As I sat down to write this article it’s hard for me to believe that we are about to enter 2021. After all, for me it seems like I was in the 1980s moments ago just as you may feel the same about the generation that you grew up in. After experiencing 2020, I wish I could see the “trailer” of 2021 before I enter it but that’s not how life works. Life goes by quickly whether we vote on it or not.
The brother of Jesus called James in the Book of James 4:14 reminded us about time when he wrote “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” There is no doubt that life happens quickly. However, in this life we have many choices and experiences. The word of God teaches us that while we may enjoy “this life” the purpose of this life is mostly about getting ready for “eternal life.” I believe 2020 has been a year that has caused many of us to forget about the next life. We have all been so consumed with rightly surviving this life that we have forgotten to prepare for the next life. As we study scripture, I believe there are some things we need to do as we enter 2021 to get us back on track since we are but a “vapor” and we don’t have a lot of time here on earth.
One thing I believe we need to begin to do is look “upward.” We’ve all spent a lot of this year looking around at what’s been going on. Many of us have spent a lot of time looking at the television. Many of others have spent a lot of time looking at social media. It’s a fact that 3.8 billion people (half of the planet’s population) are currently on social media. In the United States of America people are on social media for an average of two hours and 24 minutes every day! People absolutely enjoy looking at things! The information we look at has a tremendous impact on our thoughts.
Understand, I’m not saying that we should look around or listen to the information around us, but that can’t be our only input as balanced thinking and spiritual people. Others have spent a lot of the year looking down in depression and discouragement. I believe as we enter 2021 we need to “look upward” to God with faith, hope, and anticipation. We need to remember that He has the ultimate say in this universe in all things, and follow His commands. Deuteronomy 11:1 says it this way “Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.” Always means always!
A second thing I believe we need to do is look “backward.” Now I know that can be unhealthy in some ways, but it can also be healthy in other ways. 2020 was a difficult year, but there were lessons and things that we learned even in the chaos. As I look back, I remember the many healthcare workers and all the people who helped others during the most difficult times that our world has faced in years. I remember that God still uses His people in times of adversity. I remember that we have learned many things that we weren’t aware of before 2020 like the amazing value of toilet paper.
In Deuteronomy 11:2 we are commanded to “remember.” The word “remember” in the Hebrew is the word “Yada” and it is used forty-three times as a command for God’s people to reflect upon, teach, remember, and know what God has done. In other words, God wants us to remember the things he has done, and what he has taught us all the time!
The last thing I believe we need to do is look “forward.” Everyone needs something to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. I want to encourage you as we enter 2021 to remember to look forward. The Apostle Paul told us in Philippians 1:6 that “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God’s word promises us that He will complete what He began in us! We must be careful to be patient in the process! If you’re a Christian, there are far better things ahead of you than the things that are behind you!
This Sunday at South Side I will share a message entitled “Looking Forward, Looking Back.” Worship begins at 10:15, and our Children’s Ministry offers children’s classes for all ages. We are continuing to practice social distancing at our services. We also offer a church drive thru experience from 10:30-11:00. If you are unable to do those our online services will be available at 3 on Facebook and our website. If you would like to give generously text: 84321 then the word “help” and follow the simple instructions. We would love to have your family worship with us! For more information visit us on our website at: www.southsidewch.com