We’re almost at the time of year when bloggers start considering their word for the next year.
For many, choosing a word for the year replaces a list of resolutions. That one word gives them focus for the year. Christians who do this usually pray about it leading up to the new year and feel this word has been given to them or impressed on them by God. They often plan activities, reading, or Bible study around their word.
I’ve read wonderful testimonies about how God has worked in someone’s heart through meditating on their word for the year.
It’s a fine practice.
I’ve never felt particularly led to do it myself. I’ve studied or focused on one topic for a while, but not necessarily from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.
Perhaps you’ve never felt led to choose a word for the year and you wonder if you’re missing out. Or perhaps you’ve chosen one in the past but, like a forgotten New Year’s resolution, it soon faded out of memory.
I just want to emphasize a few truths:
God never tells anyone in the Bible to choose a word, a theme, or a verse for the year. He never tells anyone not to do any of those things, either. It’s just one method of studying and applying God’s Word.
God may lay on your heart to study a certain topic, truth, characteristic, etc. from the Bible, and that may or may not coincide with January 1 and may or may not last a year.
Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Commentary I’ve read for that verse said that the lighting they had in Bible times only shone a step or two ahead. God often guides that way–day by day, just enough for the next step. Of course, He knows what is ahead and may well prepare people for it through a word for the year. But I have found that to happen through my daily Bible reading or sermons or Sunday School lessons I hear. It’s amazing how often God’s truth intersects my experience through a book I picked up seemingly randomly.
What’s more vital than a word for the year is daily seeking God in His Word.
Whether or not one chooses a word for a year, it’s good to read the Word of God every day. God can teach us through an extended focus on one word or concept. But He promises to give us guidance, hope, encouragement, and so much more as we meet with Him daily.
Granted, most people who choose a word for the year don’t do so at the exclusion of other Bible reading. Their main focus might be that one word, but they probably also follow a Bible reading plan and attend a Bible study group or church where they hear other parts of the Bible taught.
There’s value in reading large chunks of the Bible to keep the big picture in mind, and there’s value in camping out in a smaller section for a while. We need the panoramic lens to take in the beauty and wonder of the big picture of God’s Word and to place everything in context. We also need the macro lens for close-ups, for camping out with a verse at a time and mining its truths. I wrote about reasons and ways to do both here. For many, their one word is that close scrutiny.
While many people find great value in choosing a word for the year, those who don’t use that method shouldn’t feel they’re missing out or somehow not as spiritual. People have gotten by for millennia without a word for the year. On the other hand, just because this practice is relatively new doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. If choosing a word for the year has been a great blessing for you, or you think it might be, or you think it’s something God wants you to do, go for it, and may God bless you in it.
Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Let’s be faithful to partake of that bread in some way every day.
(Revised from the archives)
(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)