It’s the “one word” sensation that’s sweeping the nation. Rather than create - and then destroy - a list of new year resolutions, what if we picked just one word to focus on? One word to be an anchor in the tumult of life. One word to commit to. One word that would infiltrate our thoughts, our hearts, our spirits, taking up residence, and reminding us again and again where our focus should be, what action to take, or not take as the case may be. Could one word be more powerful than 10 firm resolutions?
For me, that would be yes. It’s hard for me to stick to resolutions. I falter one time and the list falls apart like a house of cards.
Yesterday I prayed with a friend who is struggling and shared with her the "one-word" concept so that in her times of anxiety, she could focus on one word rather than a laundry list of resolutions or personal expectations. Heard from her this morning, and already she is reaping the benefits.
So for the past 2 years, I joined the “one word” community. In 2013, my word was “NOW.”
In 2014, it was “FAITHFULNESS.”
In similar fashion it seems, my word for 2015 is “OBEY.” Not in a stern taskmaster way, but in a “if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in them” way. (1 Jn. 2:5)
Obedience is a hallmark of a healthy relationship with God. From the beginning to the end:
- “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility..” (Gen. 17:9)
- “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.” (Rev. 22:7)
While many of God’s promises are unconditional:
- He will never leave or forsake us. (Deut. 31., Joshua 1:5, Heb. 13:5)
- Nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Rom. 8:38-39)
Other promises are conditional, that is they are based upon our obedience to Him. And to receive those promises, we must do our part. I call them If/Then promises:
- IF we abide in the Vine, THEN we will bear fruit (John 15:5-8)
- IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
- IF you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, THEN shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.( Isaiah 58:10-11)
These commands are easy to obey when we remember that WHO we are being obedient to, One who has my best interests at heart.
And yet, sometimes I falter. I'm not alone:
“For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command:
Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you,that it may go well with you.
But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. (Jer. 7:23-24)
When they were small, I used to tell my kids that delayed obedience is dis-obedience. And I find myself guilty of the same thing. So far in these 1st two weeks of 2015, I sense God's gentle reminder "obey" at times that I'm tempted to delay. My prayer is that as I obey without delay this year, I'll finally accomplish what He's called me to.