The humm of faith in the body of Christ is a wonderful sound. It is like the sound of bees inside the hive. You just know that there is something sweet being worked in there! That is the way it is at the church these days. Let me conjecture why...
1. Faith- there is something dynamic about a fresh start (see last years sermon by the title on the podcast). We have faith that this year will be different. Many of us have ventured into new commitments to live and give as Christians; some have recommitted to reading the scriptures afresh; some to prayer or fasting; even diets bring a new course of discipline into our lives.
2. Prayer-There always seems to be fresh prayers prayed at the beginning of a year. For me, God closed out the year with a powerful prophetic word that has begun to be fulfilled. I can't tell you (for the sake of modesty) what that word told me to do but there has been an amazing harvest to the sowing in prayer that came as a result of that prophecy. the new dedication to pray is a powerful HABIT that needs to be developed. It is a part of the spiritual disciplines of the men and women of God.
Amazingly, there are Christians for whom the shine has already worn off for the first of the year. Some of this is due to their own disobedience and some to their lack of vision and follow through. God doesn't answer prayers that aren't lifted to him! Wisdom doesn't come into our hearts from the mere ownership of the scripture- we have to read/study it! And- by the way- we can regroup, repent, and restart this year with prayer and faith in a matter of seconds. (Good news for those that have faltered)
But great caution must be taken by the body. First, that no pride fill our hearts for that which God is doing in our lives. He is divine and we are de- branches! as Keith Green used to say. All that is good that is in our lives flows from his amazing inner river. Pride makes us the enemy of God. He cannot work with us when we are blinded by our own self reliance, when we are seeking to please the fleshly nature and not fulfill our love-obligation to God. Second, little foxes will come to spoil the vine. They may be seemingly innocuous at first, small offences, judgmentalism, trifling temptations, and little issues. If we let them- they will creep into monstrous strongholds in our lives. I remember as a young christian man my surrender of the life of my eyes. I began praying (and continue to pray to this day) Ps 101 "I will set no vile thing before my eyes." At first that struggle with pornography was easy but little vices along the way, small compromises left unchecked, made room for it again in my life. I had to be ruthless in my commitment to purity. Now days that struggle is merely a memory and is a testimony of the saving and purifying grace of Christ. Similarly, we have to make sure that no compromise is left unaddressed. We "don't give the devil a foothold" when we keep our accounts short.
Finally, there is an enemy who seeks to stir up trouble. He, this insidious trouble maker looks to spoil the work of God, first in the individual, then in the body. Don't let the enemy steal your joy. He wants to do it by leading you astray from the primal functions of your spirituality. In other words, stay with your first love. Practice the things you did at first (Rev. 2.5). Don't allow the enemy any presence in your life. Such a life has been hallowed by the very presence of Christ himself! You, as the dwelling place of God, are holy ground.
If we will commit our ways to the Lord (Ps 37) he will make our righteousness shine... that tells me that it becomes noticed by others- in ways that gives God praise, gives fellow strugglers encouragement, and gives notice to the devil. The world is looking for people of faith like that.
Today can be the day they see it.