The first day of a new year is time to take store of where our life is and where our mission will be. We often review the year past and consider resolutions of the year ahead. Perhaps the healthiest practice is to reflect on what we know will attempt to steal our peace so we can know how to give over our entire year to God.
Challenges are coming. So, how does one begin when we know that crisis is on the horizon and there is seemingly nothing we can do about it?
Roughly 41 percent of adult Americans claimed that 2023 was one of the worst years in American history, according to a recent survey. One of the latest polls also reveals that 62 percent of Americans believe that democracy in our nation is at risk depending on the winner of the presidential election in 2024. Another survey reported that only 4 percent of Americans believe that our government system is working extremely well. That same survey asked respondents to state their feelings about the American political system in one word. The most popular words chosen were “divisive” and “corrupt.”
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There is clearly political strife. It seems that many political candidates over the last two decades have voiced the opinion that their particular election year was the hinge for the future of the country. While it would be delusional to state that our nation is in healthy soil, we are still standing. The inclination of the average American will likely be borderline despair when it comes to politics because it is out of our control and it is a mess.
The mucky water of American politics calls for renewal. Much of that is not in your control, nor mine. That does not mean we give up and cease to fight for the good in the arena of government. It is simply a reminder that 2024, like all other years, is a call to become more trusting in God’s fatherly care for His children. That should not make us naive, lazy, or negligent. Remembering that God is real and that He is the only One in control is the first fact of our existence. If we forget this truth, especially when it comes to politics, it is possible that the 2024 election cycle will consume our attitude, attention, and awareness. The only one that should have that hold over us is Jesus Christ.
So, this year, be in tune with what is going on in the political environment of our country so that you can fight for the good that God knows we need. However, we always have to be careful to not turn our interest for the good into its own god. When our interest consistently takes center stage then God is moved to the background. Could we commit to praying twice as much as we watch the news or listen to political fanfare?
When our fight for the good is not fed by prayer it often turns into anger. “Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger for the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God” (James 1:19). “The anger of man” is not of God because its roots are from a ground of ego. We think we know what is best and we spew out anger and rage toward others (we have all been there). In 2024, Christ is inviting us to make our thoughts and words about His righteousness, not solely about our interests.
A second major topic of 2024 will be war. We have become used to life with war in Ukraine, and now we must become more used to the fact that the Holy Land is in disarray. War will inevitably be on our minds this upcoming year. Both politics and war are scary. They are intimidating to think about because they carry such tremendous influence on our lives and our future.
Political structures and philosophies can literally change the minds and practical situations of hundreds of millions of people. War can change lives by ending them. War also breeds war. The more violence invades our age the more likely it is that other nations will enter war out of fear of the unknown or retaliation in support of an ally.
The future is unsettled, and it is in the balance; but the final victory is God’s. Both politics and war are attachments of the human heart and mind because they can be so dark and chaotic that we forget that God has already won. The remedy to handling the tumultuous nature of 2024 lies within a deep truth of life: rely on God.
You are in complete control over nothing in your life. War and politics showcase this directly. You only have control over yourself and your immediate surroundings and relationships; and even these we only have limited control over. In 2024, be honest about this and be steadfast in faith despite the darkness—because God is with us. Perhaps that is why Christmas is so close to the New Year. You are in complete control over nothing in your life.Tweet This
Each time that we get sucked into the uncontrollable aspects of life in a way that impacts our daily commitment to personal prayer, loving our families, and fulfilling the fundamental responsibilities at our jobs, the less God-centered we become.
At the dawn of this new year, let us be more reliant on God and more faithful to prayer than ever before. Then we will deeply know that Christ is with us throughout the crises.