As we finish out 2021 and prepare our hearts for the new year, let’s take a moment to reflect on where we have come from.
As we prepare for the turn of the calendar, many will have thoughts on what they can do “new” this next year. Might I challenge you to hold fast to those promises the Lord has laid in your heart – for yourself, for your family, for this nation… May you walk into this new year with boldness and renewed confidence that “He who began a good work is faithful to see it through to completion.”
I don’t know where you are personally, but I certainly feel the full reality of “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” I feel weary, ready to give up, ready to bail. I am tired. I am teetering on the verge of despair.
But, if I would just pause, catch my breath, call a brother or sister in Christ, I will be reminded that our enemy is not flesh and blood but the powers of darkness. The enemy of our souls would love nothing more than for us to waver and lay down our swords. He came to steal, kill and destroy.
Who am I going to let have the upper hand here?
It is a decision that I will need to make each and every day, sometimes each and every moment.
Will I fail? Will I falter? It is the human nature to do so. It is human nature to question the goodness of God. But, if I would only look at my past, be reminded of my story, I would KNOW that my God hears and answers prayers. I would KNOW that His timing far surpasses my best laid plans. He is FOR me, not against me; He is FOR my family, for my marriage, for my children, for His people – not against us. He collects my tears in a bottle. Not one of my prayers is void or falls on deaf ears.
He is the God who can do immeasurably more than all I ask for or imagine. He is the God that already has, and I can certainly trust His goodness to come through again. He has not failed me yet.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
As I end out this year, and as I prepare to go into next year, I am going to stand on the promise that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Patient endurance, perseverance, eyes on the prize, I will not waver or give up unless the Lord changes my heart or until that thing which I have prayed for comes to pass. And when I become weary, because I have surrounded myself with iron-sharpening-iron kinds of brothers and sisters, all I need to do is say the word and they will come alongside of me and lift-up my arms in prayer.
My actions will be disciplined. I am like an athlete that goes into training. I take my thoughts captive. I set my heart on His word and NOT my emotions.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work]. (Heb 12:1-2 AMP)
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor 10:5)
How Do We Endure
How do we set our hearts on never quitting? Keep our eyes continually on Jesus. Read the Word, read the stories. Listen to others’ testimonies of breakthrough. Surround yourself with those who won’t allow you to sit in despair but call you up and higher – and point you to the one whose name is above all other names.
How do we handle our areas of weakness and inadequacy? In our weakness we allow His strength to carry us through, as we press into Him and His Truth. We pray and seek ways to ensure that our weakness/inadequacies don’t master us.
“We must master our weaknesses; otherwise, every time we are tested in the area of endurance, some weakness—whether is it emotional, psychological, or physical—will get us down, and we will give up at the very point where we should have been holding on and enduring.” Derek Prince, Declaring God’s Word: a 365 Day Devotional, December 6
What continues to trip us up? We must face that thing head on and set up parameters (so far as it be possible with me) so that we can succeed. I know my own areas of weakness, places I am most likely to fail if I don’t “plan” for success.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither]. Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service]. (1 Cor 9:24-27 AMP)
Believe and press forth. Our God holds the victory. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Rev 12:11). We are the head and not the tail (Dt 28:13). All the promises of God are yes and Amen in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 1:20). His Word does not return void (Is 55:11). We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:37)!
[Listen to “So Will I”. It rights my “gaze” and encourages me as I walk through my own storm.]
What promises are you holding fast to? Let’s pray for one another to endure through the storms.
Suni Piper is a writer and passionate intercessor for the nation and for the Church. She is determined and surrendered to be a voice of truth and encouragement to the Body of believers. Follow Suni at her website ASurrenderedLife.com.
(Photo Credit: Unsplash)
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