Most -if not all- of people living in the UK will be looking forward to tomorrow- restrictions being lifted, non-essential shops being opened and a general sense of restored normality.
As Christians, how are we going to respond to this and reflect our unmoving identity in Christ? The Bible tells us to remember Christ in every season of our lives:
‘Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains.’ Proverbs 3 :6-9
Whether we are in lockdown or out of it, our focus remains the same- to honour God in every aspect of our lives and remember Him for his greatness and compassion. How will you do this as we come out of lockdown?
God has a carefully structured plan for each of our lives, and it’s important that we follow it. Even though it is easy to believe that the plans we make for ourselves are immaculate and without error, they are matchless in comparison to what God has designed for our lives:
‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ Romans 8:28
The truth is, we cannot simply say that we are ready to follow the plans of our Heavenly Father, then walk away to design and carry out our own plans. We must trust and believe that God is working for our good and take heed to His instructions as His valued and adorned children. I by no means, implore that this is a simple, straightforward task, but we can receive unwavering faith and courage by asking our Father to strengthen us and allow Him to be the Way Maker of our lives. When we take the bold decision to step back and surrender all that concerns us into the hands of our Mighty Creator, we remain obedient to His Word and gain access to the blessings and good things He has in store for us.
Our words have power and it’s important that we choose them wisely. The things we say can either lift or break the spirit of others, as well as impact how they perceive their situation. Particularly during these unsettling times, we are called to speak words of life and not make thoughtless, inconsiderate remarks:
Proverbs 15:4“Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
When we hear someone make a crushing, defeatist comment, we have a golden opportunity to speak life into that person and fill them with uplifting phrases to heal their spirit and make them whole. By doing so, we apply the biblical guideline of speaking wisely into our lives and thus, reflect Jesus in our characteristics.
Throughout this pandemic, there are times when I have found myself prioritising the fleeting things of this world rather than the eternal treasures resting within Scripture. During moments like these, I find that the only true solution is to go back to God’s Word and find peace within His promises, as well as apply His biblical guidelines into our lives to give God the glory, honour and praise.
As believers of Christ, we are fully aware that our security does not dwell within materialistic things of this world such as money and cars, and therefore, can have unwavering faith in the midst of these temporal pleasures:
‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.’ Matthew 6:19 (ESV)
Once we fully grasp that our unwavering faith, identity in Christ and spiritual gifts are far more valuable than what the world has to offer, we lift our minds to the great plans which God has in store for us.
Have you ever found yourself struggling with God for His throne? Have you ever felt like you want to place yourself in His position as the ultimate decision maker and judge, because you disapprove of His Will and plan for your life?
With the current lockdown, it can be easy to play tug-of-war with Christ. Sometimes we don’t know what we want, and we’re fighting for materialistic things which we feel will satisfy us and fill a void in our hearts. I want to remind you that God has never stopped loving you then, and will never cease to pour out His compassion to you now.
‘Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.’ Psalm 55:22
I’ve been asking this question a lot lately. Why should I live by faith every day? Am I even loved? Why should my life have Jesus written all over it? What’s the point?
We are representing Jesus because of who He is- our sacrificial lamb who paid the price for all our sins when he died on the cross. The one who carried us from death to eternal life in His presence, which means that we can have a deep, sincere relationship with Him. When we remember why we live for Him each day, we begin to make sense of our purpose. Throughout lockdown, I have descended into a cycle of constant doubt and emptiness because I felt as if I had no purpose, but my mission on earth is clear- to live each day for Jesus and declare His glory. The same is true for you and every other believer of Christ.
Don’t fall hostage to the pressures of this world. You can be a rebel in a self-gratifying society. You are cherished. You are dearly loved. You have a significant purpose far greater than you can comprehend.
Jesus was always thinking ahead- For His people, His mission and His message. A prominent example of this relieving truth lies in the Book of Luke:
‘For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.’ Luke 21:15
The Lord was speaking here of coming events. He said there was no need for His followers to panic about what they would say in such circumstances because He would provide them with a voice-filled with righteous truth and faithful words. Now, we are not able to prophesy the future as we are called to completely trust God in the path which lies ahead of us.
So, I would like to ask you, in what ways will you think ahead to serve Christ and proclaim His glory? How will you show radical generosity to others by thinking ahead?
‘For me to live is for Christ, and to die is gain’ Philippians 1:21
As resolute followers of Christ, we can be assured of the fact that we have nothing to lose. Paul reminds us that we can enter every situation without fear because we are guided by the hand of Jesus. Personally, I find this promise of God rather captivating as I tend to weigh my faith with the amount I am ‘willing to lose’. But the truth is, we have nothing to lose.
How are you going to start this new year? Will you surrender all your ambitions and goals to the Mighty Creator or trust within yourself to keep everything under control?
This may not sound significant, but how we progress through this year is based on our initial perspectives when we first entered it. If we declare ourselves to be sufficient in Christ, then we can trust His promises to see us through another year with Him at the centre of it.
So, how will you start 2021 with God? What ways will you submit yourself to Him this year?