The holidays are over. The food has been eaten. Presents delivered and strewn about. The New Year is FAST approaching! We tend to look forward to the new year and all the possibilities it offers. We see a fresh slate and a new start. We see a chance to put all the struggles, problems, and challenges behind us and move forward unhindered. However, when we enter the new year we end up making some of the same choices. We create new bad habits and make excuses for keeping the old ones. We back track and end up desiring a fresh slate once more. We forget sometimes that we’ll be facing some of the same challenges and most likely some new ones as we move forward. These challenges will not disappear. They will not be easier all of a sudden. They will still be surprising and life shaking. We tend to assume we can move forward unhindered.
God made a promise to the Israelites in Isaiah 43:2 that still applies to us today. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. At first look we see the promise that God will always be with us. But this promise is given BECAUSE of the reality that we WILL “pass through the rivers” and “walk through the flames”. God promises to be with us but demands that we take up our cross and walk with confidence to face life’s challenges with faith and endurance. This new year, place the Kingdom of God first in your New Year’s Resolutions and strive right alongside God to declare the Gospel in your life and serve the Kingdom of God!