Making Whole-Souled Sacrifices for Jehovah
“Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah.”—COLOSSIANS 3:23.
SEE IF YOU CAN ANSWER:
How can we honor Jehovah in our daily activities?
What sacrifices do we make in our worship of God?
What things can we give to Jehovah?
1-3. (a) Since Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice, does this mean that Jehovah no longer requires any kind of sacrifices from us? Explain. (b) What question may we have about our sacrifices?
IN THE first century, Jehovah made it clear to his people that Jesus’ ransom sacrifice had ended the Law of Moses. (Colossians 2:13, 14) Jehovah no longer required any animal sacrifices and other offerings that the Jews had been making for hundreds of years. The Law had fulfilled its role as a “tutor leading to Christ.”—Galatians 3:24.
2 This does not mean that Christians are no longer interested in sacrifices. In fact, the apostle Peter spoke of the need to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) Also, the apostle Paul had made it clear that every part of a Christian’s life is like “a sacrifice” dedicated to God.—Romans 12:1.
3 We make sacrifices for Jehovah, either when we offer certain things to him or when we give up certain things so that we can serve him better. From what we know about the sacrifices that the Israelites offered, how can we make sure that our sacrifices are acceptable to Jehovah?
SACRIFICES IN DAILY LIFE
4. What must we remember about daily activities of life?
4 It might be difficult to understand how the things we do every day can be involved in our making sacrifices to Jehovah. Such activities as housework, schoolwork, secular work, or shopping may not seem to be activities that could affect our relationship with him. But if you have dedicated your life to Jehovah or hope to do so in the near future, it is important to remember that these daily activities really can affect your relationship with him. We are Christians 24 hours a day, and we need to use Bible principles in every situation of our lives. That is why Paul encouraged us: “Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah, and not to men.”—Read Colossians 3:18-24.
5, 6. What can help us decide how we should behave and dress?
5 Our daily activities are not part of our service to God. Yet, the fact that Paul encouraged us to work “whole-souled as to Jehovah” makes us think about how we should behave at all times. So, what do we learn from this? Do we always behave and dress as Christians should? Or in our daily activities, might we be ashamed to say that we are Jehovah’s Witnesses, either because of the way we behave or because of the way we dress? We should never let that happen! We do not want to do anything that might make people think badly of God’s name.—Isaiah 43:10; 2 Corinthians 6:3, 4, 9.
6 Let us discuss how a desire to work “whole-souled as to Jehovah” affects how we think and act in different situations. During our discussion, we need to remember that all sacrifices that the Israelites presented to Jehovah had to be the very best.—Exodus 23:19.
HOW YOUR LIFE IS AFFECTED
7. What is involved in our dedication to God?
7 When you dedicated yourself to Jehovah, you made a good decision. You promised to use your entire life in his service. This meant that you would put him first in every situation in life. (Read Hebrews 10:7.) No doubt you have had excellent results when you have made an effort to learn what Jehovah thinks about a specific matter and then acted according to his will. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) We are a holy and happy people because we imitate Jehovah, who instructs us.—Leviticus 11:44; 1 Timothy 1:11.
8. Why is it important for us to remember that the sacrifices of the Israelites were holy to Jehovah?
8 Jehovah thought of the sacrifices of the Israelites as holy. (Leviticus 6:25; 7:1) The Hebrew word translated “holiness” has the meaning of being separate, or belonging only to God. If we want Jehovah to accept our sacrifices, we must stay away from anything in the world that is unclean. We cannot love any of the things that Jehovah hates. (Read 1 John 2:15-17.) This means that we avoid anyone or anything that would cause God to view us as unclean. (Isaiah 2:4; Revelation 18:4) Also, it means that we cannot keep looking at or thinking about things that are unclean or immoral.—Colossians 3:5, 6.
9. Why is the way we treat others important?
9 Paul encouraged fellow believers: “Do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16) So if we always do what is good and if we help others, Jehovah will view our actions as an acceptable sacrifice to him. If we show love for others, we prove that we are true Christians.—John 13:34, 35; Colossians 1:10.
SACRIFICES IN WORSHIP
10, 11. How does Jehovah view our preaching work and our worship? What should this motivate us to do?
10 One way that we can do good things for others is through “the public declaration of our hope.” Do you use every opportunity to give a witness? Paul said that we need to “offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name.” (Hebrews 10:23; 13:15; Hosea 14:2) It can be helpful to think about how much time we use to preach the good news and how we can improve the way we preach. Many Service Meeting parts help us to do this. But what we really must remember is that our field service and informal witnessing activities are “a sacrifice of praise,” a part of our worship, so our sacrifice should be the very best that we can offer. Of course, we have different circumstances, but our attitude about serving Jehovah often affects how much time we use to preach.
11 We regularly worship Jehovah both at home and in the congregation. He requires that we do this. Although we no longer have to obey the law of the Sabbath or go to Jerusalem for festivals, we can still learn from those laws. Every day we have many things to do, but God still expects us to use some of our time to study the Bible, pray, and attend meetings. And the head of the family has the responsibility to study the Bible with the rest of the family. (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Hebrews 10:24, 25) So it is good to ask ourselves, Could I improve my worship to God?
