Happy New Year, my friend!
And a warm welcome to you who are followers of Christ and are single. Especially if you just discovered my weekly blog.
May the riches, joy, peace, love, healing, purity, glory, and hope of Christ be yours in an amazing abundance this glorious new year, 2017.
Way last week, as we raced from Christmas toward the new year, I knew what I was going to write about for today: Hope.
From last November’s election even through today, and every year at this time, hopes run high. Everywhere, many are talking about what they hope will happen: “I hope I lose weight this year, I’m hitting the gym tomorrow…” “I hope I meet the right person this year, I really want to get married soon…” “I hope the new president-elect will do well because I didn’t/I did vote for him!”
Hope is a good thing.
It has been said that we can survive 40 days without food, 3 days without water, and 8 minutes without air, but not one second without hope.
We all need hope, not just to pass the time of monotonous daily living, but to exist.
But hope is dependent upon the ability of the person you’re hoping in to fulfill the promise.
If you say you hope to lose a lot of weight, but you don’t change your eating habits, exercise, or drink enough good water, you may correctly assume that you will not be losing much weight this year. If you make those needed changes and stay consistent, you will probably find yourself much closer to losing the weight you want to lose by this time next year.
If your date has no skills, no money, and no job (so what are you doing with them, anyway?) and he or she promises to buy you a mansion, you may rightfully doubt their ability to provide. If your date has a graduate degree and a long term, seven-figure income to go along with it, you may feel more assured about their ability to fulfill their promise.
If your god is weak, capricious, uncaring, hateful, illogical, unable and unwilling to give you what you think you need and want, you will probably not trust him too much. He may look like your human father, a lousy teacher who mistreated you, an uncle who molested you, or some other abusive, authority figure, but you will deem him unworthy of your loyalty and trust. He may as well be one of those Greek or Roman demigods you read about in ancient history and write him off. You will sooner or later move on to bigger and better gods you think will deliver.
And there is no shortage of substitutes who are willing to sweep into your life and promise to deliver you whatever you want.
If your God is all-powerful, purposeful, sovereign, loving, righteous and just (as opposed to “fair”), reasonable, able and willing to give you what you need but not necessarily what you want because it’s less than best for you, you may have yourself a real God. He is a more balanced, Biblical deity who is transcendent, awe-inspiring, and trustworthy. Such a transcendent God is One Who can be revered, honored, and obeyed.
So, my single Christian friend… who—or what—are you basing your hope in this year?
Now is a good time to take inventory of your life and figure out who really is God in your life.
Look at your trails of money, emotional affections, and time. Where are most of these going? That will be a good indication of who is actually ruling your life right now. “Where your treasure is, there your heart is also,” said Jesus in Matthew 6:21. Your treasure is where you have been putting your hope.
Now is also a good time to remember that these false gods cannot stand and cannot deliver. There is no hope in a manmade deity who does not have the power to hear you, heal you, give you what you need, grant you wisdom to discern what you don’t need, and train you in developing healthy coping skills to deal with everything else. False hopes based on false gods that cannot deliver are doomed to fall and fail.
Do you know that the Bible has something to say about false hope based on false premises?
Ephesians 5:6 warns, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
1 Timothy 6:17 tells us, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
Jeremiah 17:5 states, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord.’”
Psalm 115:3-8 declares
But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see;
They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell;
They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have feet, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat.
Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.
In contrast, the Bible speaks of God as Himself being the actual source of our hope: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).”
Romans 12:12 tells us that we are to be “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer” as we go through life undergoing any trial, suffering or persecution.
Single Christian, you have a fresh, crisp, brand new year in front of you.
Don’t waste it relying on the same old sorry idols (because that is what a false god is) that couldn’t help you much last year.
Use your year wisely from the start, relying on the one true God Who can actually make good on His promises. The God Who loves you more than anyone has ever loved you. The God Who hears you and responds to you when you pray. The God Who convicts you of sin so that you can identify it and Who empowers you to remove it from your life. The God Who provides you everything you need and plants in you His desires. The God Who fills you with hope and joy and righteousness.
Yes, that God.
Ask Him to cleanse and heal you so that you can begin to trust and hope in Him for what only He can do. And based on His history, He can and wants to do some seriously amazing things. Watch and see!
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All scripture used today came from the NASB translation.