Written by: Tendai Chitsike
Article source: JOY! Magazine 

For those given over to a positive temperament, the new year brings a sense of optimism for the year ahead. Conversely, for those among us on the ‘realistic’ side of things, it tends to produce the opposite reaction, as we think of everything that could possibly go wrong. Thankfully, we do not need to be enslaved to how we ‘feel’ about the new year. Over and above our natural inclinations, God offers us something more. Outwardly, things may get ‘better’ or ‘worse’ for us, but we would be badly mistaken to conclude that a good or bad year is based on outward factors like profit and acclaim alone.

We need a biblical perspective
In describing the poor condition of much of the western world, Economist Brian Fikkert said the following: “We have greater material consumption than any people on the face of the planet throughout all of human history, and yet we are increasingly miserable. We need a biblical understanding of what success is and we need a biblical understanding of how to get there.”

Is God’s kingdom advancing?
Instead of our superficial assessments, we ought to look through the lens of God’s kingdom at work in us. Jesus spoke of a rich farmer who increased in wealth and had pleasant circumstances, but was not rich towards God. Conversely, people like Abraham and Sarah exercised faith for decades as they waited for a son from God. Outwardly, the farmer looked very successful and Abraham and Sarah quite the opposite. The message from Scripture is clear: Take a step away from human measurements as your ultimate guide. Decline the temptation to pursue the wrong treasure. On this different platform, if you can look back at the end of this new year and see God’s kingdom advance in and through you, it would make a good year, regardless of your outward circumstances or emotional temperament.

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Date published: 08/01/2020
Tendai Chitsike is the pastor of Every Nation Church in Grahamstown. Email: engrahamstown@gmail.com

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