Core scripture: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12: 12).
Message: A few years ago a good friend of mine encouraged me to get rid of my New Year’s resolutions. I laughed at him. I had always been one to write out at least four or five goals for the new year, and I wasn’t going to allow him to stop me. I mean, what’s wrong with setting goals, right?
“Why?” I asked curiously.
“What good does it do to make resolutions only to see them fade away by February or March?” he countered back.
Touché. We talked for a while over coffee, and he enlightened me on how he revamped his New Year’s resolutions for that year. All he did was examine his life and boil everything down to one word. One word that would define his year. One word that needed a bit of work. One word that would wrap up every goal he had into a single package. The idea came from a book he had read.
I liked it. I liked it so much that I tossed my New Year’s resolutions out the door and prayerfully began searching for my one word. Once I found it, I googled it to come up with the perfect scripture that I could define it by. Finally, I began recreating the New Year’s goals I had worked on earlier, all dealing with that single word.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is!
My word for this past year was faith. I had lost it the year before, especially in the fall and winter months of 2015. It was almost a no-brainer for me. Sure enough, as the months of 2016 began to take shape, faith became a solid foundation for my life. I was more surefooted. I believed more. I took steps in sharing my testimony. And all the while I kept my hope in Jesus, the foundation of my faith.
December 2016 came. I realized I had not thought deeply about my new word for 2017 yet. So, I prayed about it. I asked God to assist me in revealing that one word that needed to be in my life. His whisper was all too clear: patience. Patience in letting my students mature in their grammar. Patience in finding the right timing to go public with my testimony. Patience in witnessing to my family. Patience in getting back to a respectable weight (yeah, the holidays were rough on me).
The scripture to support patience was a tap-in putt as well. Breaking down Romans 12: 12 enlightens me on how to tackle the new year. Rejoice in hope … Keep that positive focus. Know that God will work everything for our good. Be patient in tribulation … Trials will come your way, but cling to patience through it all. Finally, be constant in prayer … Let prayer drive your life. Communicate with God on a regular basis throughout the day, and let His principles flood your heart.
So, what about you? Do you have a word that needs some fine tuning in your life? Pray about it. Let God reveal an area of focus, and rely on Him to change it. You can’t change it on your own. If you’re struggling with ideas, look no further than the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5: 22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” You can’t argue with any of those!
You are one step away from creating a new you in 2017. Don’t hold anything back! Through His power, ALL things are possible. May your 2nd semester be blessed by God and all He has planned for you.
Challenge: Do some soul searching this week. Prayerfully ask God to reveal an area of your life that you need to work on. When you find that one word to concentrate on, seek a scripture that you can revolve your year around. Put it to heart. Journal about your feelings or meet with an accountability partner to discuss. Set some goals on what you would like to achieve throughout the year, and begin taking steps in the right direction.
Song to bring it home: It seems like we’re always one step away from making the right changes in our lives. We have the best intentions, and then we fall back into bad habits. In Casting Crown’s song “One Step Away” the lyrics sing, “Lay down, lay down your old chains. Come now and take up your new name. Your best life up ahead now. You’re one step away.” What an awesome way to dive into 2017!
Prayer: Father, where do You need me to go this year? What do you need me to do? Where am I lacking, Lord? Reveal the areas of my life that need to be worked on, and allow me to submit them to You. I pray You will lead me down a new path this year that will draw me closer to You. Amen.