If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. — Luke 9:23
Everywhere in the blogosphere I turn this week I’ve read about finding my one word for 2014. It’s been the topic of many a post that’s made its way to my inbox. One even had a link to the One Word movement’s website (who knew?).
I recognize that I’m not the most up-to-date gal out there, but I had no idea this was such a big thing. I’ve often heard people speak about having a focus Bible verse for the year or a particular area to work on. But labeling a year with one word is new to me.
So, I began to look over last year and see if I could determine what one word would sufficiently fit 2013. When I started the year, I probably would have said “focus.” And much of what I learned over the next twelve months did direct me to keep my focus on the Lord and not circumstances.
Looking back now, though, the one word I believe best describes 2013 would be GRACE. My, how we were blessed with God’s magnificent grace! The year was filled with miracles, loving support, unexpected provision, amazing peace and joy, and a whole host of other blessings brought about by the sweet love of God. He taught me to trust in His grace as the all-sufficient conduit for our every need.
Of course, 2013 is behind us, and we are indeed grateful for all those blessings. Now it is time to look ahead to 2014.
I suppose I could have picked anything to focus on this year. But I wanted it to be God’s choice. (He knows me best!) Through prayer, it became pretty clear what I needed to work on: denying self, sacrifice, humility, and love. Four separate things, and yet, they are interrelated.
Denying self is a form of sacrifice, and doing it for the sake of the Lord and others is a form of love and humility.
The Lord keeps impressing on my mind Jesus’ words in Luke 9:23: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
I’ll admit it…I don’t like to deny myself. In a former post I shared about my tendency to be self-centered and give in to the things I desire. I like living in my comfort zone. God knows me so well! But a self-centered life is not a Christ-centered life. And I need to learn some lessons.
Compelled to find just one word based on those four things, I believe I have discovered a word that just might fit: SELFLESS. It might not mean those four things to anyone else, but it is a way for me to remember in one tight little word what I should strive for each day of this year.
SELFLESS…to deny my wants over the needs and wants of others
SELFLESS…to sacrifice whenever God places opportunities of ministry before me
SELFLESS…to humbly submit to my Lord in every way
SELFLESS…to not think of myself more highly than I ought
SELFLESS…to go out of my way to show love to others
SELFLESS…to obey God and trust my life to His control
SELFLESS…to love the Lord my God with all my heart and all my soul and all my strength
You know what? I completely forgot about it on New Year’s Day. I did! I was completely engrossed in having a quiet holiday and doing whatever I wanted to do. Oops. (Forgive me, Lord.)
I’m afraid that’s often how it is with me. I pray and strive to see what God wants me to do, and just as soon as I get my answer, I forget. I keep doing what I’ve always done.
But praise be to God! The Bible tells us His compassions are new every morning: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Therefore, today is a start-fresh day. And this is the day God has called me to. I must focus on denying myself and loving others in humility each and every day. Otherwise, I will get sidetracked, and this time next year SELFLESS won’t describe my year at all.
So, that’s my one word for this year—SELFLESS.
Post images by Sabra Penley
Scripture from the New International Version of the Bible, 1984