BECAUSE we live in a troubled world, we must work hard to gain peace. Yet, even when we have a measure of peace, we often struggle to keep it. What does God’s Word say that can help us to find true and lasting peace? And how may we help others to do so?
WHAT IS NEEDED FOR TRUE PEACE?
In order to enjoy real peace, we must feel safe and have a sense of well-being. We also need to develop strong friendships with others. Most important, to find lasting peace, we must cultivate a close friendship with God. How can we do that?
When we obey Jehovah’s righteous commands and principles, we show that we trust in him and that we desire to have a peaceful relationship with him. (Jer. 17:7, 8; Jas. 2:22, 23) In turn, he draws close to us and blesses us with inner peace. Isaiah 32:17 says: “The result of true righteousness will be peace, and the fruitage of true righteousness will be lasting tranquillity and security.” We can find true inner peace by obeying Jehovah from the heart.—Isa. 48:18, 19.
We are also helped to develop lasting peace by means of a remarkable gift from our heavenly Father—his holy spirit.—Acts 9:31.
GOD’S SPIRIT HELPS US DEVELOP PEACE
The apostle Paul lists peace as the third aspect of “the fruitage of the spirit.” (Gal. 5:22, 23) Since true peace is produced by God’s spirit, we must yield to the influence of the holy spirit to develop true peace. Let us consider two ways in which God’s spirit can help us find peace.
First, we are helped to develop peace by reading God’s inspired Word regularly. (Ps. 1:2, 3) As we meditate on the Bible’s message, God’s spirit helps us to understand Jehovah’s thinking on many matters. For example, we see how he remains peaceable and why peace is so important to him. When we apply such lessons from God’s Word, we experience greater peace in our lives.—Prov. 3:1, 2.
Second, we must pray for God’s holy spirit. (Luke 11:13) Jehovah promises that if we seek his help, “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard [our] hearts and [our] mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6, 7) When we prayerfully rely on Jehovah’s spirit, our God fills us with an inner peace that belongs only to those who have a precious friendship with him.—Rom. 15:13.
How have some applied this Scriptural counsel and made needed changes that allowed them to experience lasting peace—with Jehovah, with themselves, and with fellow humans?
HOW THEY FOUND LASTING PEACE
In the Christian congregation today are some who were once “prone to anger” but who are now more thoughtful, kind, patient, and peaceable in their dealings with others.* (Prov. 29:22) Notice how this was true of two Kingdom publishers who were helped to overcome anger and to cultivate peace with others.
David’s bad attitude affected his speech. Before dedicating his life to God, he was often critical of others and used harsh language with his family. In time, David saw the need to change and become peaceable. How did he find peace? He says, “I began applying Bible principles in my life, and as a result, the respect between me and my family grew.”
Rachel’s background influenced her attitude. She admits, “Even now, I struggle with feelings of anger because I was brought up in an angry household.” What has helped her to become more peaceable? She answers, “Prayerful reliance on Jehovah.”
David and Rachel are just two examples of the peaceful fruitage that results when we apply inspired Scriptural principles and rely on God’s spirit to help us. Clearly, despite living in a hostile world, we can have inner peace that contributes to harmony within our families and with fellow Christians. Yet, Jehovah urges us to “be peaceable with all men.” (Rom. 12:18) Is that really possible, and what benefits come from our efforts to make peace?
PURSUE PEACE WITH OTHERS
By means of our field ministry, we invite people to benefit from our peaceful message about the Kingdom of God. (Isa. 9:6, 7; Matt. 24:14) Happily, many have responded. As a result, they are no longer overwhelmed with feelings of despair or anger over what they see happening around them. Instead, they now have a real hope for the future and are moved to “seek peace and pursue it.”—Ps. 34:14.
Not all, however, respond favorably to our message, at least not initially. (John 3:19) Even so, we are assisted by God’s spirit to present the good news to them in a peaceful and respectful manner. In this way, we follow Jesus’ instructions for the ministry recorded at Matthew 10:11-13, where he advised: “When you enter the house, greet the household. If the house is deserving, let the peace you wish it come upon it; but if it is not deserving, let the peace from you return upon you.” When we follow Jesus’ advice, we can leave with our peace intact and with the possibility of helping the person in the future.
We also contribute to peace when we approach government officials in a respectful way—including those who may oppose our work. For example, the government of one African country allowed prejudice to prevent it from granting approval for the building of Kingdom Halls. In hopes of resolving the matter peacefully, a brother who had previously served as a missionary in that African land was assigned to visit the country’s High Commissioner in London, England. He was to tell the official about the peaceful work of Jehovah’s Witnesses in his country. How did that visit turn out?
“When I arrived at the reception desk,” he relates, “I concluded by the receptionist’s manner of dress that she belonged to a tribe whose language I had learned. So I greeted her in her own tongue. Taken by surprise, she asked me, ‘What is the reason for your visit?’ I politely told her that I wished to see the High Commissioner. She telephoned the official, who came out to meet me and greeted me in the local language. After that, he carefully listened to me as I explained to him the peaceful activities of the Witnesses.”
The brother’s respectful explanation removed much of the commissioner’s misunderstanding and prejudice toward our work. Some time later, the government of that African country lifted its building restrictions. How the brothers rejoiced at that peaceful outcome! Indeed, treating others with respect yields many fine benefits—including peace.
ENJOY PEACE FOREVER
Today, Jehovah’s people enjoy a spiritual paradise that is filled with peace. You will add to that peace as you work to develop this aspect of the spirit’s fruitage in your life. Most important, you will gain Jehovah’s approval and find abundant and everlasting peace in God’s new world.—2 Pet. 3:13, 14.
The quality of kindness will be considered in a future article in this series on the fruitage of God’s holy spirit.