‘For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
Isaiah 57:15, NIV
On this, the first day of 2018, I am delighted to wish all who read Seeds of the Kingdom a very ‘Happy New Year’! These words will be used today by millions of people across the world as they greet their friends and family. BUT, in a very unstable and ever-changing world the words will be said by many as more of a tentative hope than an expected reality.
It seems to me that 2017 was a year when governmental leaders turned their backs on our historic Christian beliefs more than ever, and labelled anyone who dares to question their policies, because of what they believe, as being a dangerous fundamentalist! Ignorance, arrogance and pride have become the fake clothing of those who would lead us further and further away from solid spiritual foundations. There is no ‘fear of God’ in the land and, for most people, what God’s Word says does not feature on any list of important considerations.
This is not the first time that this has happened! The prophets were constantly challenging God’s people when, in pride, they were heading off in a wrong direction. The primary purpose of such a prophet, to his own generation, was to bring correction when the people were going off track and to remind them of foundational truths, such as those contained in our Scripture for today. If we want to know the joy of living day by day in the real presence of the living God, then we have to lay on one side choices and decisions that are rooted in arrogance and pride. There has to be a change of direction – that’s what repentance means.
Humility is not a sign of weakness – it is the outworking of great inner spiritual strength. A humble person is one who loves God’s Word and is not afraid to live a life submitted to God, and His will. Such a life will be fruitful in time and bring great reward in eternity.
God promises to bring revival to the heart of those who are lowly and contrite. Or putting it another way – if we humble ourselves, God will lift us up! (James 4:10). So, whatever others may be believing, saying or doing, let us make 2018 a year when we, as individuals, determine that we are going to humble ourselves, serve the Lord and remain faithful to the beliefs and practices that we know to be true in God’s Word. God’s promise is that He will revive the heart of the contrite – and if that is what God does for you then it will, indeed, be a very happy New Year! And I pray with all my heart that this is what your experience will be in 2018.
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You showed us the ultimate example of humility and were willing to trust Father God – even though it meant suffering and death. Thank You for dying that I might live. Help me in 2018 to live unconditionally for You and not be afraid to live out my faith in a world that is increasingly hostile to the truth of Your Word. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.