Draw Close to Your Spiritual Family
“I am ascending to my Father and your Father.”—JOHN 20:17.
1. O Jehovah, you have given us
a hope that we hold dear.
It’s a hope we find so thrilling
we want the world to hear.
But at times this life’s anxieties
are the cause of fears within,
And the hope that burned so brightly
has suddenly grown dim.
You’re our strength, you’re our hope,
you’re our confidence.
Whatever we lack, you supply.
When we preach, when we teach,
we have confidence
because it’s on you we rely.
2. So Jehovah, please instill in us
a heart that won’t forget,
For you’ve always been our comfort
when troubled times we’ve met.
And these thoughts that lift and strengthen us
can revive that dying flame,
For they fill our hearts with courage
to speak about your name.
You’re our strength, you’re our hope,
you’re our confidence.
Whatever we lack, you supply.
When we preach, when we teach,
we have confidence
because it’s on you we rely.
Footnote reads: We enjoy the extraordinary privilege of being part of a loving family of brothers and sisters. All of us want to strengthen the bond of love that exists among us. How can we do so? By imitating the way in which our loving Father treats us and by following the examples of Jesus and of our brothers and sisters.- End Footnote.
1. What relationship can faithful humans have with Jehovah?
JEHOVAH’S family of worshippers includes Jesus, who is “the firstborn of all creation,” and a multitude of angels.
Quotation: Colossians 1:15. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;- End quotation.
Quotation: Psalm 103:20. Praise Jehovah, all you his angels, mighty in power, Who carry out his word, obeying his voice.- End quotation.
When Jesus was on earth, he indicated that faithful humans can view Jehovah as their Father. Speaking to his disciples, Jesus referred to Jehovah as “my Father and your Father.”
Quotation: John 20:17. Jesus said to her: “Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.’”- End quotation.
And when we dedicate ourselves to Jehovah and get baptized, we become part of a loving family of brothers and sisters.—
Quotation: Mark 10:29, 30. Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, no one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the good news 30 who will not get 100 times more now in this period of time—houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the coming system of things, everlasting life.- End quotation.
2. What will we consider in this article?
2 Some find it difficult to view Jehovah as a loving Father. Others may not know how to express love to their brothers and sisters. In this article, we will consider how Jesus helps us to view Jehovah as a loving Father, one to whom we can draw close. We will also identify ways that we can imitate Jehovah in how we treat our brothers and sisters.
3. How does the model prayer draw us closer to Jehovah?
3 Jehovah is a loving Father. Jesus wants us to view Jehovah the way he does—as a warm and loving parent who is easy to approach, not as a cold authority figure. This is evident in what Jesus taught his disciples to pray for. He began the model prayer with the words: “Our Father.”
Quotation: Matthew 6:9. “You must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.- End quotation.
Jesus could have directed us to call Jehovah “the Almighty,” “the Creator,” —all of which are appropriate and Scriptural titles.
Quotation: Genesis 49:25. He is from the God of your father, and he will help you, and he is with the Almighty, and he will bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, with the blessings of the deep below, with the blessings of the breasts and womb.That is, Joseph.- End quotation.
Quotation: Isaiah 40:28. Do you not know? Have you not heard? Jehovah, the Creator of the ends of the earth, is a God for all eternity. He never tires out or grows weary. His understanding is unsearchable.- End quotation.
Quotation: 1 Timothy 1:17. Now to the King of eternity, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.- End quotation.
However, Jesus used the intimate term “Father.”
4. How do we know that Jehovah wants us to draw close to him?
4 Do you find it difficult to view Jehovah as a loving Father? Some of us do. We may find the idea of a loving parent hard to grasp because our upbringing was painful. How comforting it is to know that Jehovah completely understands our feelings! He wants to be close to us. That is why his Word urges us: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”
Quotation: James 4:8. Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you indecisive ones.- End quotation.
Jehovah loves us, and he offers to be the best Father we could ever have.
5. According to Luke 10:22, how can Jesus help us to draw closer to Jehovah?
5 Jesus can help us to draw closer to Jehovah. Jesus knows Jehovah so well and reflects His qualities so perfectly that he said: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also.”
