Thursday, December 29, 2011

This New Year Keep Smiling

As we face yet another new year we also face a lot of uncertainty. Young people often only consider their immediate environment failing to understand that the local is often a victim of the global. As we get older we take more notice of what is going on in the world and how fragile everything seems. The economy is not great and appears ready to tank at any hint of a crisis. The Arab states continue to be a powder keg, with the relationship between Israel and Iran always on the front burner. We add to that the uncertainty of the new leader in North Korea and we have have a lot of unstable regions in the world. Then we have the various famines, crop failures, wacky weather, the rising cost of food and we realize that nothing is certain for 2012. Well, at least if you are not a follower of Jesus Christ it is not certain.

That's the thing for Christians to keep in mind, we don't belong to this place or receive our peace from it. Whether you are concerned about things in your school, community or the global situation there is no reason for us to feel any fear or trepidation about our future. In fact that should be the hall mark of any Christian, the peace we have in any and all situations. Ours should be a path of certainty as we realize that joy is ours in everything. The psalmist wrote:

But may the righteous be glad
and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful. (Psalm 69:3)

Look at the vocabulary here: be glad, rejoice, be happy, be joyful. Why? Because of who our God is, because of his promises, because of what he has done in the past and because of what he promises for the future. It should be enough for us to consider the eternity Jesus has prepared for us to see joy poring out of us. This is to God's glory. Forget about the health benefits of a cheerful and thankful heart that the doctors talk about, it is enough that we bring glory to God through these things. Too many of us have witnessed the ill effects of a mean tempered person who claims Jesus as lord. I really don't think they would know Jesus to trip over him. In Proverbs we read:

A happy heart makes the face cheerful. (Proverbs 15:13)

How can we ignore the great theme of all the writers of the New Testament:

Be joyful always. (1 Thess. 5:16)

Joy is ours because Jesus Christ is ours and that is all that matters to us. If we trust him then we have joy but if we do not trust him we do not possess his peace which allows for joy. Most of the time what troubles us are things we have no control over so it is always best to trust the one who has control over everything.

I am not one who sticks my head in the sand, I do not ignore problems hoping they go away, but neither do I allow those problems to so block my vision that I can no longer see Jesus. Our Father is in the rescuing business and he loves to look after his children. I am very aware of what is going on in the world but I am more aware of what is going on in my relationship with God. I have a purpose and a function in the Kingdom and despite what it looks like in the world I will be faith to my duties. I know I have a duty to reveal God's glory in every situation. I refuse to rob him of this glory by failing to be joyful in my relationship with Jesus. It gives me great joy that, despite the changing times in the world, our God never changes. I leave you with this blessing:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Keep smiling!

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1 comment:

Philip said...

Thank you Paul, I'm having a gloomy day, stuck in the office, bad diet today and all. And your post reminded me of where my joy lies - in Christ alone. I read some great stuff out of JI Packer's "Knowing God" today: we're known by the Creator of the universe! And not only known but befriended. And not only befriended but loved!!! Thanks for the reminder.