2020 is over!
We all hope 2021 will be much better than last year. We all hope the year of Covid ends soon. But we also know that Covid has left its mark on us as a society and as individuals. It will have lasting impact and effect on us. We know this.
It causes me to pause and ask, “Is anxiety our new normal in 2021?”
It is a good question.
It doesn’t have to be.
Paul found himself captured and confined to a jail cell in the book of Philippians. Many of us have felt Covid captured us and confined us to an emotional jail cell. We all sat around isolated wondering all year if we would get Covid and die or worse, if we would get it and pass on to someone and they die.
The weight of death was so great on all of us in this past year. The fear was REAL. The possible consequences was all around us. It was not a year for the faint of heart. Every day brought new and overwhelming challenges. It was difficult to plan too much ahead. Dreams were shattered over and over again like glass shattering on concrete. Our hearts have taken a beating.
I can’t think of anyone better than the Apostle Paul to regain perspective from. If it could be experienced, he experienced it and kept living for Jesus. That’s what we want to do.
How do we get past the anxiety of 2020 and experience the peace God has for us for 2021?
When Paul wrote to the Philippians from a jail cell, he told them he was a servant of Christ Jesus. It was a good reminder for him and them.
Who you are is determined by who’s you are! Who do you belong to?
Have you forgotten? You are not a victim of Covid. You belong to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are a child of God. He is your Father. You are a part of His family. You matter to Him more than you realize.
Have you forgotten who’s you are? Say to the Lord today, “Remind me Jesus that I am yours.”
We belong to Jesus. His identity is our identity.
Remember who’s you are, today.
After Paul establishes who’s he is. He then greets the Philippian faith family around him.
After you remember who’s you are, remember you are not alone.
You have a faith family, you are not alone. Yes, we all feel alone from time to time and maybe even have burdens we carry that God has asked us to carry alone, but that does not make us alone.
We spent most of last year alone. That is why online and in person church services are so important to our well-being emotionally, relationally, and spiritually to remind us that we are not alone. We have a faith family who is living for the same Jesus as us.
Paul greets his faith family in Philipp and speaks grace and peace to them from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
There it is. The allusive thing God provides every one of His children through Jesus Christ. He gives us grace, that is the power to persevere and he gives peace. What is peace? If I had to pick one word I would pick the word, undisturbed. What does it mean to be undisturbed? It is like a pond with no ripples, that’s peace. That’s tranquility. That’s calm. That is what your soul needs after 2020.
Ask Jesus for His peace in 2021.
Paul then shares a beautiful prayer He prays for them and reminds them that God is not done with them. He tells them in Philippians 1:6 that he is sure that he who began a good work in them will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Can you trust God that He is not done with you, yet?
My family went through some very dark days in 2017 and 2018. God brought us through them and we are seeing fruit now. God will bring you through the dark days of 2020 and bring fruit from it in 2021 and beyond. He promises.
Paul expounds upon how he feels about them in Philippians 1:7-8 and tells them how much he loves them.
Can you recall Christ’s love in you for others in the midst of your anxiety?
Can you get out of your own head and stop worrying about you so much and turn your attention to caring and loving someone else like Christ loves you? Paul is in prison. His circumstances could dictate his mindset and his mindset could kill his ability to focus on recalling the love he has for others. But instead he lets go of this and focuses on others.
Each of us have two paths before us. We have the fear path and the trust path. Paul had the same.
Fear creates selfishness and the need to control the outcome of our lives which produces anxiety without fail. So, where are you consumed by fear, focused on your gain, and trying desperately to control the outcome?
Confess it to Jesus right now.
Stop white knuckling your life and unclench your fist and live again!
Choose trust in Jesus’ sovereign grace and peace over your life.
Trust in Jesus creates selflessness. Selflessness enables you to let go of control. This eventually produces peace in you.
What path are you on as you begin this new year? Are you on the fear path or the trust path?
What changes do you need to make today to get on the right road to peace? Anxiety does not have to be the new normal in your life in 2021. Your trust in Christ’s sovereign peace over your life can change that. May the Lord give you the grace to overcome and the PEACE to rest in Him as we begin this new year.
Remember, greater is He that lives inside of us, Jesus, than the anxiety 2020 produces in all of us.
Christ’s peace transcends the anxiety Covid produced in us.
Ask Jesus to restore His peace in you today through your trust in Him.