|Vol. 14 No. 1 January 20121||
Sometimes each of us needs to hear someone say, “It’s gonna be alright.” Whatever disaster, large or small, real or simply perceived, has struck us, we need to hear those words of comfort. From someone who is in panic mode because he may have lost his cellphone, to another who has just been told that she has cancer, each needs someone calm who can sincerely say, “It’s gonna be alright.”
If we tell someone that, we need to believe it ourselves. If I ever tell someone that it’s gonna be alright, I truly believe that to be true. I may not be able to say how it is going to be OK, but I believe that if I say it. How can I say it if I do not know how things will be alright?
As Christians, then, we should be able to say consistently and with conviction, “It’s gonna be alright!” It is God’s promise, not ours. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).
As we begin a new year, we see many ideas on how to make our lives better: exercise more, eat healthier, silent meditation, laugh more, maintain a positive attitude, etc. All of these ideas (and others not mentioned here) are probably really good ideas and may accomplish some good outcomes for our health, so don’t disallow them. In fact, you may see fit to put some of them to good use!
However, in most cases where I have seen a “to do” list for better living, nothing is mentioned about religious and eternal matters. This is usually the result of what we call “political correctness.” Those presenting the material are afraid they might offend someone by mentioning religious matters because there are so many in the world who do take exception to anything spiritual, and so they do not want to hear it. However, let’s talk about some religious matters that can create a more productive life for us and make our day-to-day lives happier and more peaceful. Even those people who take offense at religion may find some good pointers here.
There is so much contention and dissatisfaction around us. Tempers flared and patience was especially short during the holidays, and one did not have to listen very hard to hear some harsh words spoken. What a waste of our tongues! We read in 1 Peter 3:10-11, “He who will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile: let him turn away from evil and do good; let him speak peace and pursue it.” What a wonderful lesson not only for such a busy time as the holidays but for every day of our lives. Do not let situations control you, but take positive control of them. Control your tongue and be blessed for it. Always remember that someday you may be on the other end of the chain. Paul said it this way: “Don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
Not only should we control our tongues, but we must also control our outlook. As always, the Book of Proverbs is good for a word of wisdom and we read in chapter 17:22, “A merry heart is a good medicine but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Oh, sure, it is understood that we will not always be able to go around with a wide smile or a big laugh because there are negative factors in daily living that have an effect on each of us. Yet, we should be able to be positive more frequently than to have a pitiful outlook and a sad countenance. David loved the Lord and left us so much wisdom about that relationship, and he said, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad and my soul rejoices” (Psalm 16:8ff). David’s solution to maintaining a positive mental outlook was to keep the Lord close by and rejoice in the help He gives us.
Like David, Job had something to say about this matter of keeping oneself close to God: “Acquaint yourself with Him and be at peace; thereby good will come to you” (Job 22:21). If you do not know God and what He expects of you, get acquainted with Him through His Holy Word. When you begin to live according to His teachings, you will find peace and good things will come your way. Is there any better promise from any other source? I think not! One will not be given the rewards of service to God on a silver platter that requires you to do nothing. You have to be earnest about serving God as stated in Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” One cannot just sit back and wait to be bombarded by God’s blessings, but he must be industrious about finding out what God wants of him. Jesus said it this way: “If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me for whosoever will save his life shall lose it and whoever will lose his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). Some would say that Jesus promised us blessings for taking up a cross (that is burdens) and why would I do that? Because in following Jesus and His way (in bearing that cross or those burdens), by obedience one will find eternal life.
To enjoy a better 2012: (1) Exercise control and turn from evil to do good, (2) Maintain a happy, positive attitude and (3) Make every effort to stay close to God. This formula will give you a healthier, happier year ahead.