Updated: Feb 1
written by Amelia Petrunia
Here we are at the end of 2021. This year has certainly seen its fair share of challenges, but I am also grateful for the many things the Lord has taught me. This year I have seen some personal break through’s and I have also had to walk through some personal setbacks; but you know what I have consistently experienced? “My God, My Father is Faithful!
As we enter a new year, I invite you to usher in 2022 with the excitement of looking forward to a new beginning. Sometimes when we have gone through a tough season, it can feel daunting as you enter a "new year" our natural self begins to seek answers to questions that cannot yet be answered. What will 2022 bring? What challenges will I face? Certainly, these past two years brought us all into a vastly different kind of life, one that most of us did not expect or see coming. Not least of all wearing masks, isolation, Covid tests, working from home, loss of jobs, some people lost family members, fear narratives everywhere, as well as vaccine status which resulted in division in families.
However, though there were difficult and challenging times; It also brought times of refreshing because people slowed down. It gave us space to reflect and appreciate what really is important in our life. It caused some of us to downsize, get rid of things that were taking time away from what is tremendously important. It also allowed many to start to ask questions, “What is this life about? What do I believe?” What do I put my faith and trust in? When challenged with fear, sickness, loss.... Even those who have been ‘believers’ a long time, may have been faced with “what do I 'truly' believe in my heart?”
Suddenly, Psalm 91 has to be lived out not just read out like some formula I can decree to manipulate and wield my God into doing what ‘his word says’. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you will have discovered, rarely is it in the happy and good times that ‘what we believe’ is exposed in our hearts!! So here we are about to embark into another new year. Lord what do you desire for me to understand or learn this coming year?
Are you carrying burdens you should not be carrying? Is your mind filled with many things, worries – trying to figure out people, situations, a relationship gone wrong? How to help someone who is not asking for help? We can take on all kinds of issues in our heart and mind that we are not meant to carry and part of the ‘renewing of the mind’ is about releasing those things that you cannot change and thinking on those things that are all together true.
Phil 4:8 Whatsoever is true, honest, just, pure, whatsoever is lovely, of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise – think on these things!
How would it feel to start 2022 by leaving behind all your cares that you are carrying – those ones that your mind plays over and strives with – those thoughts that keep you from being at peace in your heart and sleeping through the night as you should. Those thoughts that play over in your head and keep you from entering your rest, that place where “Peace” abides in your heart and rules your soul!
So, what does the word of God offer us? Firstly we are not to strive… the Holy Spirit told me one day last year – there is “NO STRIVING” in Heaven. Isn’t that a great goal to work towards for this year? Instead of trying to earn right standing with God by praying more, reading the bible more, which is trying to change myself through works and falls under striving to be sanctified! How about if we just learn to YIELD to and SUBMIT to the Holy Spirit in us who is the one able to transform us and change us from glory to glory, so we end up looking more like Jesus. The Holy Spirit said to me “Stop fighting to die” – death to self happens because you yield to it. We were baptized into His death. We must learn to die to self. This is in fact the process of sanctification.
1 Thess 4:3 It is God’s will you should be sanctified... that everyone of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.
Please do not confuse ‘Sanctification’ with working out your Salvation with fear and trembling… The Sanctification process is the work of the Holy Spirit in us – leading us to believe in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Holiness is not a state of perfection – you do not get Holy by hard work and discipline… You are Holy because you accepted the sacrifice of Christ on your behalf and have given him your LIFE. At the point of giving Jesus your life HE sees you Holy because you are in HIM.
Working out your Salvation is your daily dying to ‘self’ as the Holy Spirit leads you. Your part in Holiness/Sanctification is the dying to yourself, your desires, those things, thoughts actions that go against the word of God – the prompting of the Holy Spirit in you! For example: think of a temptation – it begins in your mind or your body.
When I was first born again at the age of 18, I use to smoke. At first it was not an issue, but then I started feeling the prompting and nudging of the Holy Spirit in me wanting me to quit. The temptation would start with a thought which would turn into a craving. I point out here, as long as I didn’t care that I was smoking it was not an issue – but once I got born again and the spirit of the Lord was in me I was now responsible to choose to live for myself or be led by the spirit prompting me and die to that which wanted to rule.
It could have been an issue with anger, jealousy, pride…that prompting by the Holy Spirit is the process to which we all are committed too, as we work out our Salvation in this manner. This is a process, it is not meant to bring us into condemnation if we have still not overcome, as Rom 8:1 clearly states, there is NO Condemnation to those who are in Christ! So, what does this mean? I am committed to loving the Lord with all my heart and each day I will trust the Holy Spirit inside of me to lead me. He is well able to take me on the path that will bring greater life and freedom to my soul. Daily I get to choose to live for Him, and daily I get to choose to die to self. The more I surrender, the greater the Lord can work in me!
A few months ago, I got a call from a family member and they off loaded anger and frustration – it matters not who is right or wrong…, I am the one who has the Spirit of God in me prompting me to not get into offence. When we are offended, we have a choice to make, as we mature in the spirit, we soon learn that to yield to our ‘carnal nature’ will not produce good fruit in our lives. If I retaliate and try to vindicate myself – guess what? I will bear the fruit of strife and bitterness if I do not release the offence from my heart. This is one of the greatest baits that the enemy uses against us. Satan will use anyone or any circumstance to try and get us to be angry, mad, offended. The reason for this? It steals your peace, and your heart will condemn you. This will keep you from being able to freely hear the Spirit speaking to you and will hinder you in your commune with your Heavenly Father, since your heart will be ‘troubled.’
If there is anything that I have learned and am still learning… stay away from being ‘offended.’ We always have a choice – and yes, I am aware there are some things that are so evil that are done to people, how could we possibly forgive? All I know, is that once we say; “I want to be obedient to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit” and will choose in our heart to not take offence – God will give us the grace to act out the forgiveness. It may be a process of daily releasing the offence, but you choose. The justice and vindication always belong to the Lord – the other person does not get off from their crime against you. You just release them to the Lord when you choose to forgive, you give the Lord access to working it all out.
Now back to the point about “OUR MINDS” and not worrying and being able to live in Peace. I am deciding today that coming into 2022 I will meditate and work through the Word of God on how to stay at peace in my mind and heart. Will you too?
What would my life or your life look like if we stopped trying to change the things we cannot change? Instead, we could rest in You, Holy Spirit, to be the One who transforms us starting with our thoughts, and our words.
Phil 4:6 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving present your requests before the Father. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He is a good, good Father. He is able to direct my path to everlasting life
Let our hope be in You this year Lord! Whatever may come Father, let our heart be steadfast to know and trust You with our life and 'your ability' to direct our path so that we will walk where You have destined our life to go.
May we now commit this coming year to the Lord Jesus. Through prayer, we will not be anxious or fearful about whatever lies ahead - Presenting every concern - we will be anxious for none of it! He is with us in it. He has paid for our soul, Heart, and Life, with the blood of His Son.
You are so incredibly valuable to the Father. Thank Him for all that He has done and will continue to do for you and through you. And then PEACE is yours, it will guard your heart and mind - for you are in Christ Jesus and He is able to keep you in perfect peace!
Father may this year be a year of overflow – more of your presence operating in and through our life so that Jesus may be known to all men!
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ - the Father of truth - the One who loves us so deeply, may He guide us all, into the coming 2022 in His name and His Victory!
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