Well, it’s 2011, and no doubt someone will wish you a “HAPPY” NEW YEAR! Do you know the origin of the word “happy”? It comes from the now-archaic word “hap,” which means “a chance occurrence.” By definition, then, the only way for you to be “HAP-py” during any of the coming 365 days is for the circumstances of your life to randomly arrange themselves in a favorable configuration. Can you say, “Fat chance”? Sure you can.
Given that Satan is pure evil, that he is the “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4), and that “…the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), per-HAPS some mis-HAPS will HAP-pen to you in 2011. Scripture makes it clear that the chaotic, random nature of the fallen world in which we live, wherein the Ultimate Militant is exerting the dominant influence, constantly militates against the will of God coming to pass. The one “conspiracy theory” we know from the Word is true is that Satan and his evil spirit minions are manipulating key people in every country in order to advance every ungodly agenda possible. The truth is that wickedness is entrenched in the systems of this world to such a degree that it is indescribable. Let’s just say that Paradise is definitely lost.
The Devil’s goal is to make humans like pinballs, bouncing them off one “mis-HAP” after another. He is particularly focused on Christians, especially those who know God’s Word and have a desire to live it and share it. In conjunction with his assault on us, Satan has successfully promoted the egregious lie that God is the One who determines everything that HAP-pens. I can’t imagine how sad it makes God feel to see an overwhelming majority of Christians ultimately blaming Him for their problems, especially when He has given us His Word that such is not the case. For example:
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
1 Thessalonians 2:18
For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us.
If you are wondering how anyone can read those verses and think that God is in control of everything and hold Him accountable for tragedy, suffering, etc., it is because they have been taught that Satan can do nothing without God’s permission, that his wicked ways somehow fit into God’s overall plan, etc., etc., ad nauseam. For more on God not being in control of everything, but rather being at war with Satan, CLICK HERE.
The first thing we see from the above verses is that Satan is a “but-head.” Furthermore, he wants our heads full of “but’s,” that is, reasons why we can’t do what God clearly asks us to do. Each time we succumb to one of those “but’s,” we open the door for the enemy to thwart the will of God in our lives.
In both the written Word and the living Word, Jesus Christ, God assures us that He IS LOVE and that He is TOTALLY on our side and doing all He can to help us. He also reveals to us how to avoid becoming a human pinball, and, in contrast, how to be “happy” amidst the minefield that is life as we know it. We can trace this truth in the uses of the Greek word makarios, which appears 50 times in the New Testament, and is (in the KJV) 44 times translated “blessed” (also “happy”-5x’s, “happier”-1x).
What we find is that there are basic principles God gives us, which, if we follow, them enable Him to do for us what He greatly desires to do, which is to BLESS US. He yearns for us to be “blessed” [makarios], which means having “blessings,” and a blessing is defined as something good added to your life. It is significant that the first nine recorded sentences of Jesus’ ministry, in Matthew 5:3-11, each begin with the word “Blessed.” Those who choose to be poor in spirit (recognize their need for God), to mourn (be grieved by their weakness), to be meek (receptive to truth), to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be merciful, to be pure in heart, to be peacemakers, and who are thus persecuted, insulted, and lied about for righteousness’ sake, receive the corresponding benefits listed in each of those verses. And here’s a verse that sums up this truth:
John 13:17 (KJV)
If ye know these things, happy [makarios = blessed] are ye if ye do them.
In 2011, the moment-by-moment linear flow of time will bring to us countless choices, both good and bad, and the choices we make in large part lead to the events that will comprise our lives this year. We must recognize the circumstances Satan is trying to engineer around us, avoid the bad choices with which he thereby tempts us, and do the right thing. Biblically put, that sounds like this:
Galatians 6:9 and 10
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [kairos] we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity [kairos], let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Ephesians 5:15 and 16
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity [kairos], because the days are evil.
The Greek word kairos refers to the individual moments that make up time in general (chronos). More specifically, God uses this wonderful word to refer to critical moments of decision in one’s life. Perhaps the most vivid example of that is in Romans 5:6, where God says, that “…at just the right time [kairos]…,” Jesus died for us. Crucified at 9 am, Jesus no doubt wanted to die at about 9:05. But for six hours he hung in there for you and me, until 3 pm when the Passover Lamb was sacrificed in the Temple across the Kidron Valley from Golgotha, and he took his last breath at that moment. Why? Because Jesus knew that if did his part, God could and would BLESS him with resurrection life, which he could then pass on to all who believe in him.
Each of the 365 days in this coming year will be filled with possible “kairos moments,” that is, opportunities for you and me to do the will of God. Remember that life is linear, and therefore opportunities pass. A kairos moment is better than a Kodak moment, and the Lord Jesus is capturing “on film” each right choice you make for him. So make your priorities the Lord’s priorities, and spend the currency of your life wisely. When he brings out the photo album at the Judgment Seat, the Lord will reward you for each of those right choices.
Think about this: in this new year, each day will begin with a sunrise that follows a night of great darkness. That’s no surprise, but have you ever wondered why God decided to set up “day and night” (Gen. 1:14) like that? There are a number of reasons. First, the Word shows us that it was to showcase THE SUN during the day as a blazing metaphor of THE SON (Ps. 19:4-6, 84:11; Isa. 60:1-3, 19 and 20; Mal. 4:2; Luke 1:78 and 79). What a homonym-ical break for us English speaking folks!
It was also to celestially emblazon the message of redemption across the night sky (Ps. 19:1–6, 50:6, 89:5, 97:6, 148:3) so that men in all ages could know it, particularly those who lived before the Word was first put in writing about 1500 b.c. The true signs of the Zodiac tell of the fall of man, the Redeemer who would come, his suffering and death, his resurrection, and his saving the world as its king. They also tell of his eventual destruction of the Devil, after which all believers will live “happily” ever after.
Another reason for “day and night” was to vividly illustrate the stark contrast between light and darkness that God uses countless times in His Word. Can you think of any other biblical pair of opposites that are so obviously dissimilar? I can’t. Darkness is the absence of light, and it shows us how necessary light is for life. And of course JESUS is, metaphorically, the light of the world, and he will be the Son-light on the new earth (Rev. 21:23).
God’s idea of day and night also gives us a time of rest after each day’s labor (and/or each day’s trauma) and a new beginning each morning. Surely you have often experienced the joy of sleep at least temporarily blotting out the memories of a disgusting day. And certainly you have awakened at least some “mornings after” with renewed hope, vision, and direction.
And finally, the polarity between night and day, darkness and light, going to sleep and awakening, gives us the powerfully reassuring hope that if we fall asleep in death, it will be only a temporary condition of unconsciousness, and one that will end with the Lord Jesus waking us up! In our consciousness, the moment we died will be instantaneously followed by our getting up with new life and seeing him face to face. “Oh, HAPPY day!”
By its English definition, “happiness” is dependent upon things outside of us, but JOY is an inside job, a fruit of the holy spirit that the Lord Jesus has placed within each Christian. He has passed on to you the same JOY that sustained him during his darkest hours.
Hebrews 12:1 and 2
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles [is standing all around], and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
May the joy of the Lord be your strength during this coming year, and may you seize each kairos moment so that God can pour out His richest blessings upon you, and may you pass them on to others in your world.