So there I was, sitting in worship, all happy with myself for choosing joy as my one word for the year. Our senior pastor was speaking at a conference, so our executive pastor was preaching. I knew I was in for a treat as I always walked away with a fresh take on things after one of his sermons.
I pulled out the sermon notes and saw the topic — New Year’s Resolutions. This was going to be great, I thought. Surely the confirmation I had lacked in my prayer life would come today. Joy it would be.
The lesson was from Isaiah 64-66, a long passage, but a rich one.
The sermon notes were divided into three sections: Act Justly, Love Faithfully, Walk Humbly.
The first note was right on point – Act Justly: “You welcome the one who joyfully does what is right; they remember You in Your ways.” Isaiah 64:5
Did you see that? The one who joyfully does what is right. Joy was right there. I had been praying for confirmation and there it was.
Pastor encouraged us to develop a closeness to God, nurture the fruit of the Spirit, do the next right thing and listen closely to God as he shapes our lives.
Joy was still there, but there was a rustling in my heart. A shift.
I leaned in for the second point.
Love Faithfully: “For I will create a new heaven and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind. Then be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight.” Isaiah 65:17-18
We are called to be a joy and a delight.
To be a joy and a delight, we must be people of service and brighten others’ day. To do this requires sacrifice.
We are called to sacrifice for others. Joy wasn’t enough.
In the third point, my word came to me.
Walk Humbly: “My hand made all these things, and so they came into being. This is the Lord’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit and trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:2
Except it wasn’t my word at all. It was His word. And he whispered it to me.
He then placed four areas of focus on my heart. My God, my family, my community and my health.
Nourish. I was to nourish those places.
As I sit here thinking about that moment, another verse comes to me. “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6
This community we are building together was created to nourish our hearts, our minds, our spirits. This is our inheritance. Isn’t it beautiful?
Tell me, are you focusing your one word on specific areas of your life? How did your word come to you?