“So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ” (Romans 10:17 GNT).
A new year is once again upon us. Many people are entering into the new year with fear and anxiety due to the seemingly ever-present COVID-19, economic uncertainty, and political turmoil. They want things to get back to “normal” but are starting to realize that many of the problems of 2021 will likely continue into 2022.
Other people are approaching the new year with confidence and thanksgiving. They don’t know what lies ahead but they know the One who does and have claimed His promise as found in Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[ have been called according to His purpose.
I think the major difference between these two ideologies is faith. Hebrews 11:1 teaches how to put faith into action. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is how we put one foot in front of the other when we can’t see the path. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Fear is the opposite of faith. It is what occurs by default when we don’t have faith. “Fear not” is the most repeated command in the Bible. It occurs 365 times in Scripture! Yes, 2020 has been a rough and dark year. However, our Lord often reveals Himself and His nature to us by turning bad into good. For many 2020 has been a wasteland. For me, I see it as a time of preparation for a “new thing.” Isaiah 43:19 reads, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
As Christians we know that there is a season for all things, and this too shall pass. The dawn is coming, and the light always conquers the darkness. The ultimate battle has already been fought, and we have been redeemed through the precious blood of our Savior.
One of the best ways we show our faith is through our service. Our service or works are a natural product of our faith. “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).
As a Christian you are also a minister. Your ministry may not be to lead a church but by helping others you are a minster that is doing ministry. Christians are sometimes derisively called “do gooders,” but I love this term because it is in accordance with our calling. “So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith” (Galatians 6:10).
Your greatest ministry will come out of your deepest pain. If you’ll be honest with God, others, and yourself about whatever struggle you’ve faced, then that struggle will become your ministry.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God” (2 Corinthians 6:4). That includes we handle COVID-19, economic and political uncertainty, pain, failure, defeat, problems, mistakes, sin, and all of the bad things that happen in life.
Your deepest ministry will come out of your deepest hurt—and your deepest life message will come out of your deepest pain. In every area of your life where you’ve had pain, you have a testimony. How will you use it to exercise your faith and help bring others from despair to fullness of life in Christ?
Faith is a powerful source of comfort and strength as we step into a new year full of uncertainty. Choose faith over fear! Choose to serve the Body of Christ! Choose to life boldly and courageously!
Gulf South Men is a regional ministry coming along side churches and men’s ministries by offering Education, Training, Resources, Men’s Events and Mentoring to help churches build effective men’s ministry and make disciples for Christ.
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Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for providing us security that cannot be found in this fallen world. Forgive us for our lukewarm faith at times and continue to draw us nearer to you. May everything that we do show that we are true ministers of the Good News. Amen.
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is a Past President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.