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I watch a lot of college football.  I've seen all the bowl games, even the ones that no one has heard of.  In one of those games, I saw a commercial that really intrigued me.  It pictured a "first date" meet-up between Satan and 2020 (personified as a woman), and then the development of a relationship between them. 

 

It's unlikely that the producers of the commercial have any idea about spiritual warfare, but the reference brought to my mind the fact that 2020 was indeed a year of real spiritual warfare.  Any time we see evil at work - and we saw plenty of it last year - we can be sure that spiritual battles are being fought.  And we can also be certain that God will bring good out of it, just as he did in Joseph's life.  So here are a few thought questions to help us analyze our spiritual growth and health in 2020.

 

The year brought with it "lockdowns" like we've never seen, and with that a level of isolation we've never experienced.  So…..

  • How have we used the time to deepen our personal relationships with God?
  • With the increase in time spent at home, how intentional have we been about developing family relationships and even leading our families spiritually?
  • Given the lack of commuting and travel, have we taken advantage of opportunities to know and serve our neighbors?
  • Given both the challenges and opportunities financially, how has our stewardship reflected our walk with God?  (Matthew 6:21)

 

We've seen increasing levels of division along racial, political, and religious lines.  So…..

  • How have we taken advantage of opportunities to be peacemakers? (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18)
  • How have we carried out the ministry of reconciliation? (2 Corinthians 5:18)
  • How have we been an answer to Jesus' prayer that his people would live in unity?

 

The increase in political division has gotten to the point where even civil conversation is now the exception, and differing ideas are banned in our key social media outlets.  So…..

  • How faithfully have we been in prayer for our leaders - of both parties - and for the direction of our country? (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
  • To what extent have our own beliefs and priorities been shaped by politics vs. setting our minds and hearts on things above? (Col. 3:1-2)

 

Around the world, Christians are suffering disproportionately.  From attacks by Islamic extremist groups in North Africa to discrimination in food distribution in countries like India, the church is under attack in many places. At the same time, God is opening doors of opportunities for believers to serve their neighbors and communities that were not open previously.  So….

  • How faithful have we been in praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world? (Hebrews 13:3)
  • How have we prayed for God to open new doors for the Gospel? (Colossians 4:3)

 

All of these things (and more) are important because, frankly, we may have flipped a page on the calendar but we have not yet turned the page on all these spiritual battles.  None of these key situations has changed significantly with the dawn of 2021.  As a result, we should expect the same challenges - and opportunities - this year as we saw last year. 

God will be faithful to his people because that's his nature; but how faithful will we be to Him in the spiritual battles of this coming year?

 

 

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Comment by Malva Birch on Wednesday

Thank you, Andrew.

"And we can also be certain that God will bring good out of it, just as he did in Joseph's life."

Lord, please bring good out of all these things as only You can. 

Bring peace, the peace that passes all understanding as only You can.

You are the stability of our times. The fear of the Lord is our treasure. 

You are faithful to us. Please help us to be faithful to You too.

Give us strength.

Thank You in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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