The formula for peace and joy

Hope brings peace and joy. The basis is faith. How this all works? Here is a manual on how to achieve happiness and how to stay happy from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15: 13). This was the Bible text the Chief Apostle used on 13 December 2020 in a divine service he conducted in the Church administrative offices in Zurich in Switzerland for the District Church Berlin-Brandenburg and the countries it serves.

What Apostle Paul says here is more than a nice wish, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider emphasised: “This is divine reality. God wants to fill us with hope. He wants to give us joy and peace in believing.” In order to achieve this God first strengthens our belief through the Spirit-inspired sermon. “This is where it all begins.”

Strengthening belief

“What kind of belief is this? First of all, it is the belief in Jesus Christ,” in the incarnation of the Son of God. “This is not a symbolic representation, it is reality.” Then comes belief in the return of Christ. “That is not a symbol. It is a divine reality.” And, finally, it is the belief in the ultimate salvation of the soul. “This will take place. When? How? No idea! But we trust in God. He said it and He will do it.”

And why does our faith have to be strengthened, the Chief Apostle asked. “Because it is under attack. It does not correspond to what is visible, what can be experienced. Our reason resists this faith. That is why God has to constantly strengthen our belief and tell us: ‘But that’s the way it is.’”

Liberated from fear

“Hope is a daughter of faith,” the Chief Apostle stressed. This hope is “the expectation of salvation, combined with firm trust: this is how it will happen.” And those who have this strong trust have peace in their hearts. They do not need to fear the future. They know what is going to happen.”

This hope is not to merely console us: “The idea is not to make us think about the future and forget the present.” On the contrary, the Chief Apostle said, “This hope also brings joy in the present.”

Keeping our eyes fixed on the future

“I’m afraid that this is the great misery in the world today: people have lost all hope in salvation and everyone is so focused on the present. … And if the present is unpleasant and cannot be explained, it creates dissatisfaction and unrest.” And then you begin to look for someone to blame. This is so typically human. The discontentment increases and all kinds of disputes arise.

Hope allows us to avoid this trap. “No matter what the present time is like, I am preparing myself for the return of the Lord. I want to continue to follow the Lord, and continue to love God and my neighbour.”

Experiencing the art of giving

“Whoever has this hope is also able to reach out and share and do without something, and render a service,” the Chief Apostle explained. “Where this hope does not exist, every task is seen as being too much, and every effort, every gift is seen as an investment. What do I get in return? What do I get out of it? How will I be compensated?”

“However, whoever has this hope—God has already given me so much and will give me even more—can already experience this today, right now, even if the present time is not so pleasant: it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

This generosity is fuelled by another hope: “We hope in God’s grace. I will never be perfect like Jesus Christ, but if I always strive to do His will, if I develop inwardly as I follow Him, He will grant me grace. And this hope is so soothing that it creates peace and joy.”

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service