1- (Jan 2017) Challenges + Trials=Opportunity

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Considering the new year often draws us into considering the year past. Perhaps we’ll think about things we are proud of, or wish we hadn’t gotten involved in. Maybe we’ll decide to correct a deficiency we see in our life, or go deeper into something good we started in 2016. Maybe fear will grip us; there is always some trepidation in considering the future, primarily because of our lack of control over it. As Christians our governing motivation should be to seek and do the will of God. This can include a renewed commitment to prayer or study of the Word.

Considering where we’ve been and what we’ve done can posture us for more effective service and a deeper sense of the peace and power of God.

In whatever way you choose to approach the new year (even if you ignore it!), there are three truths that will give you a little firmer foundation upon which to stand as 2017 bears down on us:

God and His Word have not changed. Hebrews 4:12-13 reassures us of the ability of the Word of God to penetrate deep into our very soul. 1 Peter 1:23 reminds us of the agency of the Word in birthing us anew to spiritual life. Be a student, celebrator, and doer of the Scriptures. They’ll build your confidence.

God’s call to us to plant seed for His Kingdom has not changed. There need be no uncertainty about His general direction for our lives- He calls us to be servants of His; seed planters who pray and cultivate as the Master brings about a harvest of fruit for the Kingdom (Matthew 9:37, 38; 13:3-23). He plans to use you to show others Jesus- make that your intentional purpose each day.

Our hope and the optimism it brings are based on God’s plans, not ours. 1 Peter 1:3-9 reminds us that a loving God oversees our lives each day. We may face trials, but they refine and shape our faith. We have not physically seen Jesus, but that’s not necessary to love Him and be filled with His joy (John 15:8-11). Don’t let fear drive your life. Learn to pass your worries straight to God. His solutions and way forward is so much better than any plan we can make on our own.

So let the new year come, with whatever it may bring! Its challenges are not bigger than God, its trials will make us more complete and mature in Christ, and opportunity to serve the King will be the result of it all!