THINK about the happiest day of your life. Was it when you got married or when your first child was born? Or was it the day you symbolized your dedication to Jehovah by water baptism? You may well consider that to have been your most important and joyful day. And how glad your fellow believers were to see you give public evidence that you love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength!
Very likely, you have experienced much joy in serving Jehovah since your baptism. However, some Kingdom proclaimers have lost a measure of the joy they once had. Why has this happened? What reasons do we have for continuing to serve Jehovah with joy?
WHY SOME HAVE LOST THEIR JOY
The Kingdom message
Wholesome association with God’s people provides us with the incentive to keep on serving Jehovah with joy. In fact, the fine conduct of Jehovah’s servants may have attracted us to true worship and helped us to begin to serve God joyfully. (1 Pet. 2:12) But what could happen if a fellow Christian is disciplined because of his failure to live up to God’s standards? Under such circumstances, some who were drawn to the truth because of the godly behavior of Jehovah’s people could become discouraged and lose their joy.
The commercial propaganda of Satan’s wicked system of things can also rob us of our joy. The Devil uses his world to make us believe that we need things that actually are unnecessary. However, we do well to remember Jesus’ words: “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” (Matt. 6:24) We cannot serve Jehovah with joy and at the same time try to get all that we can out of this world.
‘JOYFUL IN THE GOD OF OUR SALVATION’
Serving Jehovah is not burdensome for those who love him. (1 John 5:3) Remember that Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves. For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30) Taking on the yoke of Christian discipleship is refreshing and results in joy. And we certainly have cause for great happiness in Jehovah’s service. Let us now consider three important reasons why we can be ‘joyful in the God of our salvation.’
We serve our Life-Giver, the happy God. (Acts 17:28; 1 Tim. 1:11) We realize that we owe our very existence to our Creator. Hence, we continue to serve him with joy, regardless of how many years have gone by since we got baptized.
Consider Héctor, who served Jehovah as a traveling overseer for 40 years. “Even in old age” he is thriving. (Ps. 92:12-14) His wife’s illness has limited Héctor’s activity in God’s service, but it has not dampened his joy. He says: “Although it is sad to see my wife’s health gradually deteriorate and it has been challenging to care for her, I have not allowed this to rob me of my joy in serving the true God. Knowing that I owe my life to Jehovah, who created man for a purpose, is reason enough to love him deeply and serve him wholeheartedly. I strive to stay active in the preaching work, and I try to keep the Kingdom hope foremost in my mind so as not to lose my joy.”
Jehovah has provided the ransom sacrifice, making it possible for us to have a joyful life. Indeed, “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Yes, our sins can be forgiven and we can have everlasting life on the basis of faith in God’s loving provision of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. Is that not an excellent reason to be grateful? And should not our gratitude for the ransom motivate us to serve Jehovah joyfully?
A brother in Mexico named Jesús said: “I was a slave to my job, at times working five consecutive shifts, even though it was not obligatory to do so. I did it just to make more money. Then I learned about Jehovah and how he had given his dear Son for mankind. I had an intense desire to serve him. So I dedicated my life to Jehovah, and after having worked for the company for 28 years, I decided to quit and take up the full-time ministry.” That was the beginning of years of joyful service to Jehovah.
The fruit that we produce results, not in sorrow, but in great joy. Do you remember what your life was like before you came to know Jehovah? The apostle Paul reminded Christians in Rome that they “were once the slaves of sin” but had become “slaves to righteousness.” They were producing fruit “in the way of holiness,” which would end in everlasting life. (Rom. 6:17-22) We too follow a way of life that is holy, free of the sorrow resulting from morally unclean or violent conduct. What a cause for joy!
Consider the case of Jaime, an atheist and evolutionist who was involved in boxing. Jaime began to attend Christian meetings and was impressed by the love shown there. To abandon his former ways, Jaime had to ask Jehovah to help him believe in Him. “Little by little, I discovered the existence of a loving Father and merciful God,” Jaime says. “Keeping Jehovah’s righteous standards has been a protection for me. Had I not changed, I might have been killed, as some of my former boxing friends were. The happiest years of my life have been those spent serving Jehovah.”
DO NOT GIVE UP!
How do you think we should feel as we await the end of this wicked system of things? Remember, we are “sowing with a view to the spirit” and will “reap everlasting life.” Therefore, “let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due time we will reap if we do not tire out.” (Gal. 6:8, 9) With Jehovah’s help, may we endure, work hard to cultivate the qualities needed for survival through “the great tribulation,” and continue to serve Jehovah with joy, even in the face of trials.
We can be confident that our endurance will be rewarded, for God is well-aware of our work and our love for him and his name. If we keep on serving Jehovah with joy, we will be like the psalmist David, who said: “I keep Jehovah before me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I will never be shaken. So my heart rejoices, my whole being is joyful. And I reside in security.”