“Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.”—ACTS 8:38.
SONG 52 Christian Dedication
1. What did Adam and Eve lose, and with what result?
WHO do you think should set the standards for what is good and what is bad? When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, they sent a clear message: They did not trust Jehovah and his standards. They chose to set their own standards of good and bad. (Gen. 3:22) But look at what they lost. They lost their friendship with Jehovah. They also lost the opportunity to live forever, and they passed sin and death on to their children. (Rom. 5:12) Adam and Eve’s choice led to misery.
2-3. (a) How did the Ethiopian eunuch respond when Philip preached to him? (b) What blessings do we receive by getting baptized, and what questions will we consider?
2 Compare the way Adam and Eve behaved with the way that the Ethiopian eunuch responded when Philip preached to him. The eunuch appreciated so much what Jehovah and Jesus had done for him that he immediately got baptized. (Acts 8:34-38) When we dedicate ourselves to God and, like that eunuch, get baptized, we send a clear message. We show that we appreciate what Jehovah and Jesus have done for us. We also show that we trust Jehovah and recognize that he is the one who should set the standard of good and bad.
3 Think of the blessings we receive when we serve Jehovah! For one thing, we have the prospect of eventually gaining all that Adam and Eve lost, including the opportunity to live forever. Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, Jehovah forgives our mistakes and gives us a clean conscience. (Matt. 20:28; Acts 10:43) We also become part of Jehovah’s family of approved servants with a blessed future ahead of us. (John 10:14-16; Rom. 8:20, 21) Despite these obvious benefits, though, some who have come to know Jehovah hesitate to follow the example of the Ethiopian eunuch. What might prevent them from getting baptized? And how can they overcome those challenges?
CHALLENGES THAT PREVENT SOME FROM GETTING BAPTIZED
4-5. What challenges did a young man named Avery and a young woman named Hannah face?
4 Lack of confidence. Avery’s parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses. His father has an excellent reputation as a caring father and an effective elder. Yet, Avery held back from getting baptized. Why? “I did not think that I would be able to live up to my father’s reputation,” he says. Avery also lacked confidence that he would be able to handle responsibilities that he might be given in the future. “I worried about being asked to pray in public, to give talks, or to lead a group in the field service.”
5 Hannah, aged 18, suffered from a severe lack of confidence. She was raised by parents who serve Jehovah. Even so, she doubted that she could live by Jehovah’s standards. Why? Hannah had developed a very low opinion of herself. At times, she felt so bad that she would deliberately injure herself, which only made things worse. “I never told anyone about what I did, not even my parents,” she says, “and I imagined that Jehovah would never want me because of what I was doing to myself.”
6. What held Vanessa back from getting baptized?
6 Influence of friends. Vanessa, aged 22, says, “I had a really good friend whom I had known for almost a decade.” However, Vanessa’s friend did not support Vanessa in her goal of getting baptized. That hurt Vanessa, and she says, “I find it hard to make friends, and I was worried that if I ended that relationship, I would never have another close friend.”
7. A young woman named Makayla was afraid of what, and why?
7 Fear of failure. Makayla was five years old when her brother was disfellowshipped. As she grew up, she saw the impact that her brother’s actions had on her parents. “I was afraid that if I got baptized,” says Makayla, “I would make a mistake, be disfellowshipped, and bring even more sadness to my parents.”
8. What did a young man named Miles fear?
8 Fear of opposition. Miles’ father and stepmother serve Jehovah, but his mother is not a Witness. “I lived with my mother for 18 years,” says Miles, “and I was afraid to tell her that I wanted to get baptized. I had seen the way she reacted when my father became a Witness. I was afraid that she would cause trouble for me.”
HOW CAN YOU OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES?
9. What will likely happen when you learn how loving and patient Jehovah is?
9 Adam and Eve chose not to serve Jehovah because they failed to develop a strong love for him. Even so, Jehovah allowed them to live long enough to have children and to set their own standards for raising those children. The results of Adam and Eve’s decision to be independent of Jehovah soon made it clear how foolish they had been. Their oldest son murdered his innocent brother, and in time violence and selfishness dominated the human family. (Gen. 4:8; 6:11-13) All the while, Jehovah had a means to save all of Adam and Eve’s children who want to serve him. (John 6:38-40, 57, 58) As you learn more about how patient and loving Jehovah is, your love for him will likely grow. You will want to reject the course that Adam and Eve chose and dedicate yourself to Jehovah.
10. Why can meditating on Psalm 19:7 help you to serve Jehovah?
10 Continue learning about Jehovah. The more you learn about Jehovah, the more confident you will become that you can serve him successfully. Avery, mentioned earlier, says: “I gained confidence by reading about and meditating on the promise found at Psalm 19:7.” (Read.) When Avery saw how Jehovah fulfilled that assurance, his love for God grew stronger. Love not only builds confidence but also helps us to focus on Jehovah and on what he wants. Hannah, mentioned earlier, says: “Through my personal Bible reading and study, I came to realize that when I hurt myself, I hurt Jehovah as well.” (1 Pet. 5:7) Hannah became a ‘doer of God’s word.’ (Jas. 1:22) With what result? She says: “When I saw how obeying Jehovah benefited me, I developed a strong love for him. Now I’m sure that Jehovah will always guide me when I need his help.” Hannah was able to overcome the urge to hurt herself. She dedicated herself to Jehovah and got baptized.
