I love the idea of choosing a word for the year. Instead of resolutions that fail 2 weeks later, a word centers your focus providing a path to growth.
In past years I have chosen characteristics like love, delight, and joy. Last year I chose the action of taking a step by faith. I then focus on verses and Bible studies centering around my chosen word to build my understanding and develop the attribute deeper in my life.
What Should My Word Be?
A few days ago, I was reading through James as part of the Keys of the Bible Study. I have a love/hate relationship with the book of James because while I love the direct wisdom that James shares, what James says consistently steps on my toes as I fall short in so many areas.
In thinking about my word for 2020, I felt a heaviness in reading the following verses.
We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.James 3:3-10 New Living Translation
Tame the Tongue
I have a tongue that “is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.” Sigh.
If you take a look at James 3, you notice that after the imagery of the produce and water, James jumps to another subject. No how-to or wisdom to fix the issue with a loose tongue. Almost like dropping the mic, he moves on leaving the reader puzzled how to fix the untamable animal.
Actually, I believe that James sprinkles the how-to in the rest of his book. He explains what Jesus said in Luke 6:45b, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
I love this further explanation by Scott Morgan.
Imagine if you will this diagram: A bicycle chain connecting heart and mouth. Our mouth is driven by what preoccupies our heart. Bridling our tongue means dealing with our heart first—not merely avoiding blurting out unkind words.
It Starts with the Heart
James explained further, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Once I submit, I can resist the urge to speak before thinking, using unkind words when I am hurt, and raising my voice in anger.
It begins with submitting my wants, time, and words. Once I no longer attempt to control my life, God can come in and do with it what He desire. And in submission I will see my tongue be tamed and my life be changed.
And so my word for 2020 is submit.
What’s Your Word for 2020?
Take a moment in the next 24 hours to think about where God is directing you. If you need help getting started, Dayspring has developed a free quiz to help you discover your word.
Once you’ve chosen your word, join us on the private ABCJLM Facebook group where we will be sharing ideas.
I don’t know what this next year holds. But I desire to submit my wants, time, and words to God’s desires.