“Happy is the nation whose God is Jehovah, the people he has chosen as his own possession.”—PSALM 33:12.
1. Why can we say that Jehovah owns everything? (See opening picture.)
EVERYTHING belongs to Jehovah! He owns “the heavens, even the heavens of the heavens, and the earth with all that is in it.” (Deuteronomy 10:14; Revelation 4:11) Because Jehovah created humans, all of us are his property. (Psalm 100:3) But out of all the people who have ever lived, God has chosen some to belong to him in a special way.
2. According to the Bible, who have belonged to Jehovah in a special way?
2 For example, Psalm 135 described faithful worshippers of Jehovah in ancient Israel as “his special property.” (Psalm 135:4) Also, Hosea prophesied that some non-Israelites would become Jehovah’s people. (Hosea 2:23) This prophecy was fulfilled when Jehovah began to choose people who were not Israelites to rule in heaven with Christ. (Acts 10:45; Romans 9:23-26) Those anointed with holy spirit are called “a holy nation.” They are Jehovah’s “special possession.” (1 Peter 2:9, 10) But what about all the faithful Christians today who hope to live forever on earth? Jehovah also calls them “my people” and “my chosen ones.”—Isaiah 65:22.
3. (a) Who have a special relationship with Jehovah today? (b) What will we discuss in this article?
3 Today, the “little flock,” who hope to live forever in heaven, and the “other sheep,” who hope to live forever on earth, worship Jehovah together as “one flock.” (Luke 12:32; John 10:16) We want to show Jehovah how grateful we are that we have a special relationship with him. In this article, we will discuss how we can express our gratitude to Jehovah for this special honor.
WE DEDICATE OUR LIVES TO JEHOVAH
4. How can we thank Jehovah for allowing us to have a relationship with him, and how did Jesus do something similar?
4 We show our gratitude to Jehovah when we dedicate ourselves to him and get baptized. Then all can see that we belong to Jehovah and are willing to obey him. (Hebrews 12:9) Jesus did something similar when he got baptized. Even though he was already part of a nation that was dedicated to Jehovah, he offered himself to Jehovah. It was as if he was saying: “To do your will, O my God, is my desire.”—Psalm 40:7, 8, footnote.
5, 6. (a) What did Jehovah say when Jesus was baptized? (b) What illustration can help us understand how Jehovah feels about our dedication?
5 How did Jehovah feel when Jesus got baptized? The Bible says: “After being baptized, Jesus immediately came up from the water; and look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw God’s spirit descending like a dove and coming upon him. Look! Also, a voice from the heavens said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’” (Matthew 3:16, 17) Jesus already belonged to God. But Jehovah was happy when he saw that Jesus was willing to use his life to serve only Him. Jehovah is also pleased when we dedicate our lives to him, and he will bless us.—Psalm 149:4.
6 But Jehovah already owns everything! What could we give to him? Imagine a man who has beautiful flowers in his garden. One day his little daughter picks one of the flowers and gives it to him. Even though the flower already belongs to him, the loving father is delighted with the gift. It shows that his daughter loves him. That flower from his daughter is more precious to him than all the other flowers in his garden. In a similar way, Jehovah is delighted when we willingly dedicate our lives to him.—Exodus 34:14.
7. How did Malachi help us understand how Jehovah feels about those who willingly serve him?
7 Read Malachi 3:16. Why is it so important to dedicate your life to Jehovah and get baptized? It is true that from the moment you began to exist, you already belonged to your Creator, Jehovah. But just think how happy Jehovah will be when you accept him as your Ruler and dedicate yourself to him! (Proverbs 23:15) Jehovah knows those who willingly serve him, and he writes their names in his “book of remembrance.”
8, 9. What does Jehovah ask of those whose names are written in his “book of remembrance”?
8 If we want our name to remain in Jehovah’s “book of remembrance,” there is something we must do. Malachi said that we must fear Jehovah and meditate on his name. If we worship anyone or anything else, our name will be removed from Jehovah’s book!—Exodus 32:33; Psalm 69:28.
For as long as we live, we must prove by our actions that we obey Jehovah
9 So it is not enough for us to promise to do Jehovah’s will and then get baptized. These are things that we do only one time, but worshipping Jehovah is a way of life. Every day, for as long as we live, we must prove by our actions that we obey Jehovah.—1 Peter 4:1, 2.
WE REJECT WORLDLY DESIRES
10. What clear difference must there be between those who serve Jehovah and those who do not?
10 In the previous article, we learned that Cain, Solomon, and the Israelites claimed to worship Jehovah but were not loyal to him. These examples taught us that it is not enough just to say that we worship Jehovah. We need to hate what is bad and love what is good. (Romans 12:9) Jehovah says that there would be a clear difference “between a righteous person and a wicked person, between one serving God and one not serving him.”—Malachi 3:18.
