We made it to the other side of the year that changed the world. 2020; an incomparable season of disarming loss, accelerated change, civil unrest, and compressed uncertainty. For some of us, standing here today is our testimony alone.

 

As we enter into 2021, wondering where year two of the pandemic will take us, this one unwavering constant remains clear: God is in control. From one season to the next, He’s by our side. Too often, we fail to see God because we set our focus on the challenges before us. The danger there is that trials can cripple us when we close our eyes to God’s sovereignty.

 

So, how do you move forward in a new year after getting knocked down by a pandemic? By trusting God during difficult times and keeping your faith in focus.

 

When the pandemic throws you off balance, keep your faith in focus. When fear arises, keep your faith in focus. When answers are few and far between, keep your faith in focus. When hysteria breaks out, keep your faith in focus. And, when the enemy comes knocking at your door, you guessed it, keep your faith in focus.

 

We’re spelling out the principles of faith for you:

 

Fueled by Purpose
Affirm Yourself
Imagine God’s Plan
Thank Him
Hurry Less

 

F.A.I.T.H. is the “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV). It’s a lifelong resolution to count on God. It’s leaning into His guidance before marking our steps, and a verb that our actions either back up or deny. Go deeper with us to discover what it truly means to live a life with faith in focus!

Fueled by Purpose

Happy Man Jumping in Front of Building

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…”

(Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV)

 

When you’re fueled by purpose, you live to please God, not people. You don’t get sideswept by today’s temporary troubles and fruitless ventures. Distractions are like shackles for our feet, and sin trips us up, but when we stride for the holy end goal, we move toward something that matters. Recalibrate your heart to make it available for God’s good purposes. Remember: when it’s a Kingdom-assignment, it’s for the good will of all.

 

Ask yourself: “What dreams do I believe God has paved for my path?”

Affirm Yourself

Woman Staring at Camera in Frame

“…I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

(Psalm 139:14, NIV)

 

Affirm yourself by looking solely to the maker for validation. Look into the mirror and shout, “I am wonderfully made!” Do as Elisha did: Speak life into the dry bones of insecurity, rejection, and shame. Bring a revival to your self-image when you prophesy this verse out loud. Charge every “imperfection” to God’s unique expression. What you believe, you begin to reflect. Start wearing the confidence of being an image bearer — and know that you were made well!

 

Ask yourself: “What special qualities do I have that reflect God’s?”

Imagine God’s Plan

Man in Parking Garage Wearing Jesus Shirt

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

(Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

 

God’s plans > our plans. Every time. Anxiety enters the scene whenever we feel like God’s made a secret break for it. Spoiler alert: He’s still there. Listen, we don’t serve a “fly-by-night” kind of God; He takes pride in being responsible for you. God loves being the director of your life!

 

Just because it’s delayed doesn’t mean it’s denied, and an unspeakable past won’t forfeit you from an admirable future. God is working behind-the-scenes, and if you don’t like this chapter of your life, wait until the next one. No matter what uncertainties you face, give Him your trust back this year, trusting God during difficult times. He is for you!

 

Ask yourself: “When did God derail my plans to give me a brighter future?”

Thank Him for Every Triumph

Neon Pink Prayer Hands Symbol

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

(2 Corinthians 2:14, NIV)

 

Did you know that there are over 100 different iterations of “giving thanks” to God in Scripture? That’s a lot. If we had to guess what God’s “love language” was, we’re going with gratitude. Thanksgiving, quite simply, unlocks Heaven’s gates. Chances are, God’s provision has delivered you from many of the hardships you’ve already faced, in a way that had “only God” written all over it. So, today, thank Him for His grace, mercy, and lasting goodness that sees you through.

 

Ask yourself: “What are three things I need to thank God for today?”

Hurry Less

Woman Reading Bible Drinking Coffee

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:”

(Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV)

 

“Hurry” is the pace of the world, but Jesus never rushed. In His short time on Earth, He still completed His extravagant mission because He did it on God’s timeline. You see, when we’re too busy and obsessed with moving quickly, it doesn’t leave much space for us to commune with God, not to mention others. Hurriedness also feeds into a culture of instant gratification, where the devil’s “nows” seem more appealing than God’s “laters.” But trust us: what God has in store for you comes with a lasting joy, not half-baked fulfillment.

 

Carve out more alone time for God, reflection, and prayer this year. This will help you discern His voice, grow your spiritual maturity, and deepen your patience for the plans He has for your life.

 

Ask yourself: “What do I need to cut out of my schedule to make more time for God?”

 

As you can see, there isn’t a “cruise control” setting for faith. Faith is proactively allowing God to shift the gears in our lives, while we sit in the passenger’s seat. It’s intentionally deciding to put His principles first, even when the world around us doesn’t make sense. It’s powering forward with Him.

 

Certainties don’t determine our faith, they never have, but our focus will. That’s why trusting God in difficult times is essential. And while we can’t predict what 2021 will bring, we can tell you this much: If you keep your faith in focus, you’ll be anchored into solid ground.



Written by: Joy Dyer

January 24, 2021