Happy 2016!

Monday, 04 January 2016 14:04
It is hard to believe that we are already in 2016. My guess is that this thought makes some of you like a kid in a candy store as you just say, “bring it on!”, and others of you are maybe saying, “Stop the world  want to get off!” 

Regardless of how you feel, we are here and God gives us another chance to live for Him. Yesterday, at our Sunday service, we spent time reflecting on a single verse to help us keep perspective of the year that lies ahead.

Proverbs 27:1 says, “Don’t boast about tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day might bring.”

Let’s first consider what this verse is not saying.

1.       It is not saying that we should give up on life.

2.       It is not saying that we should not plan – as people who have faith in God, planning is a proper expression of the reality of God's Sovereignty. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

3.       It does not say “Live life as passive fatalists.” Many seem adopt that attitude with the attitude of “Whatever happens happens!” I believe this is a call to embrace life! So more than saying give up on life is, make your days count.

Surely the curse of our day is the apathy of the church about eternity. John Piper, in his book Bloodlines says some sobering words about apathy that we would do well to take to heart. He says,

"Apathy is passionless living. It is sitting in front of the television night after night and living your life from one moment of entertainment to the next. It is the inability to be shocked into action by the steady-state lostness and suffering of the world. It is the emptiness that comes from thinking of godliness as the avoidance of doing bad things instead of the aggressive pursuit of doing good things.

"If that were God’s intention for the godliness of his people, why would Paul say, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12)? People who stay at home and watch clean videos don’t get persecuted. Godliness must mean something more pub­lic, more aggressively good.

"In fact, the aim of the gospel is the creation of people who are pas­sionate for doing good rather than settling for the passionless avoidance of evil. “[Christ] gave himself for us . . . to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). The gospel produces people who are created for good works (Eph. 2:10), and have a reputation for good works (1 Tim. 5:10), and are rich in good works (1 Tim. 6:18), and present a model of good works (Titus 2:7), and devote themselves to good works (Titus 3:8, 14), and stir each other up to good works (Heb. 10:24).

"And when they set about them, the word they hear from God is, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). The gospel does not make us lazy. It makes us fervent. The Greek for fer­vent signifies boiling. The gospel opens our eyes to the eternal significance of things. Nothing is merely ordinary anymore."

So then, what is this verse saying to us?

1.       Look beyond tomorrow – set your eyes on eternity. The truth is, if tomorrow is the best that you can boast in i.e. your accomplishments, your attainments, your abilities, and your astuteness, then you have nothing to boast in. This is because tomorrow will never be as glorious as eternity with our Father in heaven.

2.       Look to the One who has made tomorrow. This verse reminds us that God is the sovereign God and I am not. In actual fact, this verse is a sobering reminder of my frail humanity because I do not even know what tomorrow will bring! But I know who does!

3.       Live for the One who gives hope for tomorrow. This is why Paul said in Galatians 6:14, “If I am going to boast, let it be in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ…” I really have nothing else to boast in. It is only in the finished work of Christ on the cross that I find purpose to live. Because of Christ we get to embrace life fully in ways we could never have done on our own.

4.       Don’t make tomorrow the end of everything. James challenged this when he said, “do not say tomorrow I will do this or that, but rather say, if it is the Lord’s will!”  Tomorrow doesn’t give us our identity, God does!

5.       Be ready for surprises. There may be times through the year when things don’t turn out as we planned. If God is Sovereign and has given us a new day, then perhaps He has plans for us through the surprises that He gives us – plans that will result in Him being glorified and not us.

Our prayer is that this Scripture will actually lead us to fully embrace life with the purposes of God in our lives. Oh to be a people who have positioned ourselves to embrace the future with the goal of glorifying Jesus in everything, a people declaring, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come and Your will be done!”, as a people who are not ashamed and not afraid because we know the promise of Jesus, “I will be with you always to the very end of the age.”