“We love, because he first loved us.”—1 JOHN 4:19.
SONG 23 Jehovah, Our Strength
1-2. Why and how did Jehovah open the way for us to be part of his family?
JEHOVAH has invited us to join his family of worshippers. What a marvelous invitation that is! Our family is made up of those who have dedicated themselves to God and who exercise faith in the ransom sacrifice of his Son. Ours is a happy family. We enjoy a meaningful life now, and we rejoice in the prospect of life without end—whether in heaven or in Paradise on earth.
2 Moved by love and at great cost to himself, Jehovah opened the way for us to be part of his family. (John 3:16) We were “bought with a price.” (1 Cor. 6:20) By means of the ransom, Jehovah made it possible for us to have a warm relationship with him. We have the honor of addressing the greatest Person in the universe as Father. And, as we considered in the preceding article, Jehovah is the ideal Father.
3. What questions might we ask? (See also the box “Does Jehovah Notice Me?”)
3 Like one Bible writer, we might ask: “With what will I repay Jehovah for all the good he has done for me?” (Ps. 116:12) The answer is that we can never repay our heavenly Father. Still, we feel moved to love him. The apostle John wrote: “We love, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) In what ways can we show our heavenly Father that we love him?
STAY CLOSE TO JEHOVAH
4. According to James 4:8, why should we make the effort to draw close to Jehovah?
4 Jehovah wants us to draw close to him and to communicate with him. (Read James 4:8.) He urges us to “persevere in prayer,” and he makes himself available at all times. (Rom. 12:12) He is never too busy or too tired to listen to us. In turn, we listen to him by reading his Word, the Bible, along with publications that help us to understand it. We also listen to him by paying close attention at Christian meetings. Just as good communication helps children stay close to their parents, regular communication with Jehovah helps us remain close to him.
5. How can we improve the quality of our prayers?
5 Think about the quality of your communication with God. Jehovah wants us to pour out our hearts to him in prayer. (Ps. 62:8) We do well to ask ourselves this question: ‘Do my prayers tend to be like superficial, reprinted messages, or are they like heartfelt, handwritten letters?’ No doubt you love Jehovah deeply, and you want to keep your relationship with him strong. To do that, you must communicate with him regularly. Confide in him. Share your joys and your pains with him. Be confident that you can go to him for help.
6. What must we do to stay close to our heavenly Father?
6 To stay close to our heavenly Father, we must maintain a grateful attitude. We agree with the psalmist who wrote: “How many things you have done, O Jehovah my God, your wonderful works and your thoughts toward us. None can compare to you; if I were to try to tell and speak of them, they would be too numerous to recount!” (Ps. 40:5) We do more than feel appreciative; we express our appreciation to Jehovah by our words and actions. This makes us stand out as different from many today. We live in a world where people do not appreciate all that God does for them. In fact, one indication that we are living in “the last days” is that people are unthankful. (2 Tim. 3:1, 2) May we never adopt that attitude!
7. What does Jehovah want us to do, and why?
7 Parents do not want their children to squabble but to be friends. Similarly, Jehovah wants all his children to get along well with one another. In fact, the love we have for one another identifies us as being true Christians. (John 13:35) We agree with the psalmist who wrote: “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1) When we love our brothers and sisters, we prove to Jehovah that we love him. (1 John 4:20) How pleasant it is to be part of a family of brothers and sisters who are “kind to one another, tenderly compassionate”!—Eph. 4:32.
SHOW YOUR LOVE BY BEING OBEDIENT
8. According to 1 John 5:3, what is the primary reason why we obey Jehovah?
8 Jehovah expects children to obey their parents, and he expects us to obey him. (Eph. 6:1) He deserves our obedience because he is our Creator, the Sustainer of our life, and the wisest of all parents. However, the primary reason why we obey Jehovah is that we love him. (Read 1 John 5:3.) Although there are many reasons why we should obey Jehovah, he does not force us to do so. Jehovah gave us the gift of free will, so he is happy when we choose to obey him out of love for him.
