2020 is over, and 2021 is here.
I think if 2020 taught us anything, it was a reminder that life is uncertain. I could, if I wanted, list a few things that I think that this month or this year will hold, but there is no guarantee of any of it.
Except one thing.
God will not change.
There is absolutely no chance at all that January 10th or December 31st or any day in between will come and God will not love me, because He says He has loved me with an everlasting love. On any day that I feel like choosing, I can confidently say that He will on that day still be perfect, and He will still be faithful to His promises. He will still want me to come spend time with Him. He will still be working in my life because He has promised to finish what He started. He will still provide for my needs if I trust Him and stay surrendered to His will for my life.
All of these statements are true for one reason:
This is who God is.
It is His character to love. It is His character to be perfectly faithful. Perfect truthfulness is who He is, so when He says He desires me to come to Him and spend time with Him, it has to be true. And when I do spend time with Him, He reveals more and more facets of His character to me, and I come to know Him more and more.
That close relationship then prepares me for the next difficult season that I will have to walk through. (For I know there will always be another difficult season. Jesus promised that!)
I think of past periods in my life that were very dark and challenging. Some of them seemed almost hopeless. But in each of those circumstances, again and again I discovered that my ability to trust Him and find hope in those most difficult moments was based upon my revelations of who He is. When I did not know what He would do or how He would carry me through, I still knew that He would carry me through. That trust was based on what I know in the depths of my soul to be true about His character.
We must come to know God for ourselves.
This has always been true, but I believe that the reward for doing so is only going to increase as time goes by.
I think we can guarantee that 2021 is going to continue to challenge us. Thus, we must learn now more than ever how to hold fast to Him! We do that by holding fast to the things that He declares to be truth – even in the face of circumstances that seem to contradict.
Here’s the thing. The devil is a deceiver. That is his nature. Throughout our lives, he has been working his hardest to make life seem different than how God declares it to be. Consider Jesus’s statement that the greatest person is the servant of all. I used to think of that statement and say that Jesus flipped things upside down. But no! The reality is that the devil flipped things upside down generations ago, working to make it “seem obvious” to us that the great person is the one who is served by others. Jesus didn’t flip things upside-down; He made them right side up again!
His Word is truth and was established before time began.
His Word is the reality that has existed before the dawn of time. It is unfamiliar to us only because of the way that sin warped the earth.
So where does that leave us? It is one thing to think about truths in an abstract way, but it is another thing entirely to put them to work in our lives!
I’d like to share a powerful tool that God showed me. This is a very practical way that we can actively hold fast to Truth.
Consider a woman who is told that she’s beautiful, and she responds, “But I’m overweight.” Consider a man who is told that he did a great job on something, and he replies, “But this part here isn’t perfect.” It may be true that she is overweight and that his work has an imperfection. The word “but,” however, takes power from the first statement and gives more power to the second. It says that the first statement can’t be true because ______.
The devil knows the power of this word. He uses it to try to take power from the things God says and empower his own lies. We hear him use it all the time, though we often don’t realize that it’s our enemy that we’re listening to. Take Romans 8:37. It says, “In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”
Does your mind immediately think, “Well yes I do!” or do you instead hear a voice that says, “But…” and starts listing your failures?
Here is a secret that the Holy Spirit shared with me.
We can use this tool as well! We can use the devil’s own weapon against him! We can use that little word to take the power out of his accusation and discredit it.
When he tries to condemn us for the sin we fell into, we can turn that accusation against him and say, “Yes, I sinned, but God says that if I confess, He is faithful to forgive my sin! Jesus died for my sin. I have repented, and God’s Word says He will not remember my sin! Thank You Jesus for paying the price, and thank You Father for Your forgiveness!” (1 John 1:9 & Hebrews 8:12)
When we are facing a mountain that just seems too big, and that voice in our head says, “This is too much for you. You can’t handle this,” we can turn that right around and say, “Yes, it is too much for me, but it’s not too much for my God! He is my helper and my strength, and nothing is impossible for Him! Thank You Lord that You are so powerful that You can do anything, God! In fact, You can do more than I can even imagine!” (Ps 46, Luke 1:37, & Eph. 3:20)
When we have been betrayed and abandoned, and the devil whispers his accusations, we can respond, “This may have happened to me, but God will never abandon me, and He says I was worth dying for! Thank You Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit to be with me always! Thank You that You will always be faithful to me!” (Heb. 13:5, Ps. 18:50, Jer. 31:3, & Matt. 28:20, John 14:26)
When our mind is getting bombarded with those awful “What if…” statements, we can respond with the Truth and say, “But I serve a God who knows exactly what will happen and who has good plans for me! Thank You, God, that You know the difference between what is actually good for me and what might look good temporarily but be detrimental in the long run. Thank You that You are leading my steps each day!” (Jer. 29:11, Ps. 37:23, & Is. 46:10)
When we look in the mirror and hear those nasty whispers tearing us down, we can realize that the voice we hear is our enemy, and we can say, “But God says I am awesomely and wonderfully made! Thank You Father God for making me in Your image!” (Ps. 139:14)
This is how we fight our battles.
This is why, when Ephesians 6 talks about our spiritual armor, it says our sword is the Word of God.
This is how we tenaciously cling to the Word of God.
This is how we take our eyes off of our circumstances and fix our mind on the Author and Finisher of our Faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
Because in each battle, when we respond with the Word of God, we are courageously stating that we choose to believe that what God says is more true than what things seem like otherwise. We summon every ounce of stubbornness we’ve got, and we choose to believe that God’s Word is true no matter what, even when we don’t understand!
This is how we demonstrate our faith… which pleases God so much that He says these demonstrations of faith are what make us righteous in His sight! (Heb. 11:6)
And then the devil will throw our sin back in our face and say, “But you can’t be righteous. Remember what you’ve done?” And then we say, “But God says that is not what determines my righteousness! He says my righteousness is because I believe His Word, and His Word says that Jesus’s perfect life is attributed to my account because I have accepted Him as my Savior! Thank You God for making it possible for me to be covered by Jesus’s righteousness! This is hard to understand, but You cannot lie, so I choose to believe it and thank You for it!” (Rom. 3:22 & Rom. 5:1-11)
The battle is never-ending, and it can be daunting when we first realize how easy it is to agree with the devil’s accusations in our mind and empower them. And yet, God is faithful! When we start to learn how to use the Word of God in this way, we get stronger!
And we get better at it.
And the Holy Spirit teaches us more and more, and He supplies more and more ammunition for us to use against the devil, and we see more and more how we overwhelmingly conquer!
May you be blessed this year as you seek Him!
May the eyes of your heart be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the boundless greatness of His power toward us who believe. (Eph 1:17-19)