11. Why should it be easy for all to see that we worship only Jehovah?
11 We are grateful to Jehovah for choosing us to be his people! It should be easy for all to see that we are on Jehovah’s side. (Matthew 5:16; 1 Timothy 4:15) Ask yourself: ‘Can others see that I am completely loyal to Jehovah? Am I proud to tell people that I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?’ Imagine how sad Jehovah would feel if we were ashamed to tell others that we belong to him.—Psalm 119:46; read Mark 8:38.
12, 13. How have some made it difficult for others to identify them as Jehovah’s Witnesses?
12 Sadly, even some Witnesses imitate “the spirit of the world.” As a result, they are not very different from those who do not worship Jehovah. (1 Corinthians 2:12) “The spirit of the world” makes people focus on their own selfish desires. (Ephesians 2:3) For example, despite all the counsel that we have received, some choose to dress immodestly. They wear tight-fitting and revealing clothing, even to Christian gatherings. Or they choose extreme hairstyles. (1 Timothy 2:9, 10) As a result, it may be difficult for others to know whether they are Jehovah’s Witnesses or not.—James 4:4.
13 There are other ways that some Witnesses have not been clearly different from the world. For example, at parties, some have danced and behaved in a way that is not acceptable for Christians. Others have posted photos of themselves and comments on social media that reveal their fleshly thinking. They may not have been disciplined in the Christian congregation for a serious sin, but they can be a bad influence on their brothers and sisters who are trying hard to be different from the world.—Read 1 Peter 2:11, 12.
14. What must we do to protect our special friendship with Jehovah?
14 Everything in the world is designed to make us focus on “the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life.” (1 John 2:16) We belong to Jehovah, so we are different. We “reject ungodliness and worldly desires,” and we “live with soundness of mind and righteousness and godly devotion amid this present system of things.” (Titus 2:12) Our whole way of life, including how we talk, eat, drink, dress, and work, should make it clear to everyone that we belong to Jehovah.—Read 1 Corinthians 10:31, 32.
WE “HAVE INTENSE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER”
15. Why should we be kind and loving to other Christians?
15 We show that we value Jehovah’s friendship by the way we treat our brothers and sisters. They belong to Jehovah, just as we do. If we remember this fact, we will always treat them with kindness and love. (1 Thessalonians 5:15) How important is this? Jesus said to his followers: “By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.”—John 13:35.
16. What do we learn from the Mosaic Law about Jehovah’s love for his people?
16 An example from the Law of Moses can help us understand how we should treat others in the congregation. In Jehovah’s temple, there were utensils that were used exclusively for worship. The Law clearly explained how the Levites should care for those utensils, and anyone who did not follow these instructions would be killed. (Numbers 1:50, 51) If Jehovah cared so much about how people treated the objects that were used in his worship, how much more so does he care about how people treat his dedicated, loyal worshippers! He let us know how precious we are to him when he said: “Whoever touches you touches the pupil of my eye.”—Zechariah 2:8.
Jehovah notices when we are hospitable, generous, forgiving, and kind
17. What is Jehovah “paying attention and listening” to?
17 Malachi said that Jehovah is “paying attention and listening” to how his people treat one another. (Malachi 3:16) Jehovah “knows those who belong to him.” (2 Timothy 2:19) He is very aware of everything we do and say. (Hebrews 4:13) When we are unkind to our brothers and sisters, Jehovah notices it. But we can be sure that Jehovah also notices when we are hospitable, generous, forgiving, and kind.—Hebrews 13:16; 1 Peter 4:8, 9.
“JEHOVAH WILL NOT FORSAKE HIS PEOPLE”
18. How can we thank Jehovah for choosing us to be his people?
18 We want to show Jehovah how grateful we are that we belong to him as his people. We know that when we dedicated our lives to him, it was the wisest choice we could make. Even though we live “in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,” we can still be “blameless and innocent” and shine “as illuminators in the world.” (Philippians 2:15) So we are determined to avoid doing anything that Jehovah hates. (James 4:7) And we love and respect our brothers and sisters because they also belong to Jehovah.—Romans 12:10.
19. How does Jehovah reward those who belong to him?
19 The Bible promises: “Jehovah will not forsake his people.” (Psalm 94:14) This is a guarantee. No matter what happens, Jehovah will be with us. Even if we die, he will not forget us. (Romans 8:38, 39) “If we live, we live to Jehovah, and if we die, we die to Jehovah. So both if we live and if we die, we belong to Jehovah.” (Romans 14:8) We look forward to the time when Jehovah will bring back to life all his loyal friends who have died. (Matthew 22:32) And even now we enjoy many wonderful gifts from our Father. As the Bible says, “happy is the nation whose God is Jehovah, the people he has chosen as his own possession.”—Psalm 33:12.