As we prepare to welcome 2018, should the Lord grant it to us, there are some qualities that can insure we will indeed have a happy new year, if we are willing to make them a part of our character. To illustrate this principle consider the following qualities, each of which stands for one of the letters in our standard year-end greeting, “Happy New Year!”
H — Honesty. The old adage says that honesty is the best policy. For believers it is the only policy. In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord said, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, Yes,’ or ‘No, No,’; anything beyond these is of evil.”
A — Ambition. Ambition can be good or bad, but the believer’s ambition is molded by God’s word. In 1 Th. 4:11-12 Paul told Christians to make it their ambition to lead a quiet life, to attend to their own business, and to work with their hands.
P — Persistence. The human adage is “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” This agrees with scripture. Those who are faithful until death will receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10). If we fight the good fight, keep the faith, and finish the course, we will receive the reward (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
P — Prayer. Most people pray only as a last resort. Believers are exhorted to pray without ceasing (1 Th. 5:17). If we do so, we are promised that the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).
Y — Yearning. To yearn for something means to desire it to such a degree that one would do anything to possess it or to achieve it. The Lord said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”. Hunger and thirst are two of the strongest yearnings that humans have. If we have this kind of yearning for God’s word, we will be blessed, and happy.
E — Enthusiasm. Human enthusiasm is fickle and can fade as quickly as it rises. However, this word actually means “God in us.” If we truly have God in us, we will not lose our enthusiasm for doing His will. In Col. 2:23-24 Paul said, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily (or enthusiastically), as for the Lord, rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
W — Wisdom. Some equate knowledge with wisdom. Unfortunately, there are too many knowledgable people who lack wisdom for this to be true. Wisdom cannot come without knowledge, but knowledge alone makes one arrogant (1 Cor. 8:1). As we learn God’s word, it exhorts us to ask God for wisdom and promises that He will grant it to us (Jas. 1:5). True wisdom is exhibited by obedience, as the Lord said in Mt. 7:24-25. The wise man is the one who hears God’s word and obeys it.
Y — Yoked With Christ. Many adults consider themselves to be free from all constraints, but everyone serves a master. There are only two that we may serve, though. In Rom. 6:16-18 Paul said that we are slaves of whomever we present ourselves to in obedience. These masters are sin or righteousness. When we yoke, or bind, ourselves to Christ in obedience to His word, then we will be blessed. In Mt. 11:28-30 the Lord said His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
E — Eagerness. Some people must be dragged kicking and screaming in protest to every good thing in life. This attitude greatly diminishes the value of that good thing, whatever it may be. However, believers are called to be eager in their pursuit of godliness. The people of the ancient city of Berea were such. They eagerly received the word and examined the scriptures daily (Acts 17:11).
A — Amity. Amity simply means love. We all want it, and we all need it, but in human terms love can be a very fragile thing. This is because human love is based on our emotions. In Christ, however, love is a choice of the will. It is a determination to do what is best and right for all in every circumstance. In Jn. 14:15 the Lord said if we love Him we will keep His commandments. In 1 Jn. 4:17 John said that we love because love is from God.
R — Respect. To respect means to give due regard to others. This doesn’t always happen in human relationships, but it is expected of believers. In Rom. 12:17 Paul exhorted believers to respect what is right in the sight of all men. He was referring to God’s word. If we respect God’s word, we will have no trouble giving respect to others, or receiving it from them.
Each of these qualities will contribute to a truly happy life here on earth. Best of all, these qualities, which are based upon the truth of God’s word, will lead those who practice them to the greatest happiness of all, eternal life.
Happy New Year!