12. (a) The offering of incense in ancient worship can be compared to what today? (b) How can we offer our prayers like incense?
12 King David sang to Jehovah: “May my prayer be prepared as incense before you.” (Psalm 141:2) It is good to think about how often we pray and what we pray about. The book of Revelation compares “the prayers of the holy ones” to incense. It says that acceptable prayers rise to Jehovah like a pleasant odor. (Revelation 5:8) In ancient Israel, the incense that was regularly offered on Jehovah’s altar had to be carefully prepared according to a special recipe. It was acceptable to Jehovah only if offered according to the guidelines that he had given. (Exodus 30:34-37; Leviticus 10:1, 2) Similarly, if we pray in the way that Jehovah has instructed us to pray and view prayer as something holy, we can be sure that he will accept our prayers.
WE GIVE AND WE RECEIVE
13, 14. (a) What did Epaphroditus and the Philippian congregation do for Paul? How did Paul feel about it? (b) How can we follow the example of Epaphroditus and the Philippians?
13 The money we contribute to support the worldwide work is like a sacrifice, whether we give a lot or a little. (Mark 12:41-44) In the first century, the congregation in Philippi sent Epaphroditus to Rome to care for Paul’s needs. Epaphroditus brought Paul some money as a gift from the congregation. This was not the first time that the Philippians had shown generosity to Paul. They sent this gift to Paul because they did not want him to worry about money but, rather, wanted him to use more of his time in the ministry. What did Paul think about the gift? He called it “a sweet-smelling odor, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.” (Read Philippians 4:15-19.) Paul was truly grateful for the kindness of the Philippians, and Jehovah was pleased too.
14 Today, Jehovah is also very pleased with our contributions to the worldwide work. And he promises that if we continue to seek first his Kingdom, he will give us what we need to keep our faith strong and to live each day.—Matthew 6:33; Luke 6:38.
SHOW THAT YOU ARE GRATEFUL
15. What are some of the things for which you are grateful to Jehovah?
15 We have many reasons to be grateful to Jehovah. Each day we should thank him for the gift of life. He gives us everything we need to be alive, such as food, clothing, shelter, and the air we breathe. Also, we are grateful for the accurate knowledge of Bible truths that gives us faith and a hope for the future. So we should worship Jehovah and offer sacrifices of praise to him because of who he is and what he has done for us.—Read Revelation 4:11.
16. How do we show that we are grateful for Christ’s ransom sacrifice?
16 The previous article mentioned that Christ’s ransom sacrifice is a precious gift of God to mankind. This gift shows how much God loves us. (1 John 4:10) How do we show that we are grateful for it? Paul said: “The love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we have judged, that one man died for all.” He continued: “He died for all that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.” (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15) Paul was saying that if we are really grateful for what God has done, we will use our lives to honor God and His Son. We show our love and gratitude to God and Christ by our obedience and by our desire to preach and make disciples.—1 Timothy 2:3, 4; 1 John 5:3.
17, 18. In what ways have some increased their sacrifice of praise to Jehovah? Give an example.
17 Would it be possible for you to improve the sacrifice of praise that you offer to God? After thinking about all the good that Jehovah has done for them, many have been motivated to make changes to have more time for the preaching work and other work for Jehovah’s organization. Some have been able to auxiliary pioneer for one or more months each year, and others have been able to regular pioneer. Some others have helped with constructing buildings that are used for Jehovah’s service. These are excellent ways to show our gratitude. If we serve God with the right motive, that is, to show him gratitude and give him thanks, God will accept what we do for him.
18 Many Christians have been motivated to show their gratitude to Jehovah. Morena is one of them. She was raised as a Catholic but had many questions about God and the meaning of life. She searched for the answers both in Catholicism and in Asian philosophy. But it was only when she began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses that her questions were clearly answered. Morena was very grateful to Jehovah for what she learned in the Bible because it gave her real happiness. So she wanted to thank him by using all her energies in his service. Immediately after her baptism, she regular auxiliary pioneered, and as soon as her circumstances allowed for it, she became a regular pioneer. That was 30 years ago, and Morena is still in full-time service.
19. How could you increase your sacrifices to Jehovah?
19 There are many faithful servants of Jehovah whose circumstances do not allow them to pioneer. Whatever we can do in Jehovah’s service, all of us can offer acceptable sacrifices to him. In our conduct, we apply Bible principles and remember that we represent Jehovah at all times. In faith, we need to trust that God will fulfill his purposes. In fine works, we help spread the good news. We show that we are truly grateful for all that Jehovah has done for us. So let us continue to make whole-souled sacrifices for Jehovah.
SOME EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED
Spiritual sacrifices: Things that are part of our worship, including field service, prayer, and meeting attendance
Whole-souled: We give whole-souled sacrifices to Jehovah when we give him our very best
Sacrifice of praise: Publicly declaring Jehovah’s name (Hebrews 13:15)
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Our conduct is a sacrifice to Jehovah if we please him at all times
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Our faith is a sacrifice to Jehovah if we trust that he will fulfill his purposes
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Does appreciation for Jehovah’s goodness move you to improve in your ministry?
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Do you use every opportunity to give a witness?