Peace Can Be Your Possession
WHO would not want peace? What a pleasure it is when families, neighbors, tribes, nationalities and races can enjoy a measure of peace and security! In this world, however, time and again peace is shattered by serious disagreements. Why, you may wonder, is peace at one and the same time so desirable and yet so hard to attain?
A basic reason for fights is people’s ignoring the sound guidelines of the Source of peace, man’s Maker. The Christian disciple James pointed this out, saying: “From what source are there wars and from what source are there fights among you? Are they not from this source, namely, from your cravings for sensual pleasure that carry on a conflict in your members? You desire, and yet you do not have. You go on murdering and coveting, and yet you are not able to obtain. You go on fighting and waging war. You do not have because of your not asking. You do ask, and yet you do not receive, because you are asking for a wrong purpose, that you may expend it upon your cravings for sensual pleasure.”—Jas. 4:1-3.
The “God of peace,” Jehovah, is opposed to all selfishness. Those who look to him, in faith, do not covet what others have and, therefore, do not greedily try to seize what does not belong to them. They follow the Bible’s advice: “Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.”—1 Cor. 10:24; Phil. 4:9.
Think of the many conflicts that could be avoided if all persons were to put others’ interests ahead of their own. No one would be defrauded and so no one would experience the bitterness this brings. Unselfishness begets unselfishness. When a father, for instance, forgoes personal preferences and sacrifices in behalf of his wife and children, the family is drawn closer together. The father’s example in showing unselfishness promotes the same spirit among the other members of the family. As a result, instead of strife and quarreling, peace and quiet prevail in the home. Members of the family are looking for opportunities to do things for one another.
What unselfishness can accomplish in the family circle it can produce outside the family among a large body of persons. It can break down tribal, regional, national and racial barriers. You may have observed this among the group of Christians known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are known throughout the earth for keeping themselves free of involvement with the world’s controversies. Their marvelous international unity is particularly in evidence at their large gatherings. Wrote one man living on the west coast of the United States: “Although not a member of this sect, fair and open research has been necessary for me to bypass my skepticisms about these people’s unyielding devotion to their Christian way of life . . . Hundreds of newspapers throughout the world have carried articles yearly about the orderliness and decency of these people and the behavior of their children, as they gathered at international meeting places.”
At one time, however, many who are now Jehovah’s Witnesses had deep-seated prejudices. They enjoyed neither peace with God nor with their fellowmen. But a study of the Bible helped them to come to view things very differently. Unlike many of Jesus’ fellow countrymen in the first century C.E., they discerned the “things having to do with peace.” (Luke 19:42) Based on what they learned, they repented of their former way of thinking and acting, turned around completely and began serving God as disciples of Jesus Christ. In this way they came to have peace with the Creator.
As to the effect of this peace on the individual, the Bible says: “The peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers.” (Phil. 4:7) The calmness that results from having an approved relationship with the Creator guards a person’s heart and mental powers, protecting him against becoming overly anxious about his necessities. He does not worry despairingly about the daily cares of life, being confident that God will answer his prayers and will bless his efforts to get what he needs to live. This puts his heart and mind at rest.
Furthermore, by conforming to God’s Word, a person preserves a clean conscience. He does not experience the worries and frustrations that result from knowingly following a wrong course. He feels as did the inspired psalmist: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you yourself alone, O Jehovah, make me dwell in security.”—Ps. 4:8.
Because of acting unselfishly, the individual also promotes better relationships with his fellowmen. When others recognize that he has their interests at heart, they themselves will be more inclined to deal honestly and fairly with him.
An approved relationship with Jehovah God also holds a promise of peace in the future. As individuals we cannot change the world and remove the selfishness that contributes to fights. The Creator, however, will see to it that the words of Isaiah are carried out: “They will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.”—Isa. 2:4.
When might the complete fulfillment of these words about peace be expected? How can you be among those to enjoy this in the future? Jehovah’s Christian witnesses in your area are in position to answer these questions from the Bible. If you are not presently in contact with them, why not discuss the Scriptures with them the next time they call? Find out for yourself how you can make peace your possession both now and in the future.