9-10. Why is it important to know God’s standards and to live by them?
9 Parents want their children to be safe. That is why they establish standards of behavior, which benefit their children. When children obey those guidelines, they show that they put trust in their parents and respect them. How much more important it is, then, that we know our heavenly Father’s standards and live by them. When we do, we show Jehovah that we love and respect him and we also benefit ourselves. (Isa. 48:17, 18) By contrast, those who reject Jehovah and his standards end up hurting themselves.—Gal. 6:7, 8.
10 When we live in a way that pleases Jehovah, we are protected from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm. Jehovah knows what is best for us. Aurora, who lives in the United States, says, “I know that obeying Jehovah always results in the best life possible.” That is true for all of us. How have you benefited from obeying Jehovah’s loving direction?
11. How does prayer help us?
11 Prayer helps us to be obedient, even when doing so is difficult. At times, we will struggle to obey Jehovah, but we must constantly fight our tendency to sin. The psalmist pleaded with God: “Stir within me a willingness to obey you.” (Ps. 51:12) Denise, who is a regular pioneer, says, “If I find it difficult to obey one of Jehovah’s commands, I pray for strength to do what is right.” We can be certain that Jehovah will always answer that type of request.—Luke 11:9-13.
HELP OTHERS TO LOVE OUR FATHER
12. According to Ephesians 5:1, what should we do?
12 Read Ephesians 5:1. As Jehovah’s “beloved children,” we do our best to imitate him. We imitate his qualities by being loving, kind, and forgiving in our dealings with others. When those who do not know God see our fine conduct, they may be motivated to learn more about him. (1 Pet. 2:12) Christian parents have good reason to imitate Jehovah in the way they treat their children. When they do, their children may want to form their own friendship with our loving Father.
13. On what do we need to focus?
13 A young child is proud of his father and is happy to talk about him. Likewise, we are proud of our heavenly Father, Jehovah, and want others to come to know him. In our heart, we all feel as did King David, who wrote: “I will boast in Jehovah.” (Ps. 34:2) What, though, if we are timid? How can we become bold? We grow bold when we focus on how happy we can make Jehovah and how much others will benefit from learning about him. Jehovah will give us the courage we need. He helped our first-century brothers to become bold, and he will help us too.—1 Thess. 2:2.
14. What are some reasons why it is important to share in the disciple-making work?
14 Jehovah is not partial, and he is happy when he sees us show love to others, no matter what their background may be. (Acts 10:34, 35) One of the best ways we can show love to others is by sharing the good news with them. (Matt. 28:19, 20) What can this work accomplish? Those who listen to us can improve their lives now and gain the prospect of enjoying everlasting life in the future.—1 Tim. 4:16.
LOVE OUR FATHER AND BE HAPPY
15-16. What reasons do we have for being happy?
15 Jehovah is a loving parent, so he wants his family to be happy. (Isa. 65:14) There are many reasons why we can be cheerful right now, even though we may be facing difficulties. For example, we are certain that our heavenly Father loves us dearly. We have an accurate knowledge of God’s Word, the Bible. (Jer. 15:16) And we are part of a unique family made up of people who love Jehovah, love his high moral standards, and love one another.—Ps. 106:4, 5.
16 We can remain happy because we have the sure hope that life will get even better in the future. We know that soon Jehovah will remove all the wicked and that under the direction of his Kingdom, the earth will be restored to Paradise. We also have the wonderful hope that those who have died will be raised to life and reunited with their loved ones. (John 5:28, 29) What a joy that will be! And most important, we are sure that soon everyone in heaven and on earth will give our loving Father the honor, praise, and devotion that he deserves.
SONG 2 We Thank You, Jehovah
^ par. 5 We know that our Father, Jehovah, loves us dearly and has brought us into his family of worshippers. In response, we are moved to love him. How can we express our love to our caring Father? This article will consider some specific things we can do.