“Tell them to work at good, . . . so that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”
SONGS: 125, 40
1, 2. (a) What physical blessings of the earthly Paradise do you look forward to the most? (See opening image.) (b) What spiritual blessings will there be in the new world?
“THE REAL LIFE.” For most of us, that expression calls to mind the hope of everlasting life in Paradise on earth. In fact, the apostle Paul linked “everlasting life” with “the real life.” (Read 1 Timothy 6:12, 19.) We are in expectation of life that will go on forever and that will bring us lasting satisfaction and joy. It is hard to imagine how we will feel on awakening each day in excellent physical, mental, and emotional health. (Isa. 35:5, 6) Think of how pleasant it will be to associate with our loved ones and friends, including those who have been resurrected! (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15) We will also have the opportunity to sharpen our skills in science, music, architecture, or some other field of knowledge.
2 As much as we look forward to such good things, the primary blessings in the new world will be spiritual. How deeply satisfying it will be to know that Jehovah’s name has been sanctified and his sovereignty vindicated! (Matt. 6:9, 10) We will be thrilled to see Jehovah’s original purpose for mankind and the earth being fulfilled. And just think how much easier it will be to draw closer to Jehovah as we approach, and finally reach, perfection!
3. What should we be preparing for now?
3 These blessings can be ours, for Jesus assures us that “with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:25, 26) But if we expect to live in that new world
HOW TO PREPARE
4. Illustrate how we might prepare now for life in the new world.
4 How might we prepare now for life in God’s new world? Well, suppose we were planning to move to another country. How could we prepare for that change? We might start learning the language of the people who live there. Learning about their customs would be beneficial. We might sample some of their foods. To a certain extent, we would begin to live as if we were already residents of that land. After all, that is the way we expect to live once we arrive there. Similarly, we can prepare for life in the new world by living now, to the extent possible, as we expect to live then. In this regard, consider the following examples.
5, 6. How will learning to submit to theocratic arrangements help to train us for life in the new world?
5 In the new world, God’s sovereignty will be fully upheld. What a refreshing contrast that will be to the self-rule promoted in this world under Satan’s domination! Independence and an unreasonable insistence on personal preference may be highly regarded by some, but what has been the result? Failure to accept God’s direction has led to suffering, misery, even tragedy. (Jer. 10:23) How we look forward to the time when all mankind will submit to Jehovah’s loving sovereignty!
6 It will be a pleasure to be under Jehovah’s arrangements in the new world as we work toward beautifying the earth, teaching resurrected ones, and doing Jehovah’s will for mankind. But what if we were directed to perform a particular aspect of the work that did not appeal to us? Would we submit to that direction by doing our best to carry out and even enjoy our assignment? Most of us would answer yes! Consistently, then, are we submitting to theocratic direction now? If we are doing so, we are preparing for everlasting life under Jehovah’s rulership.
7, 8. (a) Why should we cultivate a spirit of cooperation? (b) What changes have some Christians experienced? (c) We can be sure of what regarding life on earth in the new world?
7 We can prepare for life in the new world not only by submitting to Jehovah’s present-day arrangements but also by working now to cultivate contentment and a spirit of cooperation. If we cooperate with those taking the lead today, perhaps finding contentment and joy in new assignments of service, we are likely to have the same attitude in the new world. (Read Hebrews 13:17.) In the Promised Land, the inheritances of the Israelites were apportioned by lot. (Num. 26:52-56; Josh. 14:1, 2) Today, of course, we do not know where each one of us may be assigned to live in the new system of things. However, cooperation will bring us contentment and great happiness as we do Jehovah’s will wherever we live on earth at that time.
8 The privilege of living under Kingdom rule is well worth any effort we make to cooperate with Jehovah’s organization and care for theocratic assignments. Of course, our circumstances may change with the passing of time. For instance, some members of the Bethel family in the United States have been reassigned to the field and are now enjoying abundant blessings in other forms of the full-time ministry. Because of advancing age or other factors, others who were in the traveling work have now received special pioneer assignments. If we cultivate contentment, pray for God’s help, and do all we can in his service, we will experience joy and will receive many blessings even in these critical last days. (Read Proverbs 10:22.) What about our future prospects? We may have ideas about where we would like to live in the new world, but we may be asked to move to a different area. Regardless of where we will then serve and what we will do, we can be sure that we will be grateful and contented, brimming with joy.
9, 10. (a) In what areas might there be a need to exercise patience in the new world? (b) How can we show that we are patient?
9 In the new world, there may be times when we will need to exercise patience. For example, we may hear of individuals who, to the delight of their relatives and friends, have been raised from the dead. However, we ourselves may have to wait for the resurrection of our loved ones. If that is the case, will we rejoice with others and be patient? (Rom. 12:15) Learning to wait patiently for the fulfillment of Jehovah’s promises now will help us to exercise patience then.
