Well, you knew it was going to happen eventually. Pretty soon we will all be inundated with 2020 year end reviews. Oh won’t those be fun. Then we will all start planning what we will be doing in 2021 as though the hardship of 2020 will end at the stroke of midnight on December 31st. (It’s a nice thought, and definitely something worth praying for, but alas!)
Normally I have a rule about skipping holidays. (Christmas comes after Thanksgiving, thank you very much.) However, today I am breaking my rule to skip ahead to some New Year’s resolutions I would like us all to consider. Here is a list of a few things I think the American Church should stop doing and some that we should start doing. Ready?
- First of all, we should stop being so angry. Now I get it, there is a lot to be angry about. There are a lot of things that really should provoke us and move us to action. Things like . . . I don’t know . . . human trafficking. However, that is not the type of anger I am talking about. I am talking about the frothing at the mouth, yelling in the face of someone, screaming obscenities type anger. The type you see from the nutjobs yelling at hourly wage employees because their coupon expired or the ones posting on Facebook or Parler threatening to beat up people who voted differently than they did. The Church in 2021 would do well to remember the words of James, the brother of King Jesus:
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.James 1:19-21 Emphasis added
In Galatians 5:20, Paul writes that the works of the flesh are, among other things, “enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, and divisions.” Does that sound like anyone we know in 2020? Does it sound like the person we see in the mirror every day? In 2021, let’s make sure to trade these out for the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
- Second, in 2021, let’s not be so quick to jump on the conspiracy theory bandwagons. Are there spiritual forces, principalities and powers, at work in this world in rebellion against God? Of course there are (Ephesians 6:11-12). However, when Christians are more caught up in the latest QAnon nonsense or are more driven defending flat-earth theory than they are the cause of Christ, there is a problem. It is one thing to be thought a fool for following Jesus. It is something else entirely if people think Christ is foolish because I come across like a tin-foil hat wearing lunatic.
- Third, can we please, please stop idolizing celebrities? Whether celebrity preachers or celebrity politicians, they are human beings. Pray for them, yes. However, just because someone has a platform does not mean they have God’s favor. Let us be more discerning like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who tested the words of Paul against scripture. Check the fruit of their lives before you follow after them. Even then, remember your ultimate allegiance is to Christ.
I could go on, but I will stop here. 2020 has been a trial by fire for the American church. Let’s be honest and admit that it has revealed some impurities within us. I know it has revealed somethings in my own heart that need work. Going forward, let us learn the lessons well, scrape off the dross, and go into 2021 as better ambassadors for God’s Kingdom.