As 2018 was ushered in, there were many wishes for the blessings of health, happiness and prosperity for the new year. One person said “I don’t want much. Just want the person reading this to be healthy, happy and blessed” Others said:
“I hope that 2018 brings calm, happiness, and peace”
“2018 – I just want to be happy”
“May all your dreams come true in 2018”
Here’s something I saw more than once: “Wishing you 12 months of success, 52 weeks of laughter, 365 days of fun, 8760 hours of joy, 525600 minutes of good luck and 31536000 seconds of happiness.”
Everyone wishing blessings upon others. But I began to ponder if these blessings are biblical?
We look at someone who has a lot of possessions or is successful and think that they are blessed so that’s what we want, too. We wish for things that seem like they would make us feel better like more money, a better job, a resolution to a problem, less stress and world peace. But God’s word defines blessings differently.
The Beatitudes of Matthew 5 and Luke 6 describe the “happy” state of those who find their purpose and fulfillment in God. Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek… Umm. Not what we tend to think of when we think of happiness.
Job 5:17 declares Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
Psalm 1:1-3 states, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
Not really the stuff of happiness as defined by the world, is it?
Romans 4:6-8 ties happy blessings to those whose sins are forgiven, for they know the relationship to God has been restored. So even David himself speaks regarding the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the one against whom the Lord will never count sin.”
Not usually thinking about sin forgiveness and happiness at the same time, huh?
To be perfectly honest, I am happy to get 2017 behind me. It’s easy to remember the hurts and heartaches, the anguish and despair, the grief and sadness, the burdens and worries of 2017 and hope for 2018 to be easier, trouble-free, painless and to be prosperous and full of good things. That’s what my flesh wants, and it can find plenty of company.
But just because it’s a new year doesn’t necessarily mean it will be any different or easier. I’ve never seen where God calls us to the easy life, though. He calls us to obedience. To count trials as joy. To glorify Him.
So as I look back on my 2017, I pray that I have faithfully obeyed the voice of the Lord my God, being careful to do all His commandments (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)
And as I look to 2018, if I must endure hardships, suffer despair, sadness, grief, and burdens, let me walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; (Colossians 1:10-11)
And for you, I join John in his prayer that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (3 John 1)
No matter what 2018 brings
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!