Quotation: John 14:9. Jesus said to him: “Even after I have been with you men for such a long time, Philip, have you not come to know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also. How is it you say, ‘Show us the Father’?- End quotation.
Like an older brother, Jesus teaches us how to respect and obey our Father, how to avoid displeasing Him, and how to gain His approval. But Jesus’ life course on earth especially reveals how kind and loving Jehovah is. Read
Quotation: Luke 10:22. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.”- End quotation.
Let us consider some examples.
As a loving Father, Jehovah strengthened his Son by means of an angel See paragraph 6
Footnote reads: PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Jehovah sent an angel to strengthen Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.- End Footnote.
6. Give examples of how Jehovah listened to Jesus.
6 Jehovah listens to his children. Consider the way that Jehovah listened to his firstborn Son. Jehovah certainly heard many prayers offered by his Son when he was on earth.
Quotation: Luke 5:16. However, he often went into the desolate areas to pray.- End quotation.
He heard Jesus pray about weighty decisions, such as when he selected his 12 apostles.
Quotation: Luke 6:12, 13. On one of those days he went out to the mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13 And when it became day, he called his disciples to him and chose from among them 12, whom he also named apostles:- End quotation.
Jehovah also heard Jesus pray when he was in distress. Just before his betrayal, Jesus fervently prayed to his Father concerning the difficult test he was about to face. Jehovah not only heard Jesus’ prayer but also sent an angel to strengthen His dear Son.—
Quotation: Luke 22:41 to 44. And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw away, and he bent his knees and began to pray, 42 saying: “Father, if you want to, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours take place.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 But he was in such agony that he kept praying more earnestly; and his sweat became as drops of blood falling to the ground.- End quotation.
7. How should we feel knowing that Jehovah listens to our prayers?
7 Today, Jehovah continues to listen to the prayers of his servants, and he answers them at the right time and in the best possible way.
Quotation: Psalm 116:1, 2. I love Jehovah Because he hears my voice, my pleas for help. 2 For he inclines his ear to me, And I will call on him as long as I live.- End quotation.
Consider how a sister in India personally experienced this. She had been dealing with severe emotional problems, and she earnestly prayed to Jehovah about the matter. She writes: “The May 2019 JW Broadcasting® program about how to deal with worry and anxiety was just the right thing for me. It was an answer to my prayers.”
8. In what ways did Jehovah show love for Jesus?
8 Jehovah loves us and cares for us, just as he loved Jesus and cared for him during his challenging earthly assignment.
Quotation: John 5:20. For the Father has affection for the Son and shows him all the things he himself does, and he will show him works greater than these, so that you may marvel.- End quotation.
He provided for all of Jesus’ spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. And Jehovah did not hold back from expressing love for and approval of his Son.
Quotation: Matthew 3:16, 17. 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. 17 Look! Also, a voice from the heavens said: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”- End quotation.
Because he could always count on his loving heavenly Father, Jesus never felt alone.—
Quotation: John 8:16. And yet even if I do judge, my judgment is truthful, because I am not alone, but the Father who sent me is with me.- End quotation.
9. What evidence do we have that Jehovah loves us?
9 Like Jesus, all of us have experienced many expressions of Jehovah’s love. Just think: Jehovah drew us to him and has given us a loving and united spiritual family to make us happy and to help fill our emotional needs.
Quotation: John 6:44. No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him, and I will resurrect him on the last day.- End quotation.
Jehovah also provides us with a steady supply of upbuilding spiritual food. And he even helps us to care for our daily material needs.
Quotation: Matthew 6:31, 32. So never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to wear?’ 32 For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.- End quotation.
As we reflect on Jehovah’s love for us, our love for him grows.
10. What can we learn from the way Jehovah treats our brothers and sisters?
10 Jehovah loves our brothers and sisters. But we may not always find it easy to feel and express love for members of our spiritual family. After all, we come from many different cultures and backgrounds. And we all make mistakes that can frustrate and disappoint others. Still, we can contribute to the love of our spiritual family. How? By imitating our Father in showing love to our brothers and sisters.