11. What did Vanessa do to make good friends, and what can we learn from this?
11 Choose your friends wisely. Vanessa, mentioned earlier, eventually realized that her friend was holding her back from serving Jehovah. So she ended the friendship. But Vanessa did more. She worked hard to make new friends, inside the congregation. She says that the example set by Noah and his family helped her. “They were surrounded by people who didn’t love Jehovah,” she says, “but they had good association with one another.” After she got baptized, Vanessa became a pioneer. She now says, “This has helped me to make good friends not only in my own congregation but also in other congregations.” You too can make good friends by being as involved as possible in the work that Jehovah has assigned us to do.—Matt. 24:14.
12. What kind of fear did Adam and Eve lack, and with what result?
12 Have a balanced view of fear. Some kinds of fear are good for us. For example, we need to have a healthy fear of displeasing Jehovah. (Ps. 111:10) If Adam and Eve had developed that type of fear, they would not have rebelled against Jehovah. But they did rebel. After they did so, their eyes were opened in that they became fully aware that they were sinners. They could only pass sin and death on to their children. Because they could see, or understand, their condition, they became ashamed of their nakedness and covered themselves.—Gen. 3:7, 21.
13-14. (a) In line with 1 Peter 3:21, why do we not need to have a morbid fear of death? (b) What reasons do we have to love Jehovah?
13 While we need to have a healthy fear of Jehovah, we do not need to have a morbid fear of death. Jehovah has made a way for us to gain everlasting life. If we commit a sin but are genuinely repentant, Jehovah will overlook our mistakes. He will forgive us in line with our faith in the ransom sacrifice of his Son. A primary way we show faith is by dedicating our life to God and getting baptized.—Read 1 Peter 3:21.
14 We have many reasons to love Jehovah. Not only does he supply the good things we enjoy each day but he also teaches us the truth about himself and his purposes. (John 8:31, 32) He has given us the Christian congregation to guide and support us. He helps us carry our burdens now, and he offers us the hope of living forever in perfect conditions in the future. (Ps. 68:19; Rev. 21:3, 4) When we meditate on how much Jehovah has already done to show that he loves us, we are drawn to love him. And when we love Jehovah, we gain a balanced view of fear. We fear hurting the One we have come to love so much.
15. How did Makayla overcome her fear of failure?
15 Makayla, mentioned earlier, overcame her fear of failure when she understood just how forgiving Jehovah is. “I realized that we are all imperfect and will make mistakes. But I also came to understand that Jehovah loves us and will forgive us on the basis of the ransom.” Her love for Jehovah moved her to dedicate herself to him and get baptized.
16. How was Miles helped to overcome his fear of opposition?
16 Miles, who was afraid that his mother would oppose his decision to get baptized, sought help from the circuit overseer. “He too had grown up in a religiously divided household,” says Miles. “He helped me to think about what I could say to convince my mother that it was my decision to get baptized and that my father was not pushing me to do so.” Miles’ mother did not react well. Eventually, he had to move out of her home, but he stuck to his decision. “Learning about the good things that Jehovah has done for me touched my heart,” he says. “When I thought deeply about the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, I came to realize just how much Jehovah loves me. That thought moved me to dedicate myself to Jehovah and get baptized.”
STICK TO YOUR DECISION
17. What opportunity do we have?
17 When Eve ate of the fruit from that tree in Eden, she rejected her Father. When Adam joined her, he displayed a callous lack of appreciation for all the good that Jehovah had done for him. We all have the opportunity to show just how much we disagree with the decision that Adam and Eve made. By getting baptized, we show Jehovah that we believe that he has the authority to set the standard of what is right and what is wrong for us. We prove that we love our Father and trust in him.
18. How can you succeed in serving Jehovah?
18 The challenge we face after baptism is to live each day by Jehovah’s standards, not our own. Millions of people are living that way each year. You can be like them if you continue to deepen your understanding of God’s Word, the Bible; associate regularly with your brothers and sisters; and zealously share what you have learned about your loving Father. (Heb. 10:24, 25) When you make decisions, listen to the advice Jehovah gives you through his Word and his organization. (Isa. 30:21) Then all you do will be successful.—Prov. 16:3, 20.
19. What should you continue to recognize, and why?
19 When you continue to recognize how much you benefit from Jehovah’s guidance, your love for him and his standards will grow. Then nothing Satan offers you will entice you away from serving Jehovah. Imagine yourself a thousand years from now. You will look back on your decision to get baptized as the best decision you ever made!
SONG 28 Gaining Jehovah’s Friendship
^ par. 5 The most important decision you will ever make is whether you will get baptized or not. Why is that decision so important? This article will answer that question. It will also help those who are thinking about getting baptized to overcome challenges that might be holding them back.
^ par. 56 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Confidence: A young man is nervous about commenting.
^ par. 58 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Friends: A young Witness with a bad associate is embarrassed when she sees fellow Witnesses.
^ par. 60 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Failure: When her brother is disfellowshipped and leaves home, a young girl is concerned that she too might fail.
^ par. 62 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Opposition: A boy is nervous about praying while his unbelieving mother looks on.
^ par. 65 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Confidence: A young man enhances his personal study.
^ par. 67 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Friends: A young Witness learns to be proud to be a Witness.
^ par. 69 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Failure: A young girl makes the truth her own and gets baptized.
^ par. 71 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Opposition: A boy courageously explains his beliefs to his unbelieving mother.