We can agree that the year 2020 brought adversities as we have never experienced before globally. The COVID-19 pandemic not only rates as the most virulent, still, we continue to have growing statistics of disease, death, destruction, and depression impacting nearly every individual and family. We have endured the sorrow of physical death along with the crumbling of a strong economy and further tearing down of our social structure. Shattered dreams add to our loss as we wish for all of this to be over. We desire to make new memories to soothe the emotional pain. Overall we just want better days.
If 2020 left you feeling victimized, then we need to view our adversities through spiritual eyes. The Apostle Paul asked the question: You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? Galatians 5:7 NLT
We are the “who” that has held us back from following God’s plan for our lives by becoming discouraged. We removed our spiritual eyeglasses, became distracted by our circumstances, and never looked for them again until we felt the agony of defeat. Yes, COVID-19 hit our world like a continuous tsunami with a domino effect catapulting everything we knew to be stable and strong. Find those eyeglasses and immediately put them on.
Jesus gave us this warning: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Even so, with this warning, He also gives us a promise that He has overcome everything that we face, and through Jesus Christ, we are victors, not victims of our circumstances.
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT. Although it feels as if we are suffering much more than others, God tells us it simply is not true. Our trials, sorrows, and suffering are universal and experienced to some degree by all. Are we relying on our abilities or praying for God to give us the strength to endure?
There is no shortcut to having a character that reflects the character of Jesus. In our present condition, we are not acceptable to inherit our greatest reward of eternal life. God is intervening on our behalf because: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”… He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
Put on the whole armor of God! Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24
God has a plan for us: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
The goal of an Overcomer is to win, and winning does not happen without human effort. God is aware that we would not seek Him consistently. He knew that we would need trials to produce faithful and obedient soldiers that rely entirely on Him in times of plenty and drought.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 NIV
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23
God does everything with intent and purpose. Yet, He does not leave us alone to attain spiritual growth. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
We have entered a season of change, which will not end because we are in 2021. Choose the goal to strive for holiness, and live righteously by placing 100% of your trust in God. Like Job during his harshest trial, we must proclaim: But I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the end, He will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25
All Glory, Laud, and Honor lyrics
All glory, laud, and honor
To thee, Redeemer, King
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring
Thou art the King of Israel
Thou David’s royal Son
Who in the Lord’s name comest
The King and Blessed One
The company of angels
Are praising Thee on high
And mortal men and all things
Created make reply…
Praise and worship God through prayer, and study of His Holy Word.
God, we thank you for allowing us the opportunity to change and achieve spiritual growth. We pray for an increase in faith, trust, obedience, and perseverance. This prayer, we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.