Hope for North America’s future on the rise?

Spiritual Outlook with K.A. Zachary

Is hope for our country’s future is on the rise? Honestly, I don¹t have the data to answer the question, but I want to campaign for hope rather than despair. One thing is for certain, the future is all we have, and I want to believe that it is going to be brighter and better.

Now believing that the future is going to be brighter and better is not enough, I must participate in making the changes necessary to bring about a better future for myself and others. Each year many Americans make resolutions for personal change that effect appearance or health, but I would like to encourage you to join me in promoting changes in character. I believe if character changes begin to surface our country will once again thrive with hope for the future. Where do we begin on this path to greatness?

A glimpse into the past will help us gain perspective and vision. In the first century, times were very hard for many in the Christian church. Rome issued decrees and there was little anyone could do to effect change in the decisions and laws that were passed down. The Christians were in need of direction and leadership. Into this environment the Apostle Peter presented the following,  “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby; if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (I Peter 2:1-3).

In light of eternity we are all children in this world. The word “babe” would speak of the infant, the most innocent, harmless, dependent individuals on the planet. Peter wants his reader to realize a character that is innocent, harmless, and dependent on God. We must heed his primary instruction to acquire this nature, beginning with laying aside malice. F. B. Meyer described malice as “anger cooled down into a double distilled malignity, rejoicing in the misfortunes which come to others.”

The guile we are told to discard refers to plans one may make to trick or deceive others for personal benefit. The apostle also says we must dispense with hypocrisy, which Meyer says is the “Judas-act of concealing treachery beneath the garb of friendship.”

In addition, we must do away with envy which is the attitude that seeks to rob the joy of celebration in another¹s good. Meyer says, “malice and envy vent themselves in evil speaking. These things spoil the appetite for God¹s Word.” To do away with these character destroying practices will require daily determination and honest evaluation. Laying aside these practices must be followed by adding practices to our daily routines.

Peter tells his readers to desire the sincere milk of the Word. Growth in character requires focus on a worthy standard which is found in the Holy Bible.

I challenge you to purchase a Bible and begin to read it daily. Start by reading the book of John, which is in the New Testament. You will find the standard and example Peter is recommending in the person of Jesus Christ. If you are faithful to the practice of reading the Bible you will begin to desire to read it even more. The Bible will become your daily nourishment wherein you will begin to see how you may experience a character transformation. Peter concludes with one condition, he says, “ . . .if so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

Did you know that Jesus Christ, the Lord of all grace, wants to forgive you of all your sins, put your past in the past, and give you a bright future here and hereafter? Why not begin this year by praying and telling Christ that you want to know the gracious gift his forgiveness?

K.A. Zachary, is pastor of New Covenant Church, 215 Florida Ave., Denham Springs. Contact Rev. Zachary at 225-664-0858.