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Congregation Bible Study | Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah
cl chap. 30 ¶1-9 (30 min.)
“Go On Walking in Love”
1-3. What results when we imitate Jehovah’s example of showing love?
“THERE is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Those words of Jesus underscore this important truth: Unselfish love brings its own reward. Although there is much happiness in receiving love, there is even greater happiness in giving, or showing, love to others.
Acts 20:35 I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way, you must assist those who are weak and must keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, when he himself said: ‘There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.’”
2 No one knows this better than our heavenly Father does. As we saw in the preceding chapters of this section, Jehovah is the ultimate example of love. No one has shown love in greater ways or over a longer period of time than he has. Is it any wonder, then, that Jehovah is called “the happy God”?—1 Timothy 1:11.
1 Timothy 1:11 according to the glorious good news of the happy God, with which I was entrusted.
3 Our loving God wants us to try to be like him, especially when it comes to showing love. Ephesians 5:1, 2 tells us: “Become imitators of God, as beloved children, and go on walking in love.” When we imitate Jehovah’s example of showing love, we experience the greater happiness that comes from giving. We also have the satisfaction of knowing that we are pleasing to Jehovah, for his Word urges us “to love one another.” (Romans 13:8) But there are yet other reasons why we should “go on walking in love.”
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.
Romans 13:8 Do not owe anything to anyone except to love one another; for whoever loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.
Why Love Is Essential
4, 5. Why is it important that we show self-sacrificing love to fellow believers?
4 Why is it important that we show love to fellow believers? Put simply, love is the essence of true Christianity. Without love we cannot have a close bond with fellow Christians, and more important, we amount to nothing in Jehovah’s sight. Consider how God’s Word highlights these truths.
5 On the final night of his earthly life, Jesus told his followers: “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:34, 35) “Just as I have loved you”—yes, we are commanded to show the kind of love that Jesus displayed. In Chapter 29, we noted that Jesus set a superb example in showing self-sacrificing love, putting the needs and interests of others ahead of self. We too are to display unselfish love, and we are to do it so plainly that our love is evident even to those outside the Christian congregation. Indeed, self-sacrificing brotherly love is the mark by which we are identified as true followers of Christ.
John 13:34, 35 I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.”
6, 7. (a) How do we know that Jehovah’s Word places a high value on showing love? (b) Paul’s words recorded at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 focus on what aspect of love?
6 What if love is lacking in us? “If I . . . do not have love,” said the apostle Paul, “I have become a sounding piece of brass or a clashing cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1) A clashing cymbal produces a harsh noise. What about a sounding piece of brass? Other versions say “a noisy gong” or “a resounding gong.” What apt illustrations! A loveless person is like a musical instrument making a loud, jarring noise that repels rather than attracts. How could such a person enjoy a close relationship with others? Paul also said: “If I have all the faith so as to transplant mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2) Just imagine, a person without love is “a useless nobody,” despite any works that he might perform! (The Amplified Bible) Is it not clear that Jehovah’s Word places a high value on showing love?
1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and understand all the sacred secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all the faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
7 How, though, can we display this quality in our dealings with others? To answer that, let us examine Paul’s words found at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. The emphasis in these verses is neither on God’s love for us nor on our love for God. Rather, Paul focused on how we should show love to one another. He described certain things that love is and certain things that it is not.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up, 5 does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. 6 It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away with; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away with.
What Love Is
8. How can long-suffering help us in our dealings with others?
8 “Love is long-suffering.” Being long-suffering means patiently putting up with others. (Colossians 3:13) Do we not need such patience? Because we are imperfect creatures serving shoulder to shoulder, it is only realistic to expect that from time to time, our Christian brothers may irritate us and we may do the same to them. But patience and forbearance can help us to cope with the minor scrapes and scratches we sustain in our dealings with others—without disrupting the peace of the congregation.
Colossians 3:13 Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Just as Jehovah freely forgave you, you must also do the same.
9. In what ways can we show kindness to others?
9 “Love is . . . kind.” Kindness is shown by helpful acts and considerate words. Love moves us to look for ways to show kindness, especially toward those most in need. For instance, an older fellow believer may be lonely and in need of an encouraging visit. A single mother or a sister living in a religiously divided home may need some assistance. One who is ill or facing some adversity may need to hear kind words from a loyal friend. (Proverbs 12:25; 17:17) When we take the initiative to show kindness in such ways, we demonstrate the genuineness of our love.—2 Corinthians 8:8.
Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,But a good word cheers it up.
Proverbs 17:17 A true friend shows love at all times,And is a brother who is born for times of distress.
2 Corinthians 8:8 I am saying this, not to command you, but to make you aware of the earnestness of others and to test the genuineness of your love.
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