shows that this is what Satan believed. Who was Job, and how was he involved with Satan’s challenge?
7 Job lived about 3,600 years ago. He was a good man, for Jehovah said: “There is no one like him in the earth, a man blameless and upright, fearing God and turning aside from bad.” (Job 1:8) Job was pleasing to God.
8 Satan questioned Job’s motive for serving God. The Devil said to Jehovah: “Have not you yourself put up a hedge about [Job] and about his house and about everything that he has all around? The work of his hands you have blessed, and his livestock itself has spread abroad in the earth. But, for a change, thrust out your hand, please, and touch everything he has and see whether he will not curse you to your very face.”—Job 1:10, 11.
9 Satan thus argued that Job served God just for what he got in return. The Devil also charged that if Job was tested, he would turn against God. How did Jehovah respond to Satan’s challenge? Since the issue involved Job’s motive, Jehovah allowed Satan to test Job. In this way, Job’s love for God—or lack of it—would be clearly shown.
JOB IS TESTED
10 Satan soon tested Job in a number of ways. Some of Job’s animals were stolen, and others were killed. Most of his servants were slaughtered. This brought economic hardship. Further tragedy struck when Job’s ten children died in a storm. Despite these terrible events, however, “Job did not sin or ascribe anything improper to God.”—Job 1:22.
11 Satan did not give up. He must have thought that although Job could endure the loss of his possessions, servants, and children, he would turn against God if he became sick. Jehovah let Satan strike Job with a disgusting, painful disease. But even this did not cause Job to lose faith in God. Rather, he firmly said: “Until I expire I shall not take away my integrity!”—Job 27:5.
12 Job was not aware that Satan was the cause of his troubles. Not knowing the details about the Devil’s challenge of Jehovah’s sovereignty, Job feared that God was the source of his problems. (Job 6:4; 16:11-14) Still, he kept his integrity to Jehovah. And Satan’s claim that Job served God for selfish reasons was proved false by Job’s faithful course!
HOW YOU ARE INVOLVED
14 The issue of integrity to God that was raised by Satan was not directed against Job alone. You too are involved. This is clearly shown at Proverbs 27:11, where Jehovah’s Word says: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.” These words, written hundreds of years after Job’s death, show that Satan was still taunting God and accusing His servants. When we live in a way that pleases Jehovah, we actually help to give an answer to Satan’s false charges, and in that way we make God’s heart rejoice. How do you feel about that? Would it not be wonderful to have a part in answering the Devil’s lying claims, even if it means making certain changes in your life?
15 Notice that Satan said: “Everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul.” (Job 2:4) By saying “a man,” Satan made it clear that his charge applied not just to Job but to all humans. That is a very important point. Satan has called into question your integrity to God. The Devil would like to see you disobey God and abandon a righteous course when difficulties arise. How might Satan try to accomplish this?
16 As discussed in Chapter 10, Satan uses various methods to try to turn people away from God. On the one hand, he attacks “like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” (1 Peter 5:8) Thus Satan’s influence may be seen when friends, relatives, or others oppose your efforts to study the Bible and apply what you learn.* (John 15:19, 20) On the other hand, Satan “keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) The Devil can use subtle means to mislead you and lure you away from a godly way of life. He can also use discouragement, perhaps causing you to feel that you are not good enough to please God. (Proverbs 24:10) Whether Satan is acting like “a roaring lion” or posing as “an angel of light,” his challenge remains the same: He says that when you are faced with trials or temptations, you will stop serving God. How can you answer his challenge and prove your integrity to God, as Job did?
OBEYING JEHOVAH’S COMMANDMENTS
17 You can answer Satan’s challenge by living in a way that pleases God. What does this involve? The Bible answers: “You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) As your love for God grows, you will be filled with a desire to do what he requires of you. “This is what the love of God means,” wrote the apostle John, “that we observe his commandments.” If you love Jehovah with your whole heart, you will find that “his commandments are not burdensome.”—1 John 5:3.
18 What are Jehovah’s commandments? Some of them involve conduct that we must avoid. For example, note the box, entitled “Shun What Jehovah Hates.” There you will find listed conduct that the Bible clearly condemns. At first glance, some practices that are listed might not seem so bad. But after meditating on the cited scriptures, you will likely see the wisdom of Jehovah’s laws. Making changes in your conduct may be the greatest challenge you have ever faced. Yet, living in a way that pleases God brings great satisfaction and happiness. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) And it is something that is within your reach. How do we know that?
