As 2014 came upon us I was once again faced with that recurring question that I have to address every New Year; what do I say to people when I meet them for the first time in a new year? Happy New Year? A prosperous new year? A good new year to you? So I ask myself, ‘what do I want for people in 2014?’ And what I want is for God’s blessing to be on them and in their lives. That’s what I want more than anything else. Happiness and prosperity can come and go, but God’s blessing remains regardless of circumstances.
What does it mean to know God’s blessing? It might include being happy, prosperous, successful, contented, and many other things, but the fundamental idea of knowing God’s blessing is to know His favour and forgiveness. Psalm 32: 1-2 reminds us ‘Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit’. When we trust him for our forgiveness, we trust him for everything in our lives. As Psalm 146: 5 says ‘Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God’.
Jesus tells us that we can come to know this God and the blessing of this God through faith in himself. The Apostle Paul urges us to be Grounded in Jesus (Ephesians 3: 17); When kids are told they’re grounded it means they can’t go out because of something wrong they’ve done. But here, being grounded means laying a foundation upon which you build your life, a foundation that is safe and secure. Jesus is that foundation. He lived the life of the saint and died the death of the sinner on our behalf and by faith in him we are absolutely safe and secure in life and death and nothing can take our safety and salvation away from us. That is God’s blessing on us!
And then Paul calls us to be Growing in Christ (Colossians 2: 7). That means we are to build our lives upon his word (the Bible) out of love for him. We learn to take him at his word and trust that he knows the way we are to live. As we do so that also know God’s blessing on us.
And as an encouragement to us to remain grounded and keep growing, Paul tells us to be Grasping the wonderful love of Jesus for us in all its dimensions – its height, depth, length and breadth- because as we grasp that love it will keep us grounded in him and growing in him too (Ephesians 3: 18-19). That is God’s blessing on us.
So my prayer for you all for 2014 is ‘God’s blessing be on you’ in each of these ways.
Your friend and Pastor
Rev Colin MacLeod