How Can I Make Worship of God Enjoyable?
Josh, 16, is sprawled on his bed. His mom stands at the doorway. “Joshua, get up!” she says sternly. “You know it’s a meeting night!” Josh is being raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and attendance at Christian meetings is a part of the family routine. Lately, though, Josh hasn’t felt inclined to attend.
“Oh, Mom,” he groans, “do I really have to go?”
“Stop complaining and get dressed,” she replies. “I don’t want to be late again!” She turns and starts to walk away.
“Look, Mom,” Josh blurts out while she’s still within earshot. “This may be your religion, but that doesn’t mean it’s mine.” He knows his mom heard that because the sound of her footsteps has stopped. Then, without responding, she continues walking away.
Josh feels a twinge of guilt. He doesn’t really want to hurt his mom. But he doesn’t want to apologize either. The only thing he can do is . . .
With a sigh, Josh starts getting dressed. Then he says, more to himself than to his mom: “Sooner or later I’m going to have to make my own decision. I’m not like the others at the Kingdom Hall. I’m just not cut out to be a Christian!”
HAVE you ever felt the way Josh does in the preceding scenario? At times, does it seem that while others enjoy Christian activities, you’re just going through the motions? For instance:
● Is studying the Bible just like another homework assignment to you?
● Do you dislike taking part in the door-to-door ministry?
● Do you often find yourself getting bored at Christian meetings?
If your answer is yes, don’t be discouraged. You can learn to enjoy serving God. Let’s see how.
CHALLENGE 1 Studying the Bible
Why it’s not easy. Maybe you feel you’re just not the “studying type.” Your attention span seems short—it’s hard to sit still and concentrate! Besides, don’t you have enough studying to do for school?
Why you should do it. Not only is the Bible inspired of God but it’s also “useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live.” (2 Timothy 3:16, Contemporary English Version) Studying the Bible and meditating on what you read can open up a whole new world for you. Let’s face it, nothing worthwhile comes to you without some hard work. If you want to play a sport well, you’ve got to learn the rules and practice the game. If you want to get fit, you need to exercise. Likewise, if you want to learn about your Creator, you need to study God’s Word.
What your peers say. “I came to a crossroads in my life when I got to high school. The kids were doing all sorts of wrong things, and I had to make some decisions: ‘Is that what I want to do? Are my parents really teaching me the truth?’ I had to find out for myself.”—Tshedza.
“I always believed that what I had learned was the truth, but I needed to prove it to myself. I had to make it my own religion—as opposed to it being just a family religion.”—Nelisa.
What you can do. Make up your own, customized personal study plan. You get to choose which subjects you’ll explore. Where could you start? Why not dig into your Bible and scrutinize your beliefs, perhaps using a book such as What Does the Bible Really Teach? *
Get started! Put a ✔ next to two or three Bible topics below that you’d like to learn more about—or, if you prefer, write in some of your own.
□ Is there a God?
□ How can I be sure that the Bible writers were inspired by God?
□ Why should I believe in creation rather than evolution?
□ What is God’s Kingdom, and how can I prove its existence?
□ How can I explain my belief about what happens at death?
□ Why should I be convinced that there will be a resurrection?
□ How can I be sure which is the true religion?
CHALLENGE 2 Engaging in the Ministry
Why it’s not easy. Talking to others about the Bible—or encountering a schoolmate while doing so—can be scary.
Why you should do it. Jesus instructed his followers: “Make disciples . . . , teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) But there are further reasons for doing it. Studies suggest that in some places the vast majority of teens believe in God and in the Bible. Yet, those same youths have no genuine hope for the future. Through your study of the Bible, you have the very information that many of your peers are searching for and need! By sharing your beliefs with others, you will feel better about yourself, and more important, you will make Jehovah’s heart rejoice.—Proverbs 27:11.
What your peers say. “My friend and I prepared effective introductions, and we learned how to overcome objections and how to make return visits. Once I started putting more into my ministry, it became more enjoyable.”—Nelisa.
“One Christian sister has helped me out so much! She’s six years older than I am, and she takes me out in the ministry with her and sometimes out to breakfast. She showed me encouraging scriptures that helped me to rearrange my thinking. I find that now I reach out to people more because of her wonderful example. I could never repay her!”—Shontay.
