It’s becoming more and more common for people to think of a word to set the stage for their new year rather than resolutions that get broken, often within the first week.
As my 2017 wrapped up, and for the last couple of weeks of the Christmas season, I had determined that my word for the year would be SERVICE. I had come across the passage in Matthew 20:26-28, when Jesus told His disciples, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Without going into details, Christmas is so much work on us mamas, and it had me worn out at one point, wishing it would just be over already. But Jesus reminded me that I needed to change my attitude to one of service to my family and others. And not only to serve, but to serve with joy.
There are also some areas within my church that I am planning to serve this year. Our Divorce Care for Kids ministry kicks off January 18th and I signed up to help with the Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine in February that our church is hosting. Really excited about both!
Again “service” just seemed like an appropriate word.
Then, while scrolling Facebook, I happened upon a little online test by Dayspring that you can take to determine your word for the year. I thought it would be fun to see what it came up with. Surprisingly, and yet not so surprisingly, my word was LOVE.
Expecting a word with a little more action or specific meaning, I first thought it to be vague.
I began to ponder all the areas I need to improve in my life, especially my spiritual life, and LOVE (the verb) is perfect.
Overlooks offenses. (Proverbs 17:9)
Chooses its words carefully. (Proverbs 12:25) (Proverbs 25:11) (James 1:26)
Is not judgmental. (Romans 14:13)
Makes time for others because it values relationships. (Romans 12:10; 13)
Prays and intercedes for others. (Romans 12:12)
Keeps its motives pure. (Proverbs 16:2)
Obeys God. (1 John 5:3) (2 John 5-6)
Reaches out to those who need comfort and encouraging. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Is kind to myself - takes care of my physical and spiritual body, focuses on my strengths instead of beating myself up over my past failures, puts an end to self-hate talk and comparisons. (1 Timothy 4:7-8) (2 Corinthians 10:5) (Galatians 5:25-26; 6:4)
Celebrates the success and talents of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
Is concerned for orphans, widows, and the lost. (James 1:27) (Matthew 18:10-14)
Is able because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19-21)
Is the greatest! (1 Corinthians 13:13)
And perhaps the icing on the cake for my word of the year is this – I decided to start the year backwards in my Bible reading and begin with Revelation. Chapter 2 – a letter to the church in Ephesus, really spoke to my heart and reinforced my word for the year.
The people of the church there were working hard for the Lord, they were intolerant of the sinfulness in their culture, they showed discernment in recognizing false teachings, they were standing firm in the faith and not growing weary in their work. However, they had forgotten their FIRST LOVE!
Repent and do the things you did at first. Revelation 2:4
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 22:37-40)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
The forgiving kind. (Ephesians 4:32)
The unfailing kind. (Psalm 130:7)
The God that sent His Son, Jesus to die on a cross for my sins kind. (John 3:16) (1 John 4:16)
Thank You, Jesus, that we can know love because You first loved us. Help me to love You with my whole heart– keeping You in Your right place as my First Love. May my love for You spill over into every other area of my life so that I may love and serve others in a way that fulfills Your purpose for my life and glorifies You! Give me eyes to see and ears to hear how I may “love” better this year. Amen.
Do you have a word yet for 2018? If this spoke to you, feel free to use mine. The world could certainly use more #love! :)
(c) Christy Long 2018