New Year, New Ears

By Not Known

A happy belated 2015 with greetings that are ever new.  To many of us, the new year means making new resolutions.  As we take stock of 2014 that has passed, we would  resolve to begin the New Year by initiating fresh inroads into the improvement of the various areas of our lives.  
Often we make resolutions that would centre on enhancing our own happiness.  This however can turn out for us to be a wild-goose chase even though the search for happiness has always been the perennial human quest ever since our first parents were evicted out of Eden.  There is simply no scriptural basis for us who call ourselves Christians to make happiness our sole pursuit in life.  
Rather, our Lord’s injunction to ‘seek first His kingdom and His righteousness’ (Mt 6: 33a) should be the locus from which any of our attempts at major life-transforming New Year resolutions originate.  Happiness would come then as one of the ‘all these things that will be given to you as well’ (Mt 6:33b) that God promised us when our life priority is correct and our hearts are in the right place.
This Christ-centred locus is especially vital in counteracting the often subtly silent influences of materialism, hedonism, egotism, relativism and the like, upon the Christian mind.  It will also protect us against these pseudo-Christian worldviews that overpower our hearts and minds, through the mass media.
The apostle Paul had predicted that in the last days, people would be ‘lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God’ (2 Tim 3:4).  Indeed, in a time and age like ours, that constant warning in Proverbs 4:23 for us to guard our hearts above all else, can only be ignored or neglected at our own peril.
How do we know what to do in order to ‘seek first His kingdom and His righteousness’?  A way to start is to read the word of God, not only to understand it intellectually but to go a step further by obeying it so as to allow God to transform our lives in all that we do.  
It is a very common and subtle temptation for us to substitute knowledge for obedience.  James warns us: ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.’ (Jas 1:22).  Each time we disobey God’s truth, our spiritual senses will become increasingly dull until they are finally dead.  We are none godlier just because we possess a cold, barren awareness of God’s word or a clear intellectual perception of His truths.  We know everything we need to know as a Christian but find ourselves unable to go beyond the moral standards of a pagan in our daily habits of life.  We need ‘new ears’ and what better time to do it by asking God now, so that we can make a new start by listening to God and obeying Him.  
Wishing you a blessed Christ-centred New Year with ‘new ears’.  It’s better late than never.



Joseph Teng