You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart.—Matt. 22:37.
Our love for Jehovah should spring from the heart. Jesus made that clear when a Pharisee asked: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” What did Jesus mean when he answered that we must love God with our “whole heart”? He meant that we must love Jehovah with our entire figurative heart, affecting our desires, emotions, and feelings. We must also love him with our “whole soul,” or our life and being. Moreover, we must love God with our “whole mind,” or our full intellect. In essence, we ought to love Jehovah fully, without reservation. If we love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind, we will be diligent students of his Word, will wholeheartedly serve his purposes, and will zealously declare the good news of the Kingdom. True love for Jehovah will draw us ever closer to him.
We live among a very self-centered generation. As Paul foretold, men are lovers of themselves, without love of goodness, and lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God. And it is just going to become worse and worse, going into civilization’s total collapse. So, that is the challenge —not going with the flow, as they say.
In the first century Christians faced episodes of severe persecution. Christ forewarned his disciples that they would be arrested, beaten, reviled and killed —and many of them were. It would take a lot of faith and love for God to endure that, especially if there was someway to avoid all of that unpleasantness.
For Christians in Rome and Asia Minor there was a way out. Those who were arrested and brought into the arenas to serve as sport for the blood-thirsty masses merely had to denounce Christ and disavow their belief in him and they could go free. Or perhaps they could simply take a pinch of incense and sprinkle it on the altar, conveniently placed in the arena for sacrificing to Cesar. But apparently very few Christians took the easy way out. How could they deny Christ who suffered and died for them?
Jehovah’s Witnesses have also suffered persecution, such as in Germany during the Nazi reign of terror. But nothing like that has confronted the present generation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It has been a time of relative peace and prosperity. That being the case, it requires a minimal sacrifice on our part to demonstrate our love for God. Like the Watchtower comment states, studying the Bible, preaching, which usually involves a leisurely coffee break, and “serving his purposes” —whatever that means —probably meant to mean going to meetings.
That is not to say that individuals do not have personal trials and sufferings. But if we are honest we will surely admit that following the Watchtower’s program does not involve an inordinate personal sacrifice.
To illustrate the point, have you ever been arrested for going out in service? Have you been confronted by an angry mob who seem intent on killing you? Unless you live in some Islamic country the answer is probably no. But again, that is what first century Christians were subjected to at times.