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Hope in the Same old New Year

Another year has past once again. If you have taken a few moments to think back on the year there were some certain notable tragedies and gut wrenching events that took place; including the loss of many notable celebrities. Maybe you have experienced a loss of your own whether it was a family member, dear friend, loss of health, or even your job. Each year as they pass by faster and faster it seems the world is getting worse and worse. It is also easier and easier to be negative and experts of the negative especially in others.

If you are a believer, this is were we have the gift of the Bible and the Holy Spirit. When we are not pressing into the scripture and trusting the work of the Holy Spirit it is then easy to believe lies. Lies that are subtle that seem like truth and may even have be a half truth, but lies none the less. We tend to believe the lies that God is not good, the gospel is not enough, or that God is holding back from me. We say things like, “I know that’s what the bible says, but…” This may seem insensitive to such events or emotions but isn’t this exposure of darkness to light the mercy and grace of God? Certainly! God loves us enough to leave us in the same place and He knows where we will be most satisfied, in Him. The good news, which trumps everything else, is the hope that we have in the Gospel for each day (including today and right now) and for the future.

The gospel permits us or frees us to trust in the Lord and believe to depths of our very being that God is sovereign, that He loves us, and His grace is sufficient. The Gospel is our hope and Christ is our Treasure. He is not a means to another treasure, but is the Treasure. Therefore our hope is not in this world but Christ. Yet most of us will struggle blindly and ignorantly attempting to satisfy (find joy) in things, people, or positions that were not meant to bring the kind of joy that we are seeking. The authority on this matter is Jesus and He said in Matthew 6 on the sermon on the mount:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither month nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Jesus is telling us that we by our very nature we will seek to fulfill our greatest need and desire for joy and satisfaction by “storing up treasures on this earth”. The implication of this text is more than just our stuff or wealth, but also our relationships, jobs, and even church. He continues to tell us that those things can and will eventually be destroyed, stolen, or become “old hat”. So the problem is not the good things or good relationships that the Lord has given us, but it is the condition of our heart. So when Jesus said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” he was getting to our big problem not our external behavior, it’s our heart. Jesus continues with the solution to our greatest problem is that we need the light; which throughout the Old Testament and more specifically in the New Testament is speaking of Jesus. So the solution is the gospel, the light of Jesus Christ. We need Jesus. The Gospel is we get God, Jesus Christ, yet we tend to ignore the light. Pray and pursue the light of Jesus Christ, for He is the one that will reveal and expel darkness from our hearts. Jesus warns us again at the end of this passage, and once again the implications is more than just money, we cannot serve two masters. The scary thing is that we will read such passages this year and totally discount them because we believe that we are ok because externally we look good, i.e. Serving the master of self-righteousness and not really loving and treasuring Jesus Christ. Let us pray for one another this year, that Jesus would become the treasure, joy, hope, and the satisfaction of our hearts.