What you can do. With your parents’ permission, find someone in your congregation who is older than you and with whom you can share in the ministry. (Acts 16:1-3) The Bible states: “By iron, iron itself is sharpened. So one man sharpens the face of another.” (Proverbs 27:17) There are many benefits to associating with older ones who have a wealth of experience. “It’s actually a relief to be around older ones,” says 19-year-old Alexis.
Get started! Below, write the name of someone in your congregation in addition to your parents who could assist you in the ministry.
CHALLENGE 3 Attending Christian Meetings
Why it’s not easy. After sitting in class all day, an hour or so of listening to Bible-based talks might seem like an eternity.
Why you should do it. The Bible exhorts Christians: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.”—Hebrews 10:24, 25.
What your peers say. “Preparing for congregation meetings is an absolute must. Sometimes you just have to motivate yourself. When you do prepare, you enjoy the meetings because you know what’s being discussed, and you can even participate.”—Elda.
“At one point, I began to notice that when I gave comments at the meetings, those meetings became much more interesting to me.”—Jessica.
What you can do. Take time to prepare in advance, and if you can, offer a comment. This will help you to feel more a part of what is going on.
To illustrate: What’s more enjoyable—watching a sport on television or playing it on the field? Obviously, being a participant is more rewarding than being a spectator. Why not take that approach to Christian meetings?
Get started! In the space below, write down the time when you can spend just 30 minutes each week preparing for a congregation meeting.
Many youths are experiencing the truthfulness of Psalm 34:8, which says: “Taste and see that Jehovah is good.” How satisfying is it just to hear about a mouthwatering dish? Isn’t it better to savor the food for yourself? It’s the same with worshipping God. Taste and see for yourself how rewarding it is to participate in spiritual activities. The Bible says that the one who is not just a hearer but a doer of the work “will be happy in his doing it.”—James 1:25.
Learn how to set—and reach—your goals.
^ par. 19 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“Be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”—Romans 12:2.
Get a notebook, and start writing down main points at Christian meetings. Time will pass faster, and learning will be easier!
DID YOU KNOW . . . ?
It’s not wrong to examine your religious beliefs. In fact, asking questions and then doing research is a good way to find out whether what you believe about God is really the truth.—Acts 17:11.
I will schedule ․․․․․ minutes of Bible reading each day and will spend ․․․․․ each week preparing for Christian meetings.
To pay better attention at Christian meetings, I will ․․․․․
What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
● Why might spiritual activities seem boring to a teenager?
● Which of the three aspects of worship discussed in this chapter would you like to work on?
[Blurb on page 278]
“The religion I’m in is no longer just my parents’ religion but my religion. Jehovah is my God, and I don’t want to do anything that will harm my relationship with him.”—Samantha
[Box/Pictures on pages 280, 281]
They Set Goals
The Bible states: “You do not know what your life will be tomorrow.” (James 4:14) In some cases, death comes unexpectedly and at a young age. As you read the experiences of Catrina and Kyle, note how they made a good name with Jehovah God during their brief lives by setting and reaching spiritual goals.—Ecclesiastes 7:1.
Catrina passed away at the age of 18, but at 13 she had already written out a “life plan”—a list of goals she wanted to achieve. Her goals included entering the full-time ministry, serving in a land where there is a need for Bible teachers, and working along with her dad on Kingdom Hall construction projects. She wrote: “I have made a dedication of my life to Jehovah God!” Catrina’s aim was to “live according to his standards, in a way that makes him happy.” At her funeral, Catrina was described as a “beautiful young woman who had her whole life planned out to be centered around Jehovah.”
From an early age, Kyle was taught to have goals. After a tragic car accident claimed his life at age 20, his relatives found a “goal book” that his mom helped him make when he was just four years old. His goals included getting baptized, giving talks at the Kingdom Hall, and serving at the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, where he could assist in producing literature that would help people to learn about God. After looking through Kyle’s goal book, made so many years earlier, his mother stated, “He reached every one of those goals.”
What goals have you set for yourself? You do not know what your life will hold tomorrow. So, use each day you have to the full. Like Catrina and Kyle, spend your time in the most rewarding way possible. Imitate the apostle Paul, who could say near the close of his life: “I have fought the fine fight, I have run the course to the finish, I have observed the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) The following chapter will help you to do just that!
[Picture on pages 274, 275]
If you want to become physically fit, you need to exercise. If you want to become spiritually fit, you need to study God’s Word