One Word versus New Year’s Resolutions
Instead of New Year’s resolutions, many people choose One Word for the year. Our One Word doesn’t have to complex or amazing, it just has to be relevant to the current season of our life.
One Word serves as a guide for the entire year. The simplicity of choosing one word prepares the way for growth. Our intentional focus leads to action to discover the meaning of our word. As we grow in understanding, we gain wisdom, insight, and the ability to embrace our One Word.
Resolutions are usually soulish, and drop by the wayside after a few weeks, but One Word acts as a guide for the year, helping us to be intentional in seeking God, and growing in wisdom during each season of the year.
It’s good to release expectations with its limiting parameters and allow God to lead us in understanding our One Word. God can and will help us grow in our One Word throughout the year.
Harvest – My 2021 Word
One word as a focus for the year 2021 helped me grow as a person. Harvest is both internal and external sowing and reaping. Harvest at its core is seeds. Once the seeds mature and produce fruit, we have a harvest that is tangible.
We want to plant seeds for life and godliness for a godly harvest and fruits of the Spirit. ~Lisa Blair
Harvest led me to study 2 Peter 1 about Life and Godliness, Colossians 3 the Garments We Wear, Ephesians 6 Our Armor, and Galatians 5 Fruit of the Spirit, all of which come back to seeds that lead to a godly harvest.
Harvest in Life and Godliness
2 Peter 1 guided me through March and April. Simon Peter reassures us Jesus Christ’s “divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3 NASB
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they do not make you useless nor unproductive in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~2 Peter 1:5-8 NASB
We want to grow in these qualities for they are the qualities of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Life and Godliness: Foundation and Faith – Our foundation in Christ. As we trust in the Lord, delight ourselves in Him, and cultivate faithfulness, we are transformed into His likeness. OT Faith is exemplified in Job; NT Faith is exemplified in the Woman with the issue of blood; Historical Life of Faith is exemplified in David Brainerd, missionary to Indian tribes on the Delaware River; Modern-Day Life of Faith is exemplified in Jim and Joan Yost lives, missionaries to Indonesia.
Life and Godliness: Moral Excellence – OT Moral Excellence is demonstrated in Mordecai; NT Moral Excellence is demonstrated in Jesus; Historical Life of Moral Excellence is demonstrated in Benjamin Franklin; Modern-Day Life of Moral Excellence is demonstrated through Samuel Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A.
Life and Godliness: Knowledge – OT Knowledge personified in King Solomon; NT Knowledge personified in the life of Paul; Historical Life of Knowledge personified in Eric Liddell, missionary to China, and Olympic runner; Modern-Day Life of Knowledge personified in Nikki Haley, former US Ambassador to UN, and former Governor of South Carolina.
Life and Godliness: Self-Control – OT Self-Control illustrated in Nehemiah; NT Self-Control illustrated in John 9 when the blind man was healed; Historical Life of Self-Control illustrated in Civil Rights Activist, Rosa Parks.
Life and Godliness: Perseverance – OT Perseverance epitomized in Naomi; NT Perseverance epitomized in Paul; Historical Life of Perseverance epitomized in Joan of Arc; Modern-Day Life of Perseverance epitomized in Nick Vujicic.
Life and Godliness: Godliness – OT Godliness represented by Esther, NT Godliness represented by Lydia; Historical Life of Godliness represented by Amy Carmichael, missionary to India.
Life and Godliness: Brotherly Kindness – OT Brotherly Kindness seen in Jonathan and David’s friendship; NT Brotherly Kindness seen in Barnabas relationship with Paul; Historical Life of Brotherly Kindness seen in Mother Teresa’s life, and ministry in India; Modern-Day Life of Brotherly Kindness is seen in the Red Cross organization as they minister to those devastated by natural disasters.
Life and Godliness: Love – OT Love symbolized in Daniel; NT Love symbolized in the story of the Good Samaritan; Historical Life of Love symbolized in George Washington Carver, educator and inventor of ways to use peanuts; Modern-Day Life of Love symbolized in the organization of World Vision.
Harvest in the Garments We Wear
Colossians 3 affirmed me throughout June and July.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also. In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. ~Colossians 3:12-14 NASB
Compassion – One of 8 Garments to Wear – Compassion can be any form that brings help and assistance. We looked at the winter storm of 2021, known as Snowmagedon 2021, and how United Rescue Alliance manifested compassion to those affected by the snow and ice in Taylor County, Texas. We examined practical ways to express compassion to others.
