by Steven Chan
As we begin the New Year of 2015, we are thankful to God for all the blessings He gave to us during the past year, and we look forward eagerly to accomplishing more things in the New Year. It will be good if we can include making every effort for daily renewal of our inward man in our lives. Let’s consider what the Bible says in 2 Cor 4:16-5:1:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
- The possibility of losing heart is real. Losing our heart means no longer having the keen interest, enthusiasm and desire springing from our heart to do the will of God.
That’s why the Bible encourages us to be assembled together so that we can be encouraged by one another to further love and good works (Heb 10:24-25; 3:12-13). We need the help of every brother and sister, to help us keep on keeping on, doing the will of God ( I Cor 12:24-27; I Pet 4:10-11).
The Bible tells us of the value of working closely together with one another, in Eccl 4:9-12: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Let us make every effort to stay close to one another in the body of Christ as we seek a closer walk with God, so that we may not grow weary or lose heart.
- The reality is that our outward man is perishing. There’s no way we can stop ourselves from aging or eventually leaving behind our earthly house/tent/body.
So, we should not spend all our energies, money and effort exclusively or predominantly on the physical aspects of our lives. The Bible reminds us to have the proper perspective towards our life on earth and to learn to be content (when is it enough?) in 1 Tim 6:6-8: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” The art of learning to be content is of great importance. While some seek to be godly, they have not devoted time to bear fruit unto God because they are not contented with what they already possess in their lives and therefore continue to seek after earthly wealth/gains, ignoring the exhortation of the Bible in 1 Tim 6:9-10: “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Perhaps, some of us should ask ourselves, why we are not able to attend the regular assemblies of the church. Is it possible that we are overly committed to the pursuit of earthly wealth and have failed to learn to be contented?
The inability to be contented with what we have is a reflection of our lack of faith and trust in God’s promise and ability to provide for us as stated in Heb 13:5-6: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
- We need to work on the daily renewal of our inward man and keep seeking the things that are above (Col 3:1-4).
It is our inward man that will spend eternity in either heaven or hell – as illustrated by the account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). So, unless we take care of our inward man, we may drift away from the hope of heaven as warned by the Bible in Heb 2:1: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”
Our inner man will be transformed, strengthened, and renewed when we have our sins washed away and we continually behold the glory of God as revealed in His Word as outlined in the following scriptures:-
- Rom 12:1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
- 2 Cor 3:18: “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” Titus 3:5: “according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”
- Col 3:10: “and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,”
- Eph 4:23-24: “be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
- Our earthly afflictions are temporal and are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory if we do not become weary or lose heart in doing the will of God. Let’s consider what the Bible says about our earthly challenges:-
- Matt 5:11-12: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.”
- Acts 5:41-42: “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (I Pet 4:13)
- Rom 5:3-5: “we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (James 1:2)
- 1 Cor 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Let’s resolve to do God’s will and to live so as to please Him in all that we do (Matt 7:21; 2 Cor 5:9-11)
- At the end of life’s journey we have the hope in God’s promise of a home prepared by Him for us in heaven. Let’s consider the assurances in the Bible:-
- John 14:1-4: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
- 2 Cor 5:1: “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
- 1 Peter 1:3-6: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials”
- Rev 21:4: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Our prayer for each one of our fellow brethren in the New Year is the same as that which the Lord told Moses to say to His people in Num 6:24-26:
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”