A NEW YEAR 2022. FAITH OR FEAR: YOU CHOOSE!
By the time you read this Word for the Month, the New Year will have already arrived. Can you believe that Christmas is already behind us? Did the New Year seem to arrive quicker than you expected?
Did you find time to prepare yourself adequately?
HOW WAS 2021 FOR YOU?
Maybe you lost someone last year and are dealing with the consequent grief. Most of us have friends or relatives who have had Covid and so many have been extremely ill, and too many have died. Only one death is too many.
Maybe you even had Covid yourself.
Meanwhile, the other pressures of life and circumstances continue to trouble us.
IT’S NOT JUST COVID THAT MAY YET INFLUENCE OUR LIVES.
We have to recognise that we are all living in troubled and dangerous times. Many will be facing financial pressures in the coming year as the Cost of Living rises. Energy prices are going through the roof. Interest rates have started to increase, making it more expensive to borrow.
On the international stage, Russia and China are both flexing their rhetoric muscles and threatening danger to the West. There are also the threats posed by new weapons and Cyber-attacks. And what about Iran and her nuclear ambitions? Will nations stand by and see it happen? Then there’s Syria; Afghanistan..and more.
Depressing, isn’t it?
There’s lots to be concerned about concerning the reality of the personal, local and world scene. We are concerned because it is uncertain; It makes us fearful and insecure when things around us are unstable. However, the truth is that this world is only transient, passing. We cannot build foundations for our life with the world.
Through God’s kindness, we also have a certainty, a promise, a kingdom that cannot be shaken; a personal security that the world cannot touch. The truth is that this New Life, this Kingdom, is stable, unchanging, and It’s eternal. This is where we are on solid ground when laying foundations for our lives.
Both the world scene and the presence of God’s kingdom are realities in which we live. Are they equal? No, they are not.
We have just celebrated the birth of a Saviour, even Jesus Christ the Lord.
We are not abandoned. God saw our poverty and helplessness and so we have Immanuel – God With Us. Not only that, but we now look towards Eastertime and the great and glorious work of Jesus on the Cross and out through an empty grave. He who is God With Us is also Christ In Us, the hope of glory. (Col 1:27)
Christ is risen from the Dead!
Then comes Ascension Day, and Pentecost. Jesus had said that it was better for him to go away so that the Comforter would come, and a few days later he came. And the Holy Spirit is still with us, with you and with me, today, working in and through us, and working in the world.
How then Should We Face This New Year? What should our attitude look like?
We have a clear choice. We can face 2022 with Fear or with Faith. But what does that mean?
Living with Fear is a deadly position to be in. It makes us vulnerable in every aspect of our lives and circumstances, affecting us in body, soul and spirit.
We live in fear when our focus is on the world; the news, the constant flow of negative circumstances and stories.
We live in faith when our focus is on the word, revelation and work of God. Instead of interpreting God through the world’s eyes, we revaluate the world through the eyes of faith.
Accepting the abundant evidence that this is a fallen world, we don’t deny it or make light of it. Rather, we intercede for the world, and we also take whatever action is possible.
We need to straighten our perception by seeing the fuller picture behind the news headlines. We do that by reading God’s word and trusting what he says and reveals. We look afresh at life and circumstances, armed with the eyes of faith.
Whoever coined the phrase ‘blind faith’ regarding the sort of faith that Christians have was deceived. There is nothing blind about our faith. It is evidence-based. By that I mean that it is grounded in revelation. The promises, the written word, the Holy Spirit- imparted assurance that sits within our ‘knower’, as someone said.
Faith is to do with the unseen realm, which is not a flight of fancy or an opportunity for escapism. Faith rises up when we have grasped the fact that the world is real, but passing; the unseen realm is also real, but eternal. Final authority is to be found in the unseen, the eternal.
The story that helps us to understand the world and how to live within it is not found in children’s books like Anne of Green Gables but in the Bible and fleshed out uniquely by the person of Jesus Christ. In particular, his teaching of the wheat and weeds in Matthew 13:25-30 clarifies our understanding that while wickedness in the world will get ever worse, life will get ever more wonderful in the kingdom of God
Faith is not blind, and it is not passive either.
It’s a confidence that what God says about people, the world, present circumstances and the end of the world as we know it gives us the only worthwhile world view worth having. Instead of looking at the news headlines alone, we look at God’s love and faithfulness.
Instead of being fearful about how badly it’s all going to end, we look to the one who creates the end and who will rule over it; who has described it in ways that bring joy to our hearts and songs to our lips.
Heavenly Father, we need you for every moment of this New Year. Will you walk ahead of us, marking the way for us. Extend your hand of protection over our lives.
Forgive our unbelief and our limited perceptions. Put a new and right spirit within us.
Help us focus on your word and your promises so that we can live correctly balanced lives, living not as children of the darkness do, but as children of the light.
Father, will you fill us to overflowing with faith, hope and love throughout this new and unknown year, and may this be again the Year of the Lord’s favour, as announced by your son, in whose name we ask.
Child of God, known and called by Him through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I bless you in his name even as he blesses you.
May he stretch out his hand of protection over you and over those who you love, in Jesus name. May the blood of Jesus, shed for the remission of sins, cover and cleanse you, shielding you from the enemy of your soul.
May the Father who is so abundantly merciful turn his face towards you and give you peace, today and throughout the coming year.
May His Shalom flood your life, multiplying His favour towards you, and granting you a share in His abundant provision towards you.
May you walk in His presence until you see Him face to face.
If you have found this Word for the Month to be encouraging, would you please share it with others? Thank you. If you have any encouraging words for us in response to this Word, or to previous Words for the Month, please let us know through E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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© Roy Godwin 2022