To get the new year started there was an insurgence of the One Word theory. If you didn’t catch it on television or through social media, the premise is to choose one word that becomes your guiding influence, your doctrine to live by throughout the year. Since I don’t make New Years Resolutions this idea appealed to me because it was like having a snap-in piece of the puzzle I was already working on. In the past, I’ve chosen favorite words that speak to me; some would define them as call to action words. I define them as words to live by. Words like integrity, wisdom, knowledge, joy, understanding, patience, love, persevere, faith, discernment. I like the way Proverbs 16:21 sort of pulls them all together “The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.” One online community group posted the question: If you had one word to live by this year, what would it be? The responses were often accompanied by why the contributor chose their word. There were so many meaningful words – why not make a poster to frame and hang in the space above my desk? I couldn’t think of a reason not to – so here’s the result of the 46 words contributed by members of the LinkedIn group Inspirational Leadership, Management and Engagement – People Discovery.
Ten years ago I was watching a Joyce Meyers program where she said, “Sometimes I need a word from the Lord.” You know? Sometimes I need a word from the Lord. In fact there are deep chasms in my life that will be satisfied only with a word from the Lord – infusions of words from the Lord. When I chose my One Word to live by for 2014, I knew in reality there would be more than one word touching my conscience and enlightening my spirit. My word, discernment, acknowledges choices and decisions. Some days don’t you just feel like you need a word from the Lord? Do you ever stop what you’re doing and say right out loud “This is just not right. I’m getting nowhere. OK, Lord, here I am totally lost for what to do. Change my attitude, sooth my frenzied emotions, change my heart.” This morning in our church service a young man whose life emulates his heart for God sang “Do you still feel the nails every time I fail….Am I causing Him pain…then I know I have to change.” Have you ever prayed, ‘Lord please change me’ and really mean it? Have you considered the dynamics at work in a sincere prayer like that? Consider these two comparison verses to understand the battle that’s unleashed when we pray, ‘Lord, take the person I’ve become and change me to be the person you desire me to be. ‘
When we seek to have a heart like God’s, be assured He is looking for us too, to strengthen us. 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” So smooth sailing. Right? Not at all. The enemy of our souls descends on us with perfect aim, targeting the place in our life most vulnerable to breaking. Our family, our job, our finances, our hobbies, our friends …. Take a look at 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This is not a cute cuddly lion we love in Disney movies; this is the vicious lion that has long sharp teeth capable of tearing a leopard or cheetah to shreds, but normally kills by strangulation. “Your enemy the devil … seeks to devour.” Devour pretty much ends all good intentions. The devil will attack us in the place we care most about, the place that has our heart. The battle between good and evil is fought every time we pray, “Lord, give me a heart like yours.” I’m convinced that God created us with a need for relationships so we can help each other, pray for each other, and encourage each other over the rough patches of loss, illness, grief, and sadness. Ephesians 4:20-30 talks about how to live but I’m especially drawn to these verses “be made new in the attitude of your minds; put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness; be kind and compassionate to one another”.
I received a word from the Lord this morning. When Pastor Al cemented the truth that if we are not wholly committed to God, we will crumble. My word for the year, discernment, becomes even more essential to living life inside God’s plan. Last week, in one of my Bible readings, I found this verse and it was like water poured over a parched and withering plant. Ezekiel 36:26-27 “I will plant a new heart and new spirit inside of you. I will take out your stubborn, stony heart and give you a willing, tender heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit inside of you and inspire you to live by My statutes and follow My laws.” It might not speak to you the same that is spoke to me, but it was like hearing Jesus say over roaring, gusting winds “Peace be still.”
Do you need a word from the Lord? Tell him. He’ll lead you to it if you ask.