“The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts.”—PHIL. 4:7.
SONG 113 Our Possession of Peace
1-2. Why was Jesus troubled?
ON HIS final day as a human, Jesus was troubled. Soon he would suffer a cruel death at the hands of lawless men. But it was more than his impending death that was giving Jesus concern. He deeply loved his Father and wanted to please him. Jesus knew that if he proved faithful under the coming difficult test, he would contribute to the vindication of Jehovah’s name. Jesus also loved people, and he knew that our future prospects for everlasting life would depend on his finishing his earthly course successfully.
2 Even though Jesus was under great stress, he was at peace. “I give you my peace,” he had told his apostles. (John 14:27) He had “the peace of God,” the calmness and tranquility that result from a person’s precious relationship with Jehovah. That peace put Jesus’ mind and heart at rest.—Phil. 4:6, 7.
3. What will we examine in this article?
3 None of us will ever face the kind of pressure that Jesus had to endure, but all who follow Jesus will face trials. (Matt. 16:24, 25; John 15:20) And like Jesus, we will feel troubled at times. How can we prevent anxiety from dominating us and robbing us of our peace of mind? Let us examine three things that Jesus did during his ministry on earth and see how we can imitate him when we face trials.
JESUS CONTINUED PRAYING
4. With 1 Thessalonians 5:17 in mind, give some examples to show that Jesus prayed often during the last day of his life on earth.
4 Read 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Jesus prayed often throughout the last day of his life on earth. When he instituted the commemoration of his death, he prayed over the bread and the wine. (1 Cor. 11:23-25) Before leaving the place where they had held the Passover, he prayed with the disciples. (John 17:1-26) When he and the disciples arrived at the Mount of Olives that night, he prayed repeatedly. (Matt. 26:36-39, 42, 44) And the very last words Jesus spoke before dying were uttered in prayer. (Luke 23:46) Through prayer, Jesus included Jehovah in every major event on that momentous day.
5. Why did the apostles’ courage weaken?
5 One reason why Jesus could endure his trial was that he relied on his Father in prayer. The apostles, on the other hand, failed to persevere in prayer that night. As a result, their courage weakened when the hour of test arrived. (Matt. 26:40, 41, 43, 45, 56) When we face trials, we will remain faithful only if we follow Jesus’ example and “pray continually.” What can we pray for?
6. How will faith help us to remain at peace?
6 We can pray for Jehovah to “give us more faith.” (Luke 17:5; John 14:1) We need faith because Satan will test all who follow Jesus. (Luke 22:31) How will faith help us to remain at peace even when we must deal with one challenge after another? When we have done all that we reasonably can to deal with a trial, faith will move us to leave the matter with Jehovah. Because we trust that he can handle matters better than we ever could, we have peace of mind and heart.—1 Pet. 5:6, 7.
7. What did you learn from Robert’s comments?
7 Prayer helps us to maintain our inner peace no matter what trials we face. Consider the example of Robert, a faithful elder who is now in his 80’s. He says: “The counsel at Philippians 4:6, 7 has helped me to cope with many trials in my life. I have had to deal with financial problems. And I temporarily lost my privilege of serving as an elder.” What has helped Robert to maintain inner peace? “I pray as soon as I start to feel anxious,” he says. “I believe that the more frequently and intensely I pray, the more peaceful I feel.”
JESUS ZEALOUSLY PREACHED
8. As stated at John 8:29, what is another reason why Jesus had inner peace?
8 Read John 8:29. Even while being persecuted, Jesus had inner peace because he knew that he was making his Father happy. He remained obedient when it was difficult for him to do so. He loved his Father and built his whole life around serving Jehovah. Before he came to earth, he was God’s “master worker.” (Prov. 8:30) And while on earth, he zealously taught others about his Father. (Matt. 6:9; John 5:17) That work brought Jesus great joy.—John 4:34-36.
9. How can being occupied in the preaching work help us to maintain our inner peace?
9 We can imitate Jesus by obeying Jehovah and “always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58) When we are “intensely occupied” in the preaching work, we are better able to put our troubles into perspective. (Acts 18:5) For example, those we meet in our ministry often face worse problems than we do. Yet, when they learn to love Jehovah and apply his counsel, their lives improve and they become happier. Each time we see that happen, we feel more confident that Jehovah will care for us. And that conviction helps us to retain our inner peace. A sister who has struggled all her life with depression and deep feelings of worthlessness found this to be true. “When I am busy in the ministry,” she says, “I feel more emotionally stable and happy. I think it is because when I am in the field service, I feel closest to Jehovah.”