SHUN WHAT JEHOVAH HATES
- Manslaughter.—Exodus 20:13; 21:22, 23.
- Sexual immorality.—Leviticus 20:10, 13, 15, 16; Romans 1:24, 26, 27, 32; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.
- Spiritism.—Deuteronomy 18:9-13; 1 Corinthians 10:21, 22; Galatians 5:20, 21.
- Idolatry.—1 Corinthians 10:14.
- Drunkenness.—1 Corinthians 5:11.
- Stealing.—Leviticus 6:2, 4; Ephesians 4:28.
- Lying.—Proverbs 6:16, 19; Colossians 3:9; Revelation 22:15.
- Greed.—1 Corinthians 5:11.
- Violence.—Psalm 11:5; Proverbs 22:24, 25; Malachi 2:16; Galatians 5:20.
- Improper speech.—Leviticus 19:16; Ephesians 5:4; Colossians 3:8.
- Misuse of blood.—Genesis 9:4; Acts 15:20, 28, 29.
- Refusal to provide for one’s family.—1 Timothy 5:8.
- Participation in wars or political controversies of this world.—Isaiah 2:4; John 6:15; 17:16.
- Use of tobacco or so-called recreational drugs.—Mark 15:23; 2 Corinthians 7:1.
19 Jehovah never asks more of us than we can do. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14) He knows our potential and our limitations better than we do. (Psalm 103:14) Moreover, Jehovah can give us the strength to obey him. The apostle Paul wrote: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) To help you endure, Jehovah can even supply you with “power beyond what is normal.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) After enduring many trials, Paul could say: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.”—Philippians 4:13.
DEVELOPING GODLY QUALITIES
20 Of course, more is involved in pleasing Jehovah than avoiding things that he hates. You also need to love what he loves. (Romans 12:9) Do you not feel drawn to those who share your views, interests, and values? Jehovah does too. So learn to love the things that Jehovah holds dear. Some of these are described at Psalm 15:1-5, where we read about those whom God considers his friends. Jehovah’s friends display what the Bible calls “the fruitage of the spirit.” It includes such qualities as “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”—Galatians 5:22, 23.
21 Reading and studying the Bible regularly will help you to develop godly qualities. And learning what God requires will help you to harmonize your thoughts with God’s thinking. (Isaiah 30:20, 21) The more you strengthen your love for Jehovah, the greater will be your desire to live in a way that pleases God.
22 Effort is required to live in a way that pleases Jehovah. The Bible likens changing your life to stripping off your old personality and clothing yourself with a new one. (Colossians 3:9, 10) But regarding Jehovah’s commandments, the psalmist wrote: “In the keeping of them there is a large reward.” (Psalm 19:11) You too will find that living in a way that pleases God is richly rewarding. By so doing, you will give an answer to Satan’s challenge and make Jehovah’s heart rejoice!
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES
* This does not mean that those who oppose you are personally controlled by Satan. But Satan is the god of this system of things, and the whole world is in his power. (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19) So we can expect that living a godly life will be an unpopular course, and some will oppose you.
1, 2. Give some examples of humans whom Jehovah viewed as his close friends.
3. Why does Jehovah choose certain humans to be his friends?
4, 5. How does Jehovah show his strength in behalf of his people?
6. What was Satan’s charge regarding humans?
7, 8. (a) What made Job outstanding among humans of that time? (b) How did Satan call Job’s motive into question?
9. How did Jehovah respond to Satan’s challenge, and why?
10. What trials befell Job, and how did he react?
11. (a) What second accusation did Satan make concerning Job, and how did Jehovah respond? (b) How did Job react to his painful disease?
12. How did Job answer the Devil’s challenge?
13. What happened because Job was faithful to God?
14, 15. Why can we say that Satan’s challenge involving Job applies to all humans?
16. (a) By what methods does Satan try to turn people away from God? (b) How might the Devil use these methods against you?
17. What is the main reason to obey Jehovah’s commandments?
20. What godly qualities should you develop, and why are these important?
21. What will help you to develop godly qualities?
22. What will you accomplish if you live in a way that pleases God?