For several years Life Church has challenged its staff, elders, covenant members and regular attenders to prayerfully consider a single word on which to focus for the year. This closely follows the process presented in Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen's book, "My One Word" (http://myoneword.org/). Peppered throughout the year, we plan to present some of these words here, on the blog.
For some people, this means you are over a month into the “new you,” when you are working to change a habit, routine or otherwise better yourself and it is going well. Clothes are looser, those salads taste better than you thought, getting up early to study the Bible has become something you look forward to rather than dread, or any of the other ways this newness is becoming a good thing.
For others, this means you are ready to give up and the change is just too hard. Perhaps you were too ambitious or too goal-oriented, and you feel defeated. The new you is just a 2018 version of the old you, only now maybe a little less optimistic.
Regardless of which end of this spectrum you may find yourself, I believe my One Word for 2018 can be of some help and encouragement – STEADFAST!
You see, 2018 is likely and, hopefully, going to be a year of truly life-changing things for my family. In January, we became licensed by the State to foster-to-adopt, and we are waiting patiently for the call that the child God has for us is ready to meet us. How cool is that! Beyond that, we are working toward building a house, my company is building a new location, we are on a new budget, and the work at Life Church is never busier or better. And these are just the things I think will happen this year; who knows what other things God has in store or how He will move and change these things.
Yet, with all of these good things comes a dangerous pitfall – my nature.
If I know anything about myself, it is that left unchecked, I will return again and again to relying wholly on myself and leaving God entirely out of the equation. My One Word reminds me that I am called to be diligent in my faith and steadfast in my whole reliance on Him. In essence, all of my duty in steadfastness is to rely entirely on His steadfastness, which never changes.
Thankfully, as our Life Group embarked on a new study last week of The Book of James, this reminder was impossible to ignore.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” James 1:2-4 (ESV).
So, as I fight this year to stand steadfast in my pursuit of Him and His ways, may I encourage you to do the same. Regardless of how your resolutions may be going and how good those things may be, let James’ words soak in and be reminded that the outcome of steadfastness may not be a smaller waistline, but being made perfect and complete in the eyes of Christ.
Michael serves as an Elder at Life Church. He loves spending time with his life group, especially around a campfire. Email him at