Friday 12 February 2021

Chinese New Year 2021 Reflections (2/2)

During this season, it's very common to hear greetings like 万事如意 (all things go according to your desires) and 心想事成 (whatever you wish in your heart will be realised). 

So some Christians have tried to justify these two greetings by referring to the second half of Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."

However, by looking at the other common Chinese New Year greetings, we soon discover what these desires and wishes might be:
恭喜发财 (hope you will strike it rich)
黄金满堂 (your rooms will be filled with gold)
财源广进 (wealth and success flowing in)
大吉大利 (great fortune and success)
年年有余 (overflowing abundance every year)

Could wealth, success and prosperity be the desires that God wants to fulfil? So all we need to do is just spend some time in prayer and maybe read the Bible, and He would grant us whatever we wish for? Wouldn't that then make God into a genie in a lamp?!

I've written before about how Psalm 37:4 is more than just a transactional relationship with God, but that in fact when we truly enjoy spending time with Him then He will transform us so our desires are aligned with His will. And that is when He would gladly fulfil our desires.

Today, I received another insight into this verse. Could it be that actually the innermost desires of our heart were already programmed into us at creation by God? Perhaps one of the deepest desires that we all have even from the womb is to be known and loved. Another could be to discover and achieve our purpose in life.

Yet we have been deceived into thinking that wealth, fame, success and power are what we really want. Just like how the devil tried to tempt Jesus into believing that these things were better than worshipping God (cf. Matthew 4:1-11).

So the only way we can be fulfilled is when we spend time with God to find out what these desires are and have them met by Him. Maybe that's what Psalm 37:4 really means.

So instead of worshipping the golden calf (cf. Exodus 32) like the world does in the hope of getting our selfish desires granted, in this Year of the Ox, let us worship the One who willingly bore our yoke. Only then can the innermost desires of our hearts be restored, and we'll find true contentment in Him.

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