Sunshine and Clouds in 2017

It’s New Year’s Day! We have another opportunity to turn a new leaf or to make a new commitment. We know there will be sunshine, and we know there will be clouds. As a friend of mine recently asked, “Do you ever quit worrying about finances and children and life in general?” What would your answer to her be?

The Spiritual Struggle
This morning I struggled as I sat in church, on the verge of tears, for no reason except the worship service was different from usual. My frustration was unusual, since I enjoy variety in how we do church. But there I was, on the first day of the year, fighting to pull my emotions together so I could focus my heart on the reason I was sitting there.

Tomorrow morning is January 2, 2017. If we think, because a new year has begun, that our devotion to Christ will be easier than it was in 2016, we might be caught off guard. Satan works in church, and he works in our home. He is present as we drive, and is on the phone with us as we talk to our family and friends. He is already at our offices and certainly waiting for us when we take a vacation.

Winning the Spiritual Battle
Richard Foster explains that the abundant life in Christ doesn’t “just fall into our hands.” Foster explains that this life only comes through intentional training in godliness, and for this reason we practice spiritual disciplines, such as worship and confession, prayer and fasting, giving and service. We are disciples of Christ, ever learning from Him, and always dependent on Him, to guide us and empower us for the life He has called us to live.

This morning I wrestled with Satan’s effort to keep me from experiencing God’s presence and power. I was caught off guard by my emotional response to a simple change in worship style. But in the end, thanks be to God, I left church assured once again that our God is sufficient for our needs. This morning we sang, “I need Thee every hour.” And I certainly need Him for every hour, every minute of this new year, 2017.

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