Holidays: Finding a New Voice for 2021
Putting God first in this new year
by Joanne Troppello
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot
The reality is that 2020 has been a bad year for most people with the coronavirus pandemic, political uncertainty, unrest, and financial difficulties. When I saw this quote today from T.S. Eliot, it truly resonated with me—especially the part about “next year’s words await another voice.”
Finding that new voice for 2021 is my focus. Yes, I’ve been focusing on God throughout all the struggles this year. However, I want to have a reinforced certainty that no matter what happens, God is in control. He has a plan for me, and I am trusting Him for the future.
This new year may not be better than 2020. That’s hard to imagine since 2020 has been such a difficult and surreal year (for the whole world), that anything could be worse than this year. Yet, it could happen. Maybe this new year will be better. We don’t know, but I know that I will be keeping my hope alive that God is control.
How to Put God First This New Year
If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.” – William Law
Throughout my life as a Christian, there have been hills and valleys and my relationship has grown deeper with the Lord. That’s the reality of life as a Christian. Trials are real. They are a part of life whether you’re a Christian or not. It’s best for you to allow God to make you better, not bitter because of your trials.
1. Seek God’s Kingdom
In recent years, I have learned that seeking God’s Kingdom first is the only way to be truly happy in this life.
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
Things won’t necessarily be added to your life, but God will give you peace. That is the biggest blessing I’ve experienced in my life. I have peace that no matter what, God is with me. He is working all things out for my good so I can grow and mature as a child of God.
2. Don’t Give Up Your Crown
In these end times we’re living in, it’s important to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Look with expectancy for His second coming. We don’t know when that day will be, but we should be living in hopeful anticipation of that day.
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” – Revelation 3:11 (NKJV)
I recently reread Revelations 3:11. That verse resonated with me so much that I added it as a memo note on my phone so it can be a reminder to me when I need to remember that truth.
Yes, salvation is a free gift. I can’t earn my way into Heaven. However, believers will be rewarded for their work for the Lord. I never paid much attention to that truth, until recently.
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” – Revelation 22:12 (NKJV)
Today, that truth is on my mind more often. I want to live my life in a way that pleases the Lord. It’s not because of any rewards, but because my love for the Lord grows stronger each day—and I am seeing life differently now through the eyes of eternity.
3. See with Heaven’s Eyes
Another way I want to have a new voice in 2021, is to see everything with Heaven’s eyes. Of course, that won’t always be easy, but I want to try. I know with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit I can see life with Heaven’s eyes.
John 3:16 is a well-known verse, but I think sometimes we forget about the simplicity of God’s love for the world.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (NKJV)
In 2020, tempers have flared both in person and online. People are polarized on one “side” or the “other”. Where does that leave the Christian? I want to be on God’s side which fights for the truth, but also loves people while walking in love. That can be extremely difficult in our current times.
I have made every effort to try to remain respectful in all my actions in person and when online. I don’t want to fight with people, whether family, friend, or someone I don’t even personally know. You can read more about my thoughts on that issue in my article, Dealing with Negativity on Social Media.
However, I have been striving to end this year and begin the next by focusing on how everyone is LOVED by God. It’s that simple. Even someone who disagrees with me politically is loved by God. People rioting in the street are loved by God. People unjustly persecuted are loved by God. Those who are unjustly treated are loved by God. Those who do evil are loved by God. Anyone who does me harm is loved by God.
Now, of course, God doesn’t love the sin, but He loves the sinner. I need to start responding the same way—loving others, not their sin. That is not easy, but with the Holy Spirit, I can love the unlovable. After all, I am not always lovable. I am a sinner saved by grace, yet Jesus died to save me. Looking at life this way is transformative. It has transformed my perspective in the last few months. I guess 2020 and all of its hurts and difficulties was good for something in my life.
4. Pray without Ceasing
Never stop praying. Don’t give up even when things are tough. God has a plan. He is working in your life.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. – I Thessalonians 5:14-20 (NKJV)
That passage of scripture is packed with a powerful message. For this article, I’m focusing on the “pray without ceasing” part. Praying and not seeing answers to your prayers can be disheartening. I know. I’ve prayed for years for a specific request and it hasn’t been answered. However, I am still praying for that because God has placed that dream on my heart, and I know that He has a perfect timing for everything.
Yet, I will keep praying without ceasing. My prayer time consists of a day / night long conversation with the Lord. It’s not about always asking for something. It’s about a relationship with the Lord and knowing that He seeks communion with me. So, I desire to commune with him.
Let that sink in. The God of the universe seeks communion with all of us.
How will you find a new voice for 2021?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel. Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel