“You have come to know God.”
1. Why does a pilot use a list when he is checking a plane?
EACH time a pilot gets ready to fly a plane, he checks the plane carefully. He uses a list to make sure that he has checked everything. If he does not check the plane, he might not notice a problem that could cause a crash. Even pilots who have flown planes for many years need to check all the items on the list.
2. What do we need to check?
2 Like the list the pilot uses, there is a list of things you can check to make sure that your faith will stay strong even during difficult times. Whether we just got baptized or we have been in the truth for many years, we need to keep checking our faith. If we simply think that our faith is strong enough, a difficult trial in life could make us lose our relationship with Jehovah. The Bible warns us: “Let him that thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall.”
3. What did the Christians in Galatia need to do?
3 The ransom of Jesus made it possible for Christians to know God in a new way. Humans could now be chosen as sons of God! But the Christians in Galatia needed to keep checking their faith. (Galatians 4:9) There were some in the congregation who were saying that Christians could be righteous only if they continued to follow the Law of Moses. But God was no longer using that Law, and the Gentiles in the congregations had never even been under the Law! Both Jews and Gentiles in the congregation needed to make progress in the truth. They needed to understand that God no longer required people to follow the Law.
THE STEPS WE TOOK TO KNOW GOD
4, 5. What counsel did Paul give to the Galatians? Why is his letter important for us?
4 The letter that Jehovah had the apostle Paul write to the Galatians reminds all Christians not to leave the Bible truth they have learned. We must never return to what we left behind. The letter to the Galatians can help all of us to remain faithful.
The steps we take to come into the truth are like a list of things that we can check to keep our faith strong
5 We all need to remember when we decided to serve Jehovah. Think about these two questions: Do you remember the steps you took that helped you to prepare for baptism? Do you remember how you came to know God and how you felt when you came to be known by him?
6. What list will we learn about?
6 There are nine steps that we take when we come into the truth. (See the box “The Steps That We Take to Know God Can Help Us to Keep Progressing.”) We can think of these steps as a list of things that we can check to keep our faith strong and to keep us from returning to the things of the world. Just as a pilot always checks his list before he flies a plane, we should keep reviewing our list.
THOSE KNOWN BY GOD CONTINUE TO GET STRONGER IN THE TRUTH
7. What “pattern” do we need to follow? Why should we check how closely we are following it?
7 Just as a pilot checks a list of things each time he flies a plane, we too can keep checking our progress in the truth. Paul wrote to Timothy: “Keep holding the pattern of healthful words that you heard from me with the faith and love that are in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:13) The “healthful words” he was talking about are found in God’s Word. (1 Timothy 6:3) A simple drawing can give us an idea of what something looks like. Similarly, “the pattern of healthful words” helps us to understand in a general way what Jehovah requires of us. We will now discuss the steps that we took before our baptism and check to see how closely we are following the pattern of truth.
8, 9. (a) Why should we keep growing in knowledge and faith? (b) Why is our progress as a Christian important? Why is it like the growth of a tree?
8 Our first step was to take in knowledge, which led to our having faith. But we need to keep taking in knowledge and keep making our faith stronger. (2 Thessalonians 1:3) After our baptism, our relationship with God needs to keep growing and getting stronger.
9 This is similar to the way a tree grows. It is amazing to see how tall a tree can grow, especially when its roots are strong. For example, some of the beautiful cedars of Lebanon can be as tall as a building that has 12 floors. They can be so big that a rope 12 meters (40 feet) long would stretch around just one of them. (Song of Solomon 5:15) A tree grows very quickly at first. As the roots grow deeper and reach farther away from the tree, the trunk grows wider and taller. Later, it is not so easy to see the tree grow. It is similar with our progress as Christians. We may make many changes when we first start studying the Bible. Then we get baptized. Others in the congregation notice how we are progressing in the truth. We might start to pioneer or get other assignments in the congregation. As time goes on, it may not be so easy for others to see the progress we are making in the truth. But we all need to keep growing in knowledge and faith until we are like “a full-grown man,” that is, until we are what a mature Christian should be. (Ephesians 4:13) So when we make progress as a Christian, we are like a tiny seedling that grows into a strong tree.
Jehovah wants us to feel safe and loved
10. Why do mature Christians need to keep making progress in the truth?
10 But our progress should not stop there. Our knowledge of God’s Word and our faith are like roots that keep us strong and unmovable. Those roots need to keep getting stronger. (Proverbs 12:3) There are many brothers and sisters who continue to make this kind of progress. One brother who has been an elder for more than 30 years said that he is still making progress. He says that he appreciates the Bible now more than ever. He keeps learning new ways that the Bible can help a person to make decisions, and he enjoys being in the ministry more and more.
STRENGTHEN YOUR FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD
11. How can we continue to strengthen our friendship with Jehovah?
11 If we want to keep progressing as a Christian, we must keep getting closer to Jehovah. He wants us to feel safe and loved, just as a child feels when he is with a loving parent or as we feel when we are with our best friend. Of course, it will take time and effort to become close enough to Jehovah to feel that safe and loved. So make sure that you take time every day to read the Bible. And read each new magazine, book, and brochure that Jehovah gives us. This will help you to know him better as a Person and to strengthen your friendship with him.
12. What do we need to do if we want to keep our friendship with God strong?
12 Our prayers and good association can also help us to strengthen our friendship with God. (Read Malachi 3:16.) When God’s friends pray to him, he listens to “their supplication.” (1 Peter 3:12) Jehovah listens when we cry out to him in prayer, so we should keep praying. (Romans 12:12) We cannot continue to be a friend of God without his help. If we stop praying to him, we cannot get the strength we need. We could become discouraged by this wicked system or be tempted to do something wrong. But he is willing to give us all the help we need if we ask for it. Do you pray to Jehovah the way you would talk to a trusted friend? Are there ways that you could improve your prayers?
13. Why do we need to go to the meetings regularly if we want to keep our friendship with God strong?
13 We need to stay close to the congregation so that we can be with others who are friends of Jehovah. He loves them because they keep “seeking refuge in him.” (Nahum 1:7) Because the world is so bad, we need to spend time with our brothers and sisters. We can help one another to stay strong, and this will motivate us to show love for others and to do “fine works.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25) It would not be possible to follow Paul’s counsel unless we spent time with the congregation. So make sure that you go to the meetings regularly. And be a part of the meeting by giving comments.
14. Why do we always have to be ready to repent and make changes in our lives?
14 We had to repent and stop our sinful way of life when we first became a Christian. But we always have to be ready to repent and make changes in our lives. Since we are imperfect and have weaknesses, it can be very easy for us to sin. Sin is like a snake that is ready to bite us whenever it can. (Romans 3:9, 10; 6:12-14) So we cannot pretend that we do not have weaknesses. Jehovah is patient with us while we fight our weaknesses. (Philippians 2:12; 2 Peter 3:9) Use your time and energy in Jehovah’s service rather than for selfish reasons. One sister who was raised in the truth thought that she needed to be very afraid of Jehovah and felt that she would never be able to please him. She did not feel close to him and made mistakes in her life. She said, “It was not because I didn’t love Jehovah but because I didn’t truly know him.” So she prayed for God’s help and started to make some changes. She said, “I found that Jehovah led me along like a child, helping me over one obstacle at a time, ever so gently, showing me what I needed to do.”
15. What do Jesus and Jehovah notice and appreciate?
15 God’s angel told Peter and the other apostles to “keep on speaking” about the good news. (Acts 5:19-21) Our ministry each week is one of the things that we should check in order to keep our faith strong. Jesus and Jehovah notice how much faith we have and appreciate what we do in the ministry. (Revelation 2:19) The ministry should be a big part of our life.
Check your relationship with Jehovah, and pray for his help to keep it strong
16. Why should we think often about our dedication?
16 Think often about your dedication. Our relationship with Jehovah is the most important thing we have. He knows all who belong to him. (Read Isaiah 44:5.) Check your relationship with Jehovah, and pray for his help to keep it strong. Think, too, about your baptism, and do not forget that important date. Your baptism showed others that you dedicated yourself to Jehovah. This is the most important decision that you will ever make.
WE NEED ENDURANCE TO STAY CLOSE TO JEHOVAH
17. Why do we need to endure if we want to stay close to Jehovah?
17 Paul told the Galatians that they should not give up. (Galatians 6:9) We too need to endure, because we will have problems. But Jehovah will help us. Keep praying for God’s holy spirit, and he will help you to have joy and peace, even if the problems do not go away. (Matthew 7:7-11) Think about this: Jehovah takes care of the birds, yet he loves you so much more than he loves the birds. He wants to take care of you because you love him and dedicated yourself to him. (Matthew 10:29-31) Even when you have difficult problems, never give up. Never leave the truth for the things you have left behind. We have many blessings because we are now known by Jehovah.
God wants to take care of you because you love him and dedicated yourself to him
18. What should all who know God do now?
18 Whether you were baptized recently or were baptized many years ago, what should you do now? Keep getting to know Jehovah better, and keep progressing in the truth. You should be careful not to think that you know God well enough and that you do not need to improve your relationship with him. From time to time, review the things we discussed in this article so that you can stay very close to Jehovah, our loving Father, Friend, and God.