10. What did you learn from Brenda’s comments?
10 Consider also the example of a sister named Brenda. Both she and her daughter are afflicted with multiple sclerosis. Brenda is confined to a wheelchair and has limited energy. She preaches from door to door when she can, but she witnesses primarily by writing letters. She says: “Once I mentally and emotionally accepted that my condition is not reversible in this system, I felt free to focus on my ministry. Witnessing, in fact, takes my attention away from my anxieties. It forces me to concentrate on helping those I contact in our congregation’s territory. And it constantly reminds me of the hope I have for the future.”
JESUS ACCEPTED HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS
11-13. (a) How did the apostles and others prove to be real friends to Jesus? (b) What effect did Jesus’ friends have on him?
11 Throughout Jesus’ challenging ministry, the faithful apostles proved to be real friends to Jesus. They were living examples of the proverb that says: “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24) Jesus valued such friends. During his ministry, none of his fleshly brothers put faith in him. (John 7:3-5) At one point, his relatives even thought that he had gone mad. (Mark 3:21) By contrast, Jesus could say to the faithful apostles on the night before his death: “You are the ones who have stuck with me in my trials.”—Luke 22:28.
12 The apostles occasionally disappointed Jesus, but he looked past their faults and saw that they had faith in him. (Matt. 26:40; Mark 10:13, 14; John 6:66-69) On the last night with them before he was executed, Jesus said to these loyal men: “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you all the things I have heard from my Father.” (John 15:15) Without a doubt, Jesus’ friends were a great source of encouragement to him. The help they gave him in his ministry made Jesus’ heart overflow with joy.—Luke 10:17, 21.
13 In addition to the apostles, Jesus had other friends, men and women, who assisted him in the preaching work and in other practical ways. Some opened their homes to him so that he had somewhere to eat a meal. (Luke 10:38-42; John 12:1, 2) Others traveled with him and shared their belongings with him. (Luke 8:3) Jesus had good friends because he was a good friend to them. He did good things for them and was reasonable in what he expected from them. Jesus was perfect, but he appreciated the support his imperfect friends gave him. And they, no doubt, helped him retain his inner peace.
14-15. How can we make good friends, and how can they help us?
14 Good friends will help us to stay loyal to Jehovah. And the best way to make good friends is to be a good friend. (Matt. 7:12) For example, the Bible encourages us to expend ourselves in behalf of others, especially those who are “in need.” (Eph. 4:28) Can you think of someone in your congregation whom you can help? Can you do the shopping for a housebound publisher? Can you provide a meal for a family who is struggling financially? If you know how to use the jw.org® website and JW Library® app, could you help others in your congregation to access the treasures found there? When we are absorbed in helping others, we are more likely to be happy.—Acts 20:35.
15 The friends we make will support us when we face trials, helping us to maintain our inner peace. Just as Elihu listened when Job spoke about his trials, our friends help us by patiently listening as we put our concerns into words. (Job 32:4) We should not expect our friends to make decisions for us, but we are wise if we listen to their Bible-based advice. (Prov. 15:22) And just as King David humbly accepted the help of his friends, we should not be too proud to accept the help our friends offer when we are in need. (2 Sam. 17:27-29) Really, such good friends are a gift from Jehovah.—Jas. 1:17.
HOW TO REMAIN AT PEACE
16. According to Philippians 4:6, 7, what is the only way that we can gain peace? Explain.
16 Read Philippians 4:6, 7. Why does Jehovah tell us that we can receive the peace that he gives “by means of Christ Jesus”? Because we can gain lasting peace in our thinking and feelings only if we understand and have faith in the role that Jesus fulfills. For example, by means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, all of our sins can be forgiven. (1 John 2:12) What relief that thought brings to us! As King of God’s Kingdom, Jesus will undo any damage Satan and his system may inflict on us. (Isa. 65:17; 1 John 3:8; Rev. 21:3, 4) What hope that inspires in us! And even though Jesus has given us a challenging assignment, he is with us, supporting us through the last days of this system. (Matt. 28:19, 20) What courage that builds in us! Relief, hope, and courage—these are some of the solid foundation stones on which our peace of mind is built.
17. (a) How can a Christian retain inner peace? (b) As promised at John 16:33, what will we be able to do?
17 How, then, can you retain your peace of mind when you are shaken by severe trials? You can do so by imitating the things Jesus did. First, pray and persist in prayer. Second, obey Jehovah and preach zealously even when it is difficult to do so. And third, look to your friends to help you through trials. Then the peace of God will guard your mind and heart. And like Jesus, you will conquer any trial.—Read John 16:33.
SONG 41 Please Hear My Prayer
a All of us must deal with problems that could rob us of peace. This article discusses three things that Jesus did and that we can do to remain at peace, even when we are enduring severe trials.