Contributed by Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain
The election is over, the holidays are behind us and the future is before us. January 20, 2017 is the inauguration of our next president. The discourse over the last year has been mean-spirited, coarse and rude on all sides.
I am old enough to remember when civility ruled in everything we did. No longer.
The Bible has the answer to how we should conduct ourselves. There is a spiritual battle going on for the minds and souls of men. This was the cause of the conduct of the last year.
Obedience to God and His word should be what we strive for in 2017.
1) Spiritual Battle (Ephesians 6:10-12)
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
(The battle is being waged by the forces of evil, Satan himself.)
2) Spiritual Mind (Philippians 2:1-3, 4:8-9) Key Verses 2 and 8
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
(Mercy, like mindedness, love and being of one accord, are qualities that will help us to be more civil during 2017.)
3) Spiritual Conversation (James 3:1-18) Key Verses 10, 17-18
“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
(Our tongues can be a blessing or a curse. Let us try and practice the characteristics above.)
4) Spiritual Fruit (Galatians 5:22-3)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
(These character traits when applied to a person’s life will change them and others around them. This is the opposite of what I have seen this last year.)
5) Spiritual Conduct (2 Peter 1:1-12) Key Verses 3-9
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
(Temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, charity or love would help to dispel the discontent.)
6) Spiritual Trust (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
(Men and women cannot change our country. Only trust in God, His plan and His way will do it. He promises to direct our paths.)
7) Spiritual Cleansing (1 John 1:9)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(We as individuals will fail. We must repent of our sins and allow God to cleanse us.)
Applying these truths during 2017 will give us a year of contentment, joy and peace.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain