The year has started, and I can say things are looking quite brighter than the last. Already there are friends getting engaged; a new career appointments and I have seen movie this year and sense I will be seeing many more. I like the brightness already and I hope the light does not die out.
I gave my first New Year sermon weeks ago. And as is my practise, I always ask to know what the Holy Spirit intends for the flock. So, I was more than glad when very early on the 31st of December I received my daily dose of A Slice of Infinity in my mail titled: A New Year with New Hope written by Ravi Zacharias. As I read through I was happy, it seemed as if he (Ravi) had seen my sermon note (well, since my sermon was already ready by Friday morning,*winks*) and liked what he read. The text for my sermon is quoted above.
As I read the article, I got a better understanding of what the Holy Spirit intended for all. 2016 was dramatic in a lot of ways. I remember sharing on my Facebook page sometime back, how 2016 had surprises in different sectors and for different people. In football for the English premiership fans they saw. Leicester win the League; in Politics, Brexit won the UK memorandum and Hillary Rodham Clinton lost presidential elections, the Allepo crises, and the economic situation of Nigeria, just to mention a few.
It is in spite of these odds and many others that we go into the new year, hoping it to be a happy one. It is with all the heart break that many hope to find love, get a better job, change houses, get healed and maybe even travel outside their countries of residence.
A life without hope is a life without justifiable faith, a life that rests in a hollow, self-aggrandizing reaction to reality.- Ravi Zacharias
Faith is what helps us to hold on when there is nothing in view. We must look beyond the ugly realities and beautiful past, see the promised rainbow. We must have not just the faith in our ability but faith in God who is able to finish that which he begun 2000 years ago.
Faith is a knowledge within the heart beyond the reach of proof – kwoteapp.
Having learnt so many things from the past year, we must take that new level of knowledge, walk in faith, knowing that our hopes would not be disappointed.
The writer of the epistle to the Corinthians shares with us what’s most key to having a better life – a life that embraces, and conquers all odds. He says that Love is the principal thing.
German Philologist, Friedrich Nietzsche says, “Love is not consolation. It is light”. It is light that allows us see through the thick mist that shrouds our reality. It is light that we see in people of a different worldview to ours that helps us take them in, when the world system teaches other wise. But we have this light in us to recognise it in others.
You see, love is our true destiny and we do not find the meaning of life alone, we find it with others. And to have others in our life we must be available to them. Better put, the only way to have a friend in our life, is to first be one.
Let me share this story of a couple a friend related to during a teaching. The husband had shared with his wife his greatest affirmation of his love for her on the wedding night. He said, “for everything you would ever do, I forgive you”. She did not quite get it. Later in the marriage when she would do something or a disagreement would come up, and the husband would say to her, more like a reminder and re-affirmation, “I have already forgiven you”. Here on, it began to dawn on her the meaning of those words on the night they took their marital vows.
You see, I had always thought when we love we must forgive. Yes, because it is not only the right thing to do, it is our duty. However, in light of a new understanding recently received, It is apt to say that forgiveness is impossible simply by the seed of love alone, we need an equal quantity of faith in the mix. To love, we need faith, and faith works by love. That is, the kind of love that protects, that trusts, that hopes and more so, perseveres.
And If we are to have a brighter year, if we are to triumph in 2017, we need to open up, let go of the hurt in exchange for light, so much that we become beacons of hope in our small sectors or units.
Enjoy the rest of the year.
francis Seun IGE
You can read my Lessons from the Road Less Travelled I : Taking a cue from 2016.
francis Oluwaseun IGE is full time minister of the Gospel with The Redeemed Christian Church of God currently serving in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.