The year 2016 was a year mixed with great battles as well as great overcoming. There were times where we cried out to God because the storms were too heavy to deal with. And there were times where we cried out in thankfulness for Him answering our hearts cry. Every year is like that though, isn’t it? We have high highs. And we have low lows. But for me and my family, 2016 stood out among the rest. We experienced the failure of trying to sell a home for the third time. As well as experienced the joy of selling that home and being blessed with a new one. One of our children fell gravely ill. Only to have discovered an issue that he was most likely born with, and the surgery saved his life.
See, many times we face troubling situations where we question God as to why they are happening. Sometimes, we are the reason for those things. We walk down paths, and unfortunately reap the consequences of those actions. But then we also must acknowledge that there is an enemy in this world who would like nothing less than to see destruction in our lives. He is a real enemy and not an imagination thought up by Hollywood. 1 Peter 5 cautions us to, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Are we to walk around shouting “the devil is after me?” No way! However, we are to stay alert! This is the reason Paul told the people in Ephesians 6 to put on the armor of God!
We are not fighting a battle against people. Although those battles are very real, it is what goes on in the spirit that we really fight against. Paul said, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12) As long as we are on the earth, we will face battles. The difference between our battles and those that do not know God as their Father, is one simple truth. We are anchored by God. Those who do not know Him, are not. Not for lack of Him desiring to anchor them. But because they have chosen to not be in relationship with Him, but rather to go about their own way. God desires with each of us. He created us. But He will not force relationship. He initiates it, but like all relationships in our life, we choose the ones we desire to grow.
2017 brings with a lot of newness. But I refuse to treat this year as I have treated all others. This year, I will treat with a new perspective. It is not to forget what happened last year, but to let it be as a reminder of what God has done. To let it remind me not to get comfortable and forget to put on my armor each and every day. To not allow myself to become complacent, but remain steadfast in my relationship with God. To not allow myself to settle, but remain hungry for the Word of God. To remain committed to living a life of righteousness and purity. And to continue on the path to my purpose that God has designed me for at all costs.
I encourage you to lay aside the way you used to do things. Let’s not settle for what’s easy, but rather cling to stepping out onto the water. Let us leave the boat of comfort and step into the waves of faith. I challenge you…