Updated: Aug 29
Today marks the beginning of a brand new year. It is during this time when many strive to have a new mindset and formulate new habits. Many move forward eagerly anticipating what the new year has in store for them. The excitement of a fresh start has us inundated with new ideas, new strategies, new hobbies, and new opportunities. We are sometimes so overwhelmed just thinking about all the new encounters, new goals, and activities we want to accomplish. We become happy about the new changes that we so badly want to occur in the new year. So much so, that often times we move forward without calculating the cost of our desires which can sometimes prove fatal. As we move forward in the midst of "newness," we should be mindful that there is always one person or thing that remains the same in his tactics to cause harm - the enemy!
1 Peter 5:8 tells us: "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
I was reminded of his pursuits this morning while playing golf. The weather was beautiful and unseasonably warm, everyone was home resting so I couldn't resist the urge to start my new year out with a round of golf. It started great! I had no one in front of me, no one behind me and all the time in the world to hit another ball if I didn't like the first one (just for practice) and nothing else competing for my time. I was in my place of serenity without a care in the world. But as I was walking along leaving the 8th hole getting ready to cross a bridge, I was stopped dead in my tracks by - a snake.
I immediately wanted to retreat and go another route, but I was encouraged by the Holy Spirit to take a stand and to make him move out of my way! So I pulled out my longest club and pushed my cart toward him until he retreated into the woodline. I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride in my stance, but it also taught me a valuable lesson about this year — one that God always provides us with a weapon to fight against the enemy. The second is that we must in this new year "Proceed with caution" in all our endeavors.
Sometimes we can get ahead of ourselves thinking about exciting and new adventures. It is vitally important that we pause at times and take a look at what's in front of us. When we can determine that it's safe, we then move forward in confidence: not confidence in ourselves but confidence in a source thats greater than us - God. I couldn't help but think about what Peter was instructing to the church in Chapter 5 as he encouraged them to trust in God's power.
In verse 7, he says "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
God cares deeply about us and knows what lies ahead in each of our lives. As we move forward, we can seek him for guidance and instructions in everything we encounter.
God gives us the ability that we can move boldy in his directions without fear. Although the enemy is every lurking, we have the power to resist him and move forward in faith. So as we begin this new year, I implore us all to proceed with caution. Many of us have big plans, visions, and dreams we are passionate about accomplishing. But we must understand that the enemy is still seeking to steal, kill, and destroy every new adventure, new habits, new goals and new opportunities that God has for you. But have faith when we do encounter the enemy, that we can proceed because God cares for us and has our best interest at heart.
"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." 1Peter 5:10
Have a great year and may God continue to bless you richly in all your endeavors!
Dr. Stephone A. Berry is an Associate Minister at Christian Faith Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated with a Master of Divinity in Ministry Studies and earned a Doctorate of Ministerial Leadership from Columbia International University.