The first ingredient is FAITH. Paul started with faith because faith is foundational. Without it, nothing else matters. Consider the rhetorical question presented by Jesus in Matthew 16:26, “What profit is there if you gain the whole world – and lose eternal life?” You may achieve success in every other aspect of life. But without faith, what good is it?
And it isn’t just faith we need; it’s abiding faith. A skyrocket is fun to watch on the 4th of July, but it doesn’t last very long. A candle on the other hand isn’t as spectacular, but it has lasting value. Faith that blazes for a while only to burn out is of no value. To live successfully we need abiding faith that will stand the test of time.
The second ingredient is HOPE. Nothing can drain the life out of a person faster than hopelessness. Many today have lost hope because the things they trusted in have failed. I can think of nothing worse than going through the motions of life with a sense of futility that moans with backslidden Solomon, “All is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecc. 2:11).
But when you have the fundamental ingredient of faith fully functioning in your life, you can “rejoice in hope” (Romans 5:2). That’s because your hope is in God. And you know that no matter what happens God is in control!
The third and final ingredient is LOVE. Paul saved the best for last. If we are really going to have a blessed New Year, we must have the ingredient of love in our lives. The ingredient of love operates on two dimensions: 1) love for God (the great commandment); and, 2) love for others (the second greatest). The one leads to the other. The more you love God, the more you will love those around you.
As you look forward to 2013, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients for a happy New Year. “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Pastor Todd Weston