Several years ago I stopped making New Year resolutions, because, let’s face it, they were broken the first month (sometimes the first week!)–like walking again or eating healthier! I heard about instead, creating a #oneword and a Scripture verse(s) to go along with it.
When I began to do this, I no longer felt condemnation that I was breaking my New Year resolutions so quickly. I also discovered that as I earnestly prayed to God about this matter, the #oneword always turned out to be a prophetic theme for the entire year.
Red cardinals joy decoration
For example, my #oneword in 2018 was JOY. At times, last year was anything but joyful! There were many hard times. I have cried a lot the last several years, more than I ever have in my entire life.
We all have stress and battle worries–relationship problems. Business or ministry challenges. Health issues. Financial struggles. But joy is a choice. You can be joyful even in adversity or a major crisis! Joy is not the same as happiness.
God wants us happy, just as we do our own children. But joy, like faith, isn’t based on circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) We must choose faith, and we must choose joy.
Compass pointing north
Image source: Google
Usually, the last week of December of each year, I pray about the coming new year, for God to protect and bless me and my family and friends, for His guidance and presence with us, and for a #oneword and Scripture(s) for the coming year.
I ask Him to be mine and my family’s compass, our “true north.” (This expression comes from the great chick flick movie, Message In A Bottle, with Kevin Costner!)
Message in a Bottle movie
God speaks in a myriad of ways to His children:
- primarily through His holy word, the Bible;
- by His still, small voice to our hearts as we pray and listen to Him;
- from other people, sharing His words of truth and encouragement;
- in nature (“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”–Psalm 19:1, NIV);
- through signs in the sky, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. (Luke 21:25);
- in other signs, such as red cardinal birds, mourning doves, eagles, the wind, a billboard, a car’s bumper sticker, something said on a podcast, radio or TV show, a voice in a crowd, etc. Obviously, we can’t base our lives on these “signs,” but God can speak to His children however He wants to get His message of truth across to us. Sometimes it’s like He needs a two by four to get the message through our thick heads and stubborn hearts!
Just prior to January 2019 beginning, I noticed the words “humble” and “humility” in a couple of different places. First, the words Stay HUMBLE were inscribed on chapstick that I’d received in a gift box.
Stay humble chapstick gift
That’s interesting, I thought. The words “humble” and “humility” started popping up like Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter popcorn on Facebook posts.
Image source: Google
Then I started seeing the words a LOT! A recurrent theme.
Oh no, I thought in dread. Uh oh—wait a minute! That’s my one word for 2019, isn’t it, God?
I knew what that meant (God was going to smash my PRIDE), and heck no, I did NOT want that word! Which is probably exactly why He is giving it to me!
Why couldn’t I get a nicer, easier, funner word like adventures? Or dream bigger? Or overflow, especially in our bank account? Or laughter?
But no. My words are humble and humility! Yes, I know humility is a beautiful, Christ-like virtue and God is doing this for my own good.
You and I know there is just no use fighting God. In the end, He’s going to get His way. Because He’s God!
Jacob wrestling with God
Image source: Google
We can wrestle with Him until daybreak like Jacob did (Genesis 32:22-32), but we’ll walk away with a painful limp. God is bigger and more powerful than you and me, so we might as well submit and obey!
So I started researching the definition of humility to begin preparing spiritually for 2019. (Here goes nothing!)
- freedom from pride or arrogance;
- a lack of ego;
- lowness; an attitude of service;
- the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance;
- serving others for their good, as well as your own;
- a realistic appreciation of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.
Synonyms for humility include:
You know, traits that are so unlike me! People who know me well would NOT describe me as demure–reserved, bashful, shrinking. Instead, my sister Maria describes my approach in life more like “a bull in a china shop.”
Antonyms (the opposite) of humility are even more revealing–and alarming!
- imperiousness (domineering);
STOP! Is anyone else getting uncomfortable here?! Well, I sure am. But then it’s my #oneword, not yours–unless God says so!
Remember that pride, and then rebellion, was Satan’s sin. We don’t want to be like the devil, do we? I don’t!
Humility and gratitude
Mother Teresa said, “If you are humble, then nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
No doubt that I have some family members, or even friends, who will remind me throughout this year of my #oneword humility and how I am being so NOT humble!
Maybe humility isn’t your strong suit, either. I have good news, dear friend. When we stumble and fall, as we surely will, we can get back up.
That is why Jesus died for you and me; nobody is perfect but Him. He’s teaching us to be more like Him each moment.
You and I can breathe again, and be thankful that God’s mercies are new every beautiful morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
This week, I ordered a used copy of Andrew Murray’s book Humility from Amazon to start off the year right and plan to do other studies on this topic as well.
My Scripture verses for 2019, based on these words humble and humility are:
“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)
“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, NKJV. The NLT translation says, “And He gives grace generously.”)
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)
This last Scripture shows me that I need to be alert in Spirit this year. Satan wants to cause destruction in mine and my family’s life, to devour and kill us. I thank God that Jesus Christ is more powerful and the battle belongs to the Lord, who has the victory already!
The great news in all this? If we humble ourselves before God and cultivate a lifestyle of humility, depending on and trusting solely in Him, the Bible says God will give us HONOR and EXALT us! (Good surprises for us, for HIS glory!) Isn’t that exciting?
Do you have a #oneword, Scripture verse(s), and/or theme for the new year 2019? Please share it below with me! And let’s pray for each other this year to walk it out with God’s grace and help!