Where Can You Find Inner Peace?
There are many differences between our time and that of Thoreau, mentioned in the preceding article. One major difference is that today there is no shortage of advice on how to gain peace of mind. Psychologists and writers of self-help books—even newspaper columnists—offer their ideas. Their advice might be of some short-term help; but for long-term solutions, something more profound is needed. That is what the individuals mentioned in the preceding article discovered.
ANTÔNIO, Marcos, Gerson, Vania, and Marcelo came from different backgrounds and had different problems. But they had at least three things in common. First, there was a time when they “had no hope and were without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12) Second, they longed for peace of mind. And third, all of them found the inner peace they wanted after they accepted a Bible study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. As they progressed, they came to realize that God is interested in them. Indeed, as Paul told the Athenians of his day, God “is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27) Being sincerely convinced of this is a major factor in gaining inner peace.
Why So Little Peace?
The Bible gives two basic reasons for the lack of peace in the world—be it inner peace or peace between people. The first is explained at Jeremiah 10:23: “To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” Man has neither the wisdom nor the foresight to rule himself without help, and the only help that has real value comes from God. Humans who do not seek God’s guidance will never attain lasting peace. The second reason for the lack of peace is seen in the words of the apostle John: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Without divine guidance, man’s efforts to gain peace will always be frustrated by the activities of the unseen but very real—and very powerful—“wicked one,” Satan.
For these two reasons—that most people do not seek God’s guidance and that Satan is very active in the world—the human race as a whole is in a sorry state. The apostle Paul well described it: “All creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22) Who can disagree with that assessment? In wealthy nations as well as poor ones, family problems, crime, injustice, personality conflicts, economic uncertainty, tribal and ethnic hatreds, oppression, sickness, and much more, rob people of their peace of mind.
Where to Find Inner Peace
When Antônio, Marcos, Gerson, Vania, and Marcelo studied God’s Word, the Bible, they learned things that changed their lives. For one thing, they learned that the world situation will one day be different. This is not just a vague hope that everything will turn out all right in the end. It is a real, well-founded confidence that God has a purpose for mankind and that even now we can benefit from that purpose if we do his will. They applied in their lives what they learned from the Bible, and things improved for them. They found more happiness and peace than they had thought possible.
Antônio is no longer involved in protests and labor strife. He knows that changes brought about in that way are only limited and temporary. This former labor leader has learned about God’s Kingdom. It is the Kingdom that millions pray for when they recite the Lord’s Prayer (or, the Our Father) and say to God: “Your kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:10a, New International Version) Antônio learned that God’s Kingdom is a real heavenly government that will bring genuine peace to mankind.
Marcos learned to put into practice the Bible’s wise counsel on the subject of marriage. As a result, this former politician is now happily reunited with his wife. He too is looking forward to the time, soon to come, when God’s Kingdom will replace this greedy, selfish world system with a better one. He has a far deeper understanding of the sentence in the Lord’s Prayer that reads: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10b, NIV) When God’s will is done on earth, humans will experience a quality of life never before seen.
What about Gerson? He is no longer a drifter and a thief. The life of this former street child now has meaning because he uses his energy helping others to find inner peace. As these experiences show, studying the Bible and applying what it says can greatly change a person’s life for the better.
Inner Peace in a Troubled World
The central historical figure in the outworking of God’s will is Jesus Christ, and when people study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they learn a lot about him. The night he was born, angels sang God’s praises: “Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill.” (Luke 2:14) When Jesus grew up, he was concerned about improving people’s lives. He understood their feelings and showed extraordinary compassion for the afflicted and the sick. And, in harmony with the words of the angels, he brought a measure of inner peace to the meek. At the end of his ministry, he said to his disciples: “I leave you peace, I give you my peace. I do not give it to you the way that the world gives it. Do not let your hearts be troubled nor let them shrink for fear.”—John 14:27.
Jesus was more than a humanitarian. He compared himself to a shepherd, and he likened his meek followers to sheep when he said: “I have come that they might have life and might have it in abundance. I am the fine shepherd; the fine shepherd surrenders his soul in behalf of the sheep.” (John 10:10, 11) Yes, in contrast with so many leaders today who care first and foremost about themselves, Jesus gave his life for his sheep.
How can we benefit from what Jesus did? Many are familiar with the words: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Exercising faith in Jesus requires, first of all, knowledge about him and his Father, Jehovah. Knowledge of God and Jesus Christ can lead to an intimate relationship with Jehovah God that will help us attain peace of mind.
Jesus said: “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27, 28) What warm, comforting words! True, Jesus uttered them almost two thousand years ago, but they have as much force now as they had back then. Never forget that Jesus Christ is still alive and active, ruling now as the enthroned King of God’s heavenly Kingdom. Just as when he walked on earth those many years ago, he is still concerned about meek ones who long for peace of mind. Further, he is still the Shepherd of his sheep. If we follow him, he will help us to gain inner peace, which includes a confident expectation of seeing in the future total peace—which will mean the absence of violence, war, and crime.
Real benefits come from knowing and believing that Jehovah, through Jesus, will help us. Remember Vania, who as a young girl was left with heavy responsibilities and thought that God had forgotten her? Now Vania knows that God has not abandoned her. She says: “I learned that God is a real person with endearing qualities. His love moved him to send his Son to earth to give us life. It is very important to know this.”
Marcelo testifies that his relationship with God is real. This former partygoer comments: “Young people often do not know what to do, and they end up harming themselves. Some get involved in drug abuse, as I did. I hope that many more will be blessed, as I was, by learning the truth about God and his Son.”
Through a careful study of the Bible, Vania and Marcelo developed a strong faith in God and a confidence in his willingness to help them handle their problems. If we do what they did—study the Bible and apply what it says—we will discover a large measure of inner peace, just as they did. Then the encouragement of the apostle Paul will really apply in our case: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6, 7.
Finding Genuine Peace Today
Jesus Christ is guiding truth-hungry people along the way that leads to everlasting life in an earthly paradise. As he guides them to the pure worship of God, they experience peace similar to that described in the Bible: “My people must dwell in a peaceful abiding place and in residences of full confidence and in undisturbed resting-places.” (Isaiah 32:18) And that is only a foretaste of the peace that they will enjoy in the future. We read: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:11, 29.
So can we have inner peace today? Yes. Moreover, we can be sure that in the near future, God will bless obedient mankind with peace as never before. Why not, then, ask him in prayer to give you his peace? If you have problems that rob you of peace, pray in the way that King David prayed: “Distresses of my heart have multiplied; from the stresses upon me O bring me out. See my affliction and my trouble, and pardon all my sins.” (Psalm 25:17, 18) Be assured that God listens to such prayers. He stretches out his hand and grants peace to all who seek it in sincerity of heart. We are lovingly assured: “Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him, to all those who call upon him in trueness. The desire of those fearing him he will perform, and their cry for help he will hear, and he will save them.”—Psalm 145:18, 19.
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Man has neither the wisdom nor the foresight to rule himself without help, and the only help that has real value comes from God
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Knowledge of God and Jesus Christ can lead to an intimate relationship with Jehovah God that will help us attain peace of mind
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Following Bible counsel contributes to a peaceful family life