Wow! This is the first Monday in 2021. In some ways, 2020 dragged by. But in others, it flew. What a year! It was definitely not an easy one. The thing about it was that it was hard for almost everyone on some levels. Of course it was harder for some. Some were ill. Some lost their businesses that took years to build up. For many of us, it was a year of fear and anxiety. We didn’t know if we or our loved ones were going to get sick…or even die. For those of us who belong to Christ, we grew closer to Him as we learned to trust Him during this time…often in the middle of losses of many types.
We grew in places we didn’t set out to grow. Why? Because underneath all that is happening in the life of each Christian is the plan GOD has to make us holy. The way He goes about it is a bit different for each of us.
These are not the things we get thrilled about as we grow in Christ. But as He looks at us, He looks on us as a proud Father who sees character growth and is joyful for us. He sees the perseverance that developed in us even though we can look at others that we think are much better at it. He sees ways in which our faith grew as we learned to trust His plan for us rather than our desires for what this past year could bring.
The Enemy of our souls loves to remind us of the ways we failed…and often we did. But our heavenly Father sees the way we grew…even in the middle of failure.
And I am sure of this,
that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion
at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
Now we are facing a new year with new challenges.
There will be some amazing and wonderful joys that will be coming. There will also be some deep sorrows. Much of what is ahead will fall somewhere in between. But GOD promises to be with us and provide us with what we need the whole time if we are His children.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
equip you with everything good that you may do his will,
working in us that which is pleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV
Are we alive in Christ? We have talked about this before. As His children, we know that nothing that comes our way will be random or apart from His loving hand…for our good.
What do we need to face the challenges of this year?
We need Jesus. I know. I’m a broken record. We need His forgiveness. We need the power and enablement of the Holy Spirit, His gift given to us after He returned to heaven. We need His Word to teach us truth and remind us what is true as we walk through this new year. We also need a local Body of Christians that we find in a local church. This is where we can worship, find community and encouragement and a place to encourage others and reach out in mission to others. This is where there are others both more mature as Christians than we are and less mature for us to encourage and teach and pray for. There is a place for online communities, but it is not supposed to replace the church.