By Leo Hellyer
WOW! What a year we just came through. Change is always a part of life, but this past year definitely set the record for changes – worldwide, nationally, locally, and individually. Throughout all of these changes there has been one thing that has been constant: God has been in control of all things.
Now we are entering into a new year, not knowing what the year will be like. If nothing else, we may have some uncertainty, some apprehension, and maybe even some fear.
The Prophet Isaiah speaks to us words of wisdom that still apply today. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.” – Isaiah 43:1b-2
As we enter into a new year, a year with unknown events and challenges, we also look at a new year of unknown blessings. If we try to plan for and solve all of the new year’s issues, we will quite probably be stressed out and maybe depressed before the year even gets out of the starting blocks. Putting this year all together is not our responsibility, nor are we capable to do so. If we attempt to do this it will result in frustration, exhaustion, and defeat. We must remember, God Is In Control. We must wait upon the Lord and see what He puts together.
“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” – Isaiah 40:31
If we will wait on the Lord and see what He does and, more importantly, see what he challenges us to do, we must respond and take action. If we follow His lead, we will succeed without becoming exhausted. Remember we achieve much more when we function in God’s strength and not our own.
As we look at our society, leadership, laws, and politics, we would be good to remember the words of a hymn from the 19th century. In 2 Timothy 2:3 we read Timothy’s instructions: “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
The first verse of “Onward Christian Soldiers” says, “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle, see his banner go!”
As Christians, we are going through spiritual warfare on a daily basis. We must ensure that the one that we are following is Jesus Christ. Men (any man or woman) are flawed human beings. Although we live in the greatest nation on the face of the earth, our leaders, whoever they are, are not perfect, and everything they do and say does not always reflect the heart of God. We need to stand up and be heard, in a godly manner. We need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We need to maintain or open lines of communication, not shut them down.
If the United States of America is to survive as a world leader, we need to follow and communicate the biblical foundations that this great nation was founded on. Our government, laws, law enforcement, and educational system were all developed following Christian faith foundations.
The more we allow non-Christian tenants to become part of our nation’s foundation, the weaker the foundation will become. As a nation, we need to seek a government that will follow the Bible and God Almighty when we seek to align ourselves with other nations. We need to support and protect God’s chosen.
As individuals, we must consistently reflect the love of God to others we interact with. We need to remember that while Jesus Christ was here on earth, He associated primarily with people we call challenged, less fortunate, or needy. These are the exact people with whom Jesus wants each of us to have relationships with. That’s what it means to be Christ-like.
In 2021 we have an opportunity to increase the probability of being recognized as a Christian. Live your life to the fullest from a Christian perspective. Do not live your life in a manner that will lead people to say, “Oh, I didn’t know you were a Christian.” We must be known as Christ followers.
Each of us, in all aspects of our lives, must follow the fruit of the Spirit as presented in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Let’s live our lives in a manner that if there were ever a court proceeding to determine if we are a Christian, there would be more than enough evidence to convict us.
May God richly bless you in 2021 as you reflect Him to those you come in contact with.
Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently serving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-340-5544.