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2017-blog-what-are-your-hopes-for-2017

What is your New Year’s dream?

What are your hopes for the New Year?

World peace. Better health. Stay fit. Healthy eating. Weight loss. Regular exercise. Financial security. Debt management. Consistent budgeting. Save more. Quit particular ‘bad’ habits. Begin new disciplines. Get organized. Prioritizing family. Better scheduling. Stop procrastinating. Restored relationships. New job. More happiness. Bigger success. Serve others. Greater giving. Consistent church attendance. Regular Bible reading. Daily prayer.

How would you word it? What would be your answer(s)?

These are significant questions as each of us contemplate a new year. What do we wish for in a new year? What captivates our dreams? Toward what does our minds typically drift? What enchants your day dreams? For what are you thirsty?

This year there are 31,536,000 seconds, or 525,600 minutes, or 8,760 hours, or 365 days. For each person these millions of seconds represent opportunities filled with hopes and dreams. The year is new. The opportunities again seem rich. The impossibilities feel possible again. A glimmer of light in a relatively dark world is back. What are you going to do with your time this year?

Even more significant than the opportunities before you, your answers above reveal something about you. As you put into words what it is for which you hope, those words open the window of your heart. Your words expose your desires. As fundamental worshippers, whatever we desire often morphs into or becomes what we worship.

How to Test Your Desires

The Bible often discusses the necessity of testing ourselves. We are to test what is good and acceptable (Romans 12:1-2), test the spirits to see if they are from God (1 John 4:1-4), test to determine what is excellent (Philippians 1:9-11), test our motives (Psalm 19:12-14), among so many other various tests we might give to evaluate our hearts and behavior. In numerous times and places the children of Israel were disciplined as they were caught away by their desires (or lusts) and failed to worship God (1 Corinthians 10; cf. Psalm 106, especially 106:14). In fact, when Paul described the depth of mankind’s sinfulness, he explained how ultimately mankind exchanges the worship of God for the created thing, something in this world that comes from our lust within us (Romans 1:20-24).

  1. Does what I desire bring God glory? Would God receive the glory if I were to get this? Would God be honored if this were to come to pass? These questions reflect the idea that whatever we do or want in life is to ultimately bring God glory. Bringing God glory means that whatever we do, say, think, or want reflects praise back to God and is consistent with His character. Paul challenged us, “Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31; cf. Isaiah 42:8). Therefore, whatever we want, desire, long for, or crave should also honor the Lord.

 

  1. How much do I desire this? It is not enough to just make sure the object of our desires honors God, we must also question how much we want it. We can actually crave something too much. Although it is fine to desire many things that may bring honor to God, our desire of those things must never be greater than our desire to know and follow God’s will.

    Jesus is our example of how He wanted the Father’s will more than His own throughout His life. Early in His ministry when demonstrating for the disciples how to pray, in relationship to God and His will, Jesus prayed, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Later, near the completion of His earthly ministry in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Although Jesus wanted something good (the cup to pass from Him), He chose to want God’s glory more (not as I will, but as You will). The good thing He desired was in subjection to the greater thing, the glory of God. He submitted Himself even unto death by the cross (Philippians 2:6-8).

Therefore, as we face a new year full of opportunities and hopes, let us bring glory and honor to God in our desires while seeking His will most of all.