2020 was insane — in the best and worst ways. I’d summarize it for me personally as a year of awakening.
I’m eager for a new year, a fresh chapter. I’m sure we all are.
Yet I’m sensing that 2021 isn’t just a new year or another chapter. It’s a new era.
The world as we once knew it is no more. Life won’t be going back to “normal” — whatever that means. This is especially true for the Church.
One year ago, my mind couldn’t have conceived of church doors closing as unconstitutional restrictions were rolled out across the country — all in the name of “safety.”
It’s clear that world powers are pushing an agenda that has little to do with a so-called pandemic. (News flash: Corrupt politicians don’t care about your health.)
This last year has challenged me to grapple with some tough questions: Will I follow the crowd or my convictions? Will I buy into worldly wisdom or cling to truth from heaven?
I believe we’re all at a crossroads … collectively as a country and as individuals.
Which path will you take? Which road will you travel? Jesus makes it clear that there are only two options, and your choice has consequences.
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.Matthew 7:13-14 NASB
What’s the purpose of a gate? It’s there to demarcate and separate. Gates set boundaries and limits. They mark points of entry, often with a fixed destination.
Jesus contrasts two thresholds. One gives way to death. The other leads to life.
Many choose the wide way. Why? Well, it’s easier. It’s popular. It’s crowded yet with ample room to roam. The flow feels right, at least at first. But there will be a bitter end.
Notice Jesus gives only one invitation: the narrow gate. The preferred choice isn’t up for debate.
However, he’s putting it out there that this way is different, difficult, constricted. That word in the Greek (Strong’s G2346 – thlibo) means to suffer tribulation (among other things).
Trouble? Suffering? Ummm. No thanks. We prefer comfort and convenience.
We all want life, of course, but we want it on our terms. We want to be our own god. That’s why few choose this way.
Here’s what Jesus is really saying: Enter through me! I’m the way.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.John 10:9-10 NIV
The way of Jesus leads to the cross, to death. Death of self. Paradoxically, it’s the only way to find true life, abundant life, eternal life. Because it turns out that we don’t make very good gods.
To escape the evil of this age, we must surrender our own will and walk in God’s ways.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’Jeremiah 6:16 NIV
We’re living in an urgent hour. There’s a great separation that’s taking place. And you have a crucial choice to make.
As 2020 unfolded, God rapidly redirected my attention and appetites. Suddenly, I had little desire to watch TV, and I could no longer stomach the Christian celebrity scene. (I’m not saying these things are wrong or evil necessarily. I just knew I needed to tune out.)
In short, the world lost its allure. My senses were sharpened and I realized how wrapped up I had been in the pleasures of life (1 John 2:16). I understood in a deeper way the warning that friendship with the world makes me an enemy of God (James 4:4).
Did something similar happen to you in 2020? God was and is definitely dealing with his people and wooing them back to himself. Here’s why:
We must separate ourselves from worldly desires — which give birth to sin and end in death (James 1:15) — so that we can be set apart, consecrated, devoted to God and to doing his will.
But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.Daniel 11:32b NKJV
We’re entering turbulent times. The shaking has already started. To stand firm in the days ahead, it will require a new level of intimacy and the Spirit’s supernatural strength.
Second Timothy 3 is an important chapter. From it we know that persecution is a promise for anyone who wants to live set apart in Christ Jesus. For Americans, this is a foreign concept. But I think the tides are turning.
We’ve witnessed religious liberty, and our freedoms in general, under attack like never before. There have also been recent rumblings about a “Great Reset” and “immunity passports” — pointing toward the rise of anti-Christ agendas. The mark of the beast is coming, and it will have real economic and eternal consequences (Revelation 13:17).
The current social pressures are suffocating. Various “facts” from “experts” are broadcast in an attempt to manipulate and control people. We’re in desperate need of divine wisdom, discernment, and revelation to understand when something sinister is brewing below the surface.
I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom. Even though deep darkness covers the earth, everything is unfolding according to God’s perfect plan. His light will shine like never before (see Isaiah 60). He’s waking up his people and rousing an end-time army.
The gate you walk through will determine your destiny. Will you choose God’s path for you, or will you travel the road of least resistance?
Jesus came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” He’s calling those near and far to change course and choose life.
The harvest is ripe. The workers are few. Souls are at stake. So arise and shine! Let’s commit to being about our Father’s business in 2021 and beyond.
Not sure where to start? Get to know God and his Word. This year I’m using the Bible Recap reading plan and podcast.
I also invite you to join my list to get truth delivered to your inbox every Friday morning. Sign up here.