Quotation: Ephesians 5:1, 2. Therefore, become imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and go on walking in love, just as the Christ also loved us and gave himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice, a sweet fragrance to God.- End quotation.
Quotation: 1 John 4:19. We love, because he first loved us.- End quotation.
Let us see what we can learn from Jehovah’s example.
11. How did Jesus reflect Jehovah’s “tender compassion”?
11 Jehovah shows “tender compassion.”
Quotation: Luke 1:78. because of the tender compassion of our God. With this compassion a daybreak will visit us from on high,- End quotation.
A compassionate person is concerned when he notices that people are suffering; he looks for ways to provide help and comfort. By the way he treated people, Jesus reflected Jehovah’s concern for them.
Quotation: John 5:19. Therefore, in response Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, the Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son does also in like manner.- End quotation.
When seeing a crowd on one occasion, Jesus “felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.”
Quotation: Matthew 9:36. On seeing the crowds, he felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.- End quotation.
Jesus’ compassion went beyond warm feelings. He cured the sick and offered refreshment to those who were “toiling and loaded down.”—
Quotation: Matthew 11:28 to 30. Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.” - End quotation.
Quotation: Matthew 14:14. When he came ashore, he saw a large crowd, and he felt pity for them, and he cured their sick ones.- End quotation.
Imitate Jehovah by being compassionate and generous with your brothers and sisters See paragraphs 12-14
Footnote reads: PICTURE DESCRIPTION: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many worked to prepare and distribute provisions of food.- End Footnote.
12. Give an example of how we can show compassion.
12 Before we can show compassionate concern for our brothers and sisters, we need to consider what challenges they are facing. For example, a sister may have a serious health problem. She never complains about it, but she would likely appreciate some practical help. How is she caring for the physical needs of her family? Would she welcome a little assistance with preparing meals or cleaning the house? A brother may have lost his job. Would a modest monetary gift, perhaps given anonymously, help tide him over until he finds another job?
13-14. How can we be generous like Jehovah?
13 Jehovah is generous.
Quotation: Matthew 5:45. so that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good and makes it rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.- End quotation.
We should not wait until our brothers and sisters ask for our help before we show compassion. Like Jehovah, we can take the initiative. He makes the sun rise on us daily without our even asking for it! And the warmth of the sun sustains everyone, not just those who are thankful. Would you not agree that by providing for our needs, Jehovah is expressing his love for us? How we love Jehovah for being so kind and generous!
14 In imitation of their heavenly Father, many of our brothers and sisters take the initiative in showing generosity. For example, in 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan caused tremendous destruction in the Philippines. A number of brothers and sisters lost their homes and possessions. But their spiritual family from around the world rallied to support them. Many contributed funds or participated in a massive construction effort, which resulted in repairing or rebuilding almost 750 homes in less than a year! During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Witnesses worked hard to support their brothers and sisters. When we are quick to support our spiritual family, we show them that we love them.
15-16. According to Luke 6:36, what is an important way in which we can imitate our heavenly Father?
15 Jehovah is merciful and forgiving. Read
Quotation: Luke 6:36. Continue being merciful, just as your Father is merciful.- End quotation.
We daily experience our heavenly Father’s mercy.
Quotation: Psalm 103:10 to 14. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor has he repaid us what our errors deserve. 11 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So great is his loyal love toward those who fear him. 12 As far off as the sunrise is from the sunset, So far off from us he has put our transgressions. 13 As a father shows mercy to his sons, Jehovah has shown mercy to those who fear him. 14 For he well knows how we are formed, Remembering that we are dust.- End quotation.
Jesus’ followers were imperfect; yet, he showed them mercy and forgiveness. He was even willing to sacrifice his life so that our sins can be forgiven.
Quotation: 1 John 2:1, 2. My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. 2 And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s.- End quotation.
Do you not feel drawn to Jehovah and Jesus because they are merciful and forgiving?
16 We strengthen the bond of love in our spiritual family when we are “freely forgiving.”
Quotation: Ephesians 4:32. But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.- End quotation.
Of course, forgiving others can be very hard at times, so we need to work at it. One sister felt that the Watchtower article “Forgive One Another Freely” helped her to do just that.
