Whew! Most everyone is glad that 2020 is over and we can turn the page and open a new chapter. I would dare say that as December 31 rolled over into January 1 that it was the most prayed over New Year’s Eve in centuries!
As we embark on this new year, we pray that 2021 will bring more stability and healing to all aspects of society. We really don’t know what 2021 will unveil to us, yet we do know the one who holds the days ahead in His hands!
Looking back at 2020, it’s easy to see a lot of negatives that I pray we can turn into positives in 2021. When this past year began, many leaders professed themes such as “Clear Vision” or “Looking forward…” Yet, as the events began to unravel, many started looking around instead of up and asked, “WHERE IS GOD?”
I personally believe God is answering our prayer for clarity, however, He is opening our eyes in ways we didn’t expect. They say hindsight is 2020 and one way I believe God enlightens our sight is by allowing us to look back at 2020 and ask, “What did I learn about myself and about God?”
Let’s be clear on this, God is very much involved in the affairs of mankind and He has a plan. Whether life makes sense to you at the moment or not, God still has a plan and knows what He is doing. So as we approach this new year, what must we do? I want to challenge you to consider these truths.
- God has a PURPOSE for You IN ALL THINGS!
We can get so caught up in what is happening around us, that we miss the fact that God designed you, equipped you and guided your steps for this particular moment in history.
Do you remember the account of Esther recorded in the Scriptures? Somewhere between 473 and 483 BC, the Persian King Xerxes was ruling over the Middle East. He took a Jewish girl named Esther to be his wife. The day came when he was influenced by evil Haman, a man in his court, to exterminate the Jews living in His Kingdom. There was a key component that evidently Xerxes had overlooked. Esther was a Jew. If the Jews were exterminated, then so would be his wife.
Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, encouraged her to go to the King and plead for the Jews. She was confused and scared. Then Mordecai said…Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
That statement made the difference. Esther gathered up her courage and went to the King. In the end, not only did the Jewish people survive, but Haman’s plot was uncovered.
Proverbs 16:9 says, A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.
- You have Purpose in WHO you ARE!
Look at the detail in the opening words of Paul’s letter to a group of Christ-followers living in Corinth during the first century.
1 Corinthians 1: 1-3, Paul, called as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Sosthenes our brother: 2 To the church of God at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord—both their Lord and ours. 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice who Paul states you who follow Christ are. You are CALLED by the WILL OF GOD into the family of God. Don’t miss that. You are also called to be a part of His spiritual family, the church. Paul would make a similar statement to a young preacher named Timothy. He wrote, “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
You are saved by grace and called with a purpose!
Let’s look at one more great truth.
- You have Purpose in WHO you REPRESENT!
Paul went on to write, “I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in him in every way, in all speech and all knowledge. 6 In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you,” (1 Corinthians 1: 4-6).
It is through your calling as you live it out for Christ that others are convinced of the reality of Christ in you. The faith you have in Christ is not to be kept hidden. It is God’s intent that believers influence the world around them by displaying the grace of God we have received.
Dr. Adrian Rogers told the story of a young boy walking his mongrel dog down the street. A fine dressed man walked up and said, “Boy, that’s quite a dog you have there.” The boy replied, “Yes sir, he’s a police dog.” “A police dog?” the man asked. “Why, I’ve never seen a police dog that looked like that?” “No sir,” the boy replied, “He’s in the Secret Service!”
Far too many followers of Jesus are living like they are in God’s secret service! It’s time to come out from the shadows and start letting your light shine! May 2021 be the year that the Good News of Jesus shines from your life and penetrates the darkness in the world around you.