Kindness – One of 8 Garments to Wear – Kindness is “an act of good will, and any act of benevolence which promotes the happiness or welfare of others.” [Webster] We experienced kindness and grace towards an unwed pregnant teenager and saw Jesus’ kindness towards us as Savior.
Humility – One of 8 Garments to Wear – Humility is the opposite of pride. Humility leads us to be God worshipers and to serve others while pride leads us to self-worship and to self-service.
Gentleness – One of 8 Garments to Wear – 1 Peter 3 addresses our concerns for external garments and draws our attention towards our internal garments of a “gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”
Patience – One of 8 Garments to Wear – Patience is “the quality of bearing offenses and injuries without anger or revenge; the act of waiting long for justice without discontent; a calm temper which bears evils without murmuring; perseverance.” [Webster] I give several examples of walking with my students in patience and impatience. I taught school for twenty-six years before retiring in 2020.
Forbearance – One of 8 Garments to Wear – Forbearance or tolerance or self-restraint. Forbearance can be synonymous with patience. In 1 Corinthians 13, we see love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”
Forgiveness – One of 8 Garments to Wear – forgiveness is “the act of pardoning.” We can forgive someone face-to-face or after they have died. Forgiveness is an act of the will. It is a choice, not an emotion.
Forgiveness can be received in our hearts for the kindness, mercy and graciousness towards us. And if others choose to walk in unforgiveness toward us, we can choose to forgive them, and refuse offense, resentment or bitterness. Forgiveness allows internal healing for us, and if others join us, the healing can extend into our relationships.
Love – One of 8 Garments to Wear – Tested love is love that has experienced the fire of betrayal. We were inspired through Corrie ten Boom’s testimony of love, service, and forgiveness towards her tormentors through years of slave labor.
We were captivated by Darlene Deibler Rose’s evidence of trust, surrender, and love toward her cruel captors through years of captivity as a missionary turned civilian prisoner of war.
Harvest in Our Armor
Ephesians 6 fortified me in August. Armor adds a layer of protection while in battle.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ~Ephesians 6:13-17 NASB
Helmet of Salvation – One of 6 Pieces of God’s Armor – spiritual armor is to protect Believers in the spiritual battles which take place “against the rulers, powers, world forces of darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” that we might be able to stand and to stand firm. (Ephesians 6 NASB)
The Helmet of Salvation protects our minds that we might not be taken “captive through philosophy and empty deception,” but to walk with God, and reflect Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Colossians 2 NASB)
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. ~2 Corinthians 2:5
Breastplate of Righteousness – One of 6 Pieces of God’s Armor – comparing the breastplate of righteousness to The Kevlar (bulletproof vest) helped us understand the need to protect our hearts from unexpected advances of the enemy.
For Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. ~2 Corinthians 5:21 WEB
Buckle of Truth – One of 6 Pieces of God’s Armor – likening the buckle of truth to marital art belts, we see a powerful stance in Truth will protect us in Christ.
Your Word is Truth. ~John 17:17 NASB
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word [Jesus] was with God, and the Word was God. ~1 John 1:1 NASB
Gospel of Peace – One of 6 Pieces of God’s Armor – fitting our feet with the gospel of peace is similar to Olympic marathon runners selecting the proper shoes for running with endurance. We are to share the good news (through Christ, we have peace with God) all of our lives. The Gospel of Peace is a sure foundation for us to walk in the finished work of Christ.
Lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. ~Hebrews 12 NASB
Shield of Faith – One of 6 Pieces of God’s Armor – because of covid, we understand the importance of face shields or body shields. The shield of faith extinguishes the fiery darts of the enemy. The shield of faith can protect our hearts from sinful temptations, crippling fears, and the enemy’s lies.
This faith is not a saving faith, but a living faith. Trusting in God’s power, protection, and faithfulness allows us to stand firm because we know God works all things together for our good.
We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. ~Romans 8:28 AMPC
Sword of the Spirit – One of 6 Pieces of God’s Armor – swords are offensive weapons. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He used the Word of God to destroy every lie. And Jesus calls us to use the Word of God to enable us to discern our thoughts, our words, and our hearts. Everything must be according to Christ.
For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~Hebrews 4:12 NASB
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. ~Colossians 2:8 NASB
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~Ephesians 4:29 NASB
Harvest and the Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit of God is by the power of the Holy