Footnote reads: See The Watchtower, November 15, 2012, pages 26-30.- End Footnote.
She writes: “Studying this article has given me a different, more positive perspective on the matter. It explained that being willing to forgive others does not mean that you approve of their wrong behavior or minimize the damage it causes. But forgiving does mean letting go of resentment for such wrongs and maintaining your own peace.” When we freely forgive our brothers and sisters, we show that we love them and that we imitate our Father, Jehovah.
Forgive Freely Article
Young and old have shown loving interest in others in the brotherhood See paragraph 17
Footnote reads: PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A mother supports her daughter, who is sending a letter of encouragement to a brother in prison.- End Footnote.
17. According to Matthew 5:16, how can we honor our heavenly Father?
17 It is a great privilege to belong to a loving international family. We want as many as possible to join us in worshipping our God. With this in mind, we should be careful never to do anything that would reflect badly on Jehovah’s people or on our heavenly Father. We try to conduct ourselves in a way that will attract people to the good news.—Read
Quotation: Matthew 5:16. Likewise, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.- End quotation.
18. What can help us to give a fearless witness?
18 At times, some may belittle us or even persecute us because we obey our heavenly Father. What if we feel intimidated when speaking to others about our beliefs? We can count on Jehovah and his Son to come to our aid. Jesus reassured his disciples that they did not have to worry about how to speak or what to say. Why not? “What you are to speak will be given you in that hour,” explained Jesus, “for the ones speaking are not just you, but it is the spirit of your Father that speaks by you.”—
Quotation: Matthew 10:19, 20. However, when they hand you over, do not become anxious about how or what you are to speak, for what you are to speak will be given you in that hour; 20 for the ones speaking are not just you, but it is the spirit of your Father that speaks by you.- End quotation.
19. Give an example of someone who gave a bold witness.
19 Consider the example of Robert. Some time ago when he was a new Bible student with limited Bible knowledge, he appeared before a military court in South Africa. He boldly explained to the court that he wanted to remain neutral because of his love for his Christian brothers. He cherished his place in our spiritual family! “Who are your brothers?” the judge asked suddenly. Robert had not anticipated that question, but immediately the text for that day came to mind. It was
Quotation: Matthew 12:50. For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, that one is my brother and sister and mother.”- End quotation.
: “Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, that one is my brother and sister and mother.” Even though Robert was a new Bible student, Jehovah’s spirit helped him to answer that question and a number of other unexpected questions. Jehovah must have been proud of Robert! And Jehovah is also proud of us when we rely on him to give a courageous witness in challenging situations.
20. What should we be determined to do? John 17:11, 15
20 May we continue to treasure the blessing we have of belonging to a loving spiritual family. We have the best possible Father as well as many devoted brothers and sisters. We must never take these things for granted. Satan and his hateful followers try to make us doubt our heavenly Father’s love and try to disrupt the unity we enjoy. Jesus, however, prayed in our behalf, asking our Father to watch over us so that our family remains united. Read
Quotation: John 17:11. “I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name, which you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.- End quotation.
Quotation: John 17:15. “I do not request that you take them out of the world, but that you watch over them because of the wicked one.- End quotation.
Jehovah is answering that prayer. Like Jesus, may we never doubt the love and support of our heavenly Father. Let us be determined to continue drawing ever closer to our spiritual family.
What proves to you that Jehovah is a loving Father?
What are some ways we can express love for our brothers and sisters?
How do we show that we cherish our spiritual family?
1. Myriads on myriads of brothers,
Millions for all to see,
Each one a faithful witness,
Firm in integrity.
Myriads we are on myriads,
Growing, a mighty crowd,
From ev’ry nation and tribe and tongue,
We praise our God aloud.
2. Myriads on myriads of brothers,
We preach both far and near
“Good news of something better,”
Which millions long to hear.
And as we keep on preaching,
Though we at times are stressed,
Jesus refreshes the weary souls;
He gives us peace and rest.
3. Myriads on myriads of brothers,
God keeps us in his sight,
Safe in his earthly courtyards,
Serving him day and night.
Myriads we are on myriads,
With Kingdom news we go,
God’s fellow workers we have become,
Serving him here below.