My Verse and One Word for 2018
It has become my habit for the last few years to choose a word and/or Bible verse for the year. I first learned about one word for the year through email devotionals I received from America, but the practice is becoming more and more popular here in England too.
When I say, I choose a word and verse, I don't mean that I randomly choose a word just because I like the sound of it and neither do I choose a word based on what someone has chosen. No, in the wind-down of a year and in the first few weeks of a new year I spend time with God, asking him to reveal to me what he would like me to focus on for the coming year. When I do this, both the word and the verse have far more meaning and relevance to my life and I know God has good reasons for drawing my attention to them.
This year, the verse came before my word. I was in church one Sunday morning when the worship leader shared one particular verse. Immediately, God drew my attention to it and I felt it settle in my soul. I sensed he was saying to me, "This is important, take notice." The verse is this:
"Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring." Hosea 6:3 (NLT)
Later, that same day, as I spent some time with God, I turned to my emails and looked at the 'Verse of the Day' I receive from Bible Study Tools. There was the verse again. God was repeating it to me to make sure I was paying attention and I believe to stress it really was for me. I am so glad God repeats himself. When I repeat myself it comes from a place of irritation that I haven't been listened to properly the first time, but when God repeats himself he does so because he wants to make it clear that he has something important to say to us, something that is worth listening to and is for our good.
I have spent time meditating on this verse and have gleaned so much treasure from it. Some of which I want to share with you now:
"Oh, that we might know the LORD!" - can't you just hear the longing and the desire of the heart? I can, and the longing echoes in my heart. To know God, to really know him. Not on some superficial level, but in depth. Other translations explain 'to know' as to recognise, to be acquainted with, to understand, to acknowledge, to perceive and understand, to consider.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'to know' as to understand, to recognise the nature of, to be acquainted with or familiar with, to be aware of the truth, convinced or certain. Don't you long to know God in that way? I know I do.
"Let us press on to know him." - other Bible translations use the word 'strive' or 'pursue'. This speaks to me of being deliberate, being determined. Putting in the time and effort to really know God. To put aside and let go of any other distractions so that I might focus my attention on him. To persevere in knowing and being with God. I know perseverance is needed because I know just as clearly, that there will be times when I won't feel like doing this. When I'm tempted to put other things first, rather than making and keeping knowing God as my top priority.
Merriam-Webster defines 'to press' as 'to continue moving forward in a forceful or steady way, to continue to do something especially in a determined way.'
To press on also reminded me of the words of Paul in Philippians 3:12-14
So, my desire, my goal, my ambition, for 2018 is that I will press on to know God more and more. To follow where he leads. To eagerly pursue him and the ways that will help me to achieve this desire. To know God is to love him and to love him is to obey him.
We have that wonderful promise in the second half of verse three that when we do this then He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.
I really like the wording of this verse in the Amplified Bible:
“So let us know and become personally acquainted with Him; let us press on to know and understand fully the [greatness of the] Lord [to honor, heed, and deeply cherish Him].
His appearing is prepared and is as certain as the dawn,
And He will come to us [in salvation] like the [heavy] rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
Now for my word for this year. Although it is not mentioned in the verse, it is, for me, connected to it. My word is PERSEVERANCE.
This year is about:
...persevering in a close walk with God, having quality time with him, pursuing him, to really know him.
...persevering in what God has called me to do, even when I find it hard, when I feel discouraged, when I feel misunderstood, when I feel like giving up.
...persevering despite health difficulties, in spite of my weakness and frailties, trusting that he is my strength.
...persevering in trusting God with my family, believing that he is in control of all that happens.
In his book "Encyclopaedia of Bible Words", Lawrence Richards defines perseverance as "overcoming difficulties: it is facing pressures and trials that call for a steadfast commitment to doing right and maintaining a godly life."
This year I've also decided to do some personal Bible study on the word PERSEVERANCE. To explore where it is mentioned in the Bible, and what the Bible has to say about it, to learn from the men and women of the Bible whose lives exemplified perseverance, to learn what God wants to teach me about growing in perseverance and what relevance it has to my life this year.
To Think About:
Spend some time in January seeking God about the verse and/or word he has for you for the coming year.
Print on to card your verse and/or word and keep it where you will see it regularly as an aid for keeping it in your mind and heart.
Take time to meditate on the verse he gives you. For example, look at the keywords in it and what they mean, read it in various Bible translations etc.
Consider doing a word study of your chosen word. What may God be wanting to teach you through it?
I would love to know the verse and/or word that God directs you to for 2018. Please feel free to leave a comment on my blog to let me and other readers know.