10 We can also prepare for life in the new world by exercising patience regarding revealed truth. Are we studious and patient as our understanding of Bible truth is progressively clarified today? If so, we will likely have no difficulty showing patience in the new world as Jehovah makes known his requirements for mankind.
11. What is Jehovah now teaching us about human relationships, and how will this benefit us in the new world?
11 Another quality that will stand us in good stead for life in the new world is a forgiving spirit. During Christ’s Thousand Year Reign, it may take some time for the righteous and the unrighteous to shed imperfect traits. (Acts 24:15) Will we be able to deal lovingly with one another during that time? If we learn to forgive freely and if we avoid strained relations now, it will be easier for us to do so then.
12. Explain the connection between our expectations for the future and our way of life now.
12 Life in the new world may not mean that we will always get what we want when we want it. Instead, that life will involve being appreciative and content in any situation as we benefit from submitting to Jehovah’s loving sovereignty. It will mean putting into practice the very qualities that Jehovah is teaching us to cultivate now. By learning to live now as we expect to live then, we are developing qualities that we will need to manifest for all eternity. We are strengthening our faith in the reality of “the inhabited earth to come.” (Heb. 2:5; 11:1) Moreover, we are showing how deeply we yearn for the righteous conditions that will then exist on earth. Indeed, we are preparing for everlasting life in God’s new world.
FOCUS NOW ON SPIRITUAL PURSUITS
13. What sort of activities will take top priority in the new world?
13 Consider one more way for us to prepare for the real life ahead. Although we are promised an abundance of food and other necessities on earth in the new world, we will derive the greatest pleasure from having our spiritual need filled. (Matt. 5:3) Spiritual activities will be our highest priority, and we will demonstrate that we are finding exquisite delight in Jehovah. (Ps. 37:4) By giving spiritual things priority now, we are preparing for the real life in the future.
14. What spiritual goals can help young ones to keep eternal life in view?
14 How can we increase our joy in theocratic activities? One way is by setting spiritual goals. If you are young and are giving serious consideration to a career in Jehovah’s service, why not review some of the material that has been published about various avenues of the full-time ministry and set one of these as a goal? * You might talk with some who have spent many years in the full-time service. By making the ministry your career, you are preparing for continued service to God in the new world, where your theocratic training and experience will be of great value.
15. What spiritual goals might be attainable by Kingdom proclaimers?
15 As Kingdom proclaimers, what spiritual goals can we set for ourselves? We could make it a goal to sharpen our skill in a certain feature of the ministry. Or we might strive to improve our understanding of Bible principles and their application. What about developing greater effectiveness in public reading and speaking or in making comments at meetings? No doubt you can think of other possibilities. The point is this: Setting spiritual goals will increase your enthusiasm for theocratic activities, and this will help you to prepare yourself for life in the new world.
OUR BLESSINGS HAVE ALREADY BEGUN!
16. Why is serving Jehovah the best way of life?
16 Does spending our time preparing for God’s new world mean forfeiting a better or more fulfilling way of life today? By no means! Serving Jehovah is the most satisfying way of life there is. It is not a matter of servitude under duress just so that we can pass through the great tribulation. It is the way we are designed to live, the way that yields the greatest joy. Having Jehovah’s guidance and experiencing his loyal love are far better than life apart from intimacy with him. (Read Psalm 63:1-3.) Of course, we need not wait for the new world in order to enjoy spiritual blessings that result from wholehearted service to Jehovah
17. What place will personal interests and pleasures have in Paradise?
17 Personal interests and pleasures will have their place in God’s new world. After all, why did Jehovah create us with a hunger for personal accomplishment and wholesome pleasures if he did not intend to have us satisfy these desires to the full? (Eccl. 2:24) In this and other ways, Jehovah will always “satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Ps. 145:16) Recreation and relaxation have their place, but the pleasure derived from them is increased when we put our relationship with Jehovah first. It will also be that way in the earthly Paradise. How wise it is for us to learn to keep personal interests in their proper place while we seek first the Kingdom and focus on the spiritual blessings now available to Jehovah’s people!
18. How can we show that we are preparing for everlasting life in Paradise?
18 In the coming Paradise, we will attain happiness on a level that we have never before experienced. May we show the intensity of our desire for the real life by preparing for it now. Let us cultivate godly qualities and find great joy in sharing zealously in the Kingdom-preaching work that we have been given to do. May we make the pursuit of spiritual interests our exquisite delight. And with full faith in Jehovah’s promises, let us live now in expectation of life in the new world!
^ par. 14 See Young People Ask