How strong is your faith? Do you have the faith and confidence in God to really believe we are His children and servants, with all that entails? Last Sunday Robin stepped in for Jim Bilton to remind us of the strength of conviction available through Christ.

Indeed, we could be the very tools with which the final shackles are struck off the gates of the Kingdom. Yet, despite this great potential, our lives can seem small and petty, a round of the mundane, leading to feelings of meaninglessness and futility.

If last year was not a year of significant progress for you, does that make you apprehensive for the future? If so, look to Paul. His desire, like ours, was to always do good. Yet he couldn’t seem to make that happen. Instead he saw himself doing wrong, even when he didn’t want to. How human!
Indeed, it is the sin within that acts. And, thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, that sin can be blotted away. This is the very nature and purpose of our religion – to believe, really believe, so we can derive those benefits. Because, let’s face it, evil is no part of God. It is a self-inflicted human wound.

So, what reasons, during the tests and trials of life, including all the small mundane ones, do we have for believing that a higher power is working for the good of all creation, and for our benefit?

We know the victory was achieved through the apparent weakness of Christ, the only perfect man. True religion teaches that we do not need to be snared in our old selves. True peace of mind comes with our attempts to serve him. Nothing more. Not mysticism. Just Christ’s “easy burden” of simple belief, acted out. Paul did this, and it amazed the Jews. God protects His true servants. As Peter says: “We did not invent clever stories.” Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Not that he only believed. He acted on his belief too – through his preparedness to sacrifice his son Isaac. As James says, faith without deeds is no good.

So, maybe 2010 was not good. No matter. It is buried. What matters is the opportunities that remain to us. Do not be despondent, be cheerful. We are part of God’s family and He will look after us. God did not spare His own son, graciously giving us all things through him. “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And we are those descendants if we do His will. And if we do, that will rid us of the fear and despondency that can catch us out.

“If God is for us, who can be against us.”