As we’ve entered a new year and decade, many social media posters have designated a “word” for their new year. This word apparently reflects the heart of the person posting it, and it summarizes a theme that they will be cultivating throughout the year. Some have even asked for others to comment on the post with a good word for the person to take to heart through the year.
What comes to your mind when you think of a “word” for you to emphasize in your life for the year? There are some good ones, for sure: “Expectation.” “Boldness.” “Consistency.” “Intentional.” “Engaged.” “Perseverance.” “Disciplined.” “Gratitude.” These and others like them can be encouraging and useful reminders to keep our minds in good, biblical places. (Proverbs 15:23 (“[A] word in season, how good it is!”)
I’ve not previously chosen a particular word or even a theme for a new year, but it is an interesting thought. One thing I wouldn’t want to do, though, is miss the benefit of the whole counsel of the
Word of God for focusing on a word. I want His whole Word, every single word of it—the good, the promises, the hard-to-hear-at-times, the soothing, the instruction, and of course the wisdom.
It is the Word of God—the Holy Bible—that is still a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Ps. 119:105) It is the Scriptures that we are to store up in our hearts so as not to sin against God. (Ps. 119:11) It is God’s Word by which we guard our way to keep ourselves pure. (Ps. 119:9) And it is His Word that is sharper than any two-edged sword, capable of dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intents of the human heart. (Heb. 4:12) In a day when even many within our churches are biblically illiterate, we as followers of Christ must be committed to reading and studying God’s Word, and putting it into practice in our daily lives.
We are instructed in the Scriptures to take the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” as part of putting on the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:17) What does that mean to you, and how will you obey that directive in this year and decade? We know that we don’t battle spiritually with “flesh and blood,” but rather against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) Do your present habits of reading and meditating on the Word position you for victory in this spiritual war that every Christian is waging? If not, it’s never too late to begin.
First, decide to do it! As a wise minister of the gospel recently shared, “If you spend five minutes a day reading the Bible, increase it to ten. If you spend fifteen minutes a day, increase it to thirty.” Maybe you’ve not been consistent in reading the Bible at all. Start by opening it up. Get a reliable translation that you can understand. Find a devotional or other companion to help stoke your affection for learning more of God’s Word. (But don’t let that be a substitute for reading the Bible itself.) Read books and chapters of the Word that speak to you where you are presently in life; then expand your reading as you become more disciplined to the reading of God’s Word. We simply cannot be successful followers of Christ if we don’t know what the Scriptures tell us.
If you, like some of the social media posters, have a theme word for 2020—embrace it and allow the Lord to use a good word to encourage you through this year. But let each of us followers of Christ be even more resolute to avail ourselves of the whole counsel of God’s Word. Father, may this be a year and decade of relentless pursuit of Your Word in our lives. Help us to be tenacious in our discipline to spend time learning Your heart through the Holy Scriptures.