Happy New Year! No matter what happens in the coming year, this greeting can be your reality when you stake your hopes for the future on the 4 reasons for a faith mindset in 2023, outlined below.
The Sunday leading up to New Year 2020, just two months into my serving as the interim pastor of Life Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, I preached a sermon entitled “Viewing Life with 2020 Faith.” Little did I or anyone know that within three months a worldwide pandemic would strike with disorienting challenges and devastating consequences. Nor could we have imagined how severely, not only our faith would be tested, but also our hope in God, and love for one another.
Among other things it reminded us of the precarious uncertainty of New Year’s expectations. Plus it rudely awakened us to the adjustments required in maintaining a clear-eyed, 2020 faith perspective when life altering events are thrust upon us.
The ensuing chaos of the past three years cannot help but give us pause as we stand on the threshold of 2023. Looking ahead, while hoping for something better, we can find ourselves suppressing the fear of something worse. Given therefore, what appears to be a cosmic shift in the times and seasons in which we live, might God be alerting us to shift in the way we anticipate and approach the future?
Jesus’ Critical Advice for the End Times
Jesus, in His teaching predicting the signs that will usher in the end times and His return, gave some very critical advice to His followers. It could not be more relevant for the days in which we are living.
A succinct summary from Luke 21 underscores the following seven ways in which to navigate our uncertain and unparalleled future.
- “Watch out that you are not deceived” (vs. 8).
- “Do not be frightened” (vs. 9).
- “Make up your mind not to worry” (vs. 14).
- “Stand firm, and you will win life” (vs. 19).
- “Be careful not to be weighed down” with the pleasures and anxieties of life (vs. 34).
- “Lift up your heads” and look for your redemption (vs. 28).
- “Be always on the watch, and pray” to escape what is happening to stand in Jesus’ presence (vs. 36 – all NIV).
As we can see, surviving, and even thriving, in changing times primarily has to do with a shift in our attitude. It demands a commitment to readjust our mindset from gullibility to being discerning, from fear to faith, from being wishy washy to decisive, and from being so easily distracted to being alert and watchful.
4 Reasons for a Faith Mindset
Establishing such a mindset, as Jesus so clearly stated, specifically when addressing worry, requires making up one’s mind! In short that means preparing for whatever challenges the future may bring by deciding ahead of time, how we will choose to react if and when they appear. The following verses in Psalm 112 (ESV) outline four foundational beliefs upon which a faith mindset in facing the future depends and is maintained.
1). Reverence for God is the key to understanding the times.
vs. 1 “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!”
Since cataclysmic events seem to be happening somewhere in the nation or the world on almost a daily basis, reckoning with that fact is the starting place in our preparedness. Like the sons of Issachar who came to David, as he assumed the responsibility as Judah’s king at Hebron, we need to first understand the times in order to know what to do (1 Chronicles 12:32). As we see in verse one above and its preceding verse in Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” and the benefit of that wisdom flows out of a reverent walk of obedience with Him.
2). Light triumphs over darkness for the upright.
vs. 4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
No matter how dark the circumstances, walking uprightly with the Lord ensures that the light of His grace and truth will not only sustain us, but empower us to share His love and good news with others.
3). Those who are His will not be shaken.
vs. 6 For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.
We have this amazing promise that nothing will ever be able to move us off the firm foundation of our relationship with God who is our rock. Knowing that we will have a testimony of God’s faithfulness beyond whatever trial we must face gives us strength to endure it.
4). A mind fixed on Jesus need not fear bad news.
vs. 7-8 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
What a gift to have a heart that is secure in the Lord. Based on the preceding promises, it enables us to firmly fix our minds on the Lord and not our circumstances. It gives us a mindset that is fear proofed against bad news, enabling us to trust the Lord to reverse and redeem whatever comes our way for good.
Given the 4 reasons above for a faith mindset in 2023, I again wish you a Happy New Year!