Who’s glad 2020 is almost behind us? I’m not sure what 2021 will bring, but hopefully it will not include the apocalyptic adventures of the previous year. If 2021 were a movie, wouldn’t you like to see the movie trailer? One of my favorite scriptures is Revelation 21:5. It says, “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true'” (Revelation 21:5). It’s been hard to know who or what to trust this past year, but the One you can trust is Jesus and His Word says we can “write this down”. That sounds like “mark my word” and “take it to the bank”! The words of the Lord can be trusted because they are true!
Here’s something else you can take to the bank: 2021 won’t be perfect. You might not think that’s very positive. Let me be positive…I’m positive 2021 won’t be perfect. Just because the calendar and clock changes doesn’t mean circumstances will. However, Christ is bigger than our circumstances. We can experience His love, joy, and peace this year even when it isn’t perfect. His love, joy, and peace are designed for adverse situations. He is love (1 John 4:8, 16) and He loved us when we were sinners (Romans 5:8) and His enemies (Romans 5:10). So the love of God isn’t just for when we and our circumstances are perfect. Paul said rejoice (Philippians 4:4) which means remember where your joy originates. Paul was in prison and possibly about to be executed when he spoke about the joy of the Lord. God’s peace goes beyond our understanding (Philippians 4:7). That means in the middle of crazy, you’ll be at peace and know it’s only because of God!
New situations are nice, but more than a change of circumstances, God wants to change you. To become brand new in Christ is to be saved. He makes us new creations when we surrender our lives to Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). A new you that has a Spirit-filled mindset equipped with His love, joy, and peace can weather any circumstance. Those three fruits of the Spirit, along with the others in Galatians 5:22-23 are designed to be used to victoriously battle difficult times. Think about it! Patience is made for when you are impatient. Kindness is devised to combat rudeness. Goodness overcomes evil, faithfulness conquers treachery, gentleness beats cruelty, and self control trumps out of control! When God’s Spirit is filling you, you are equipped to face whatever comes your way with Christ-like confidence. When you can’t change your circumstances, let God change you! The best way to make this New Year better is to let God change your attitude and reactions to that of His Spirit. It’s a New Year, so why not let God bring about a new you in your spirit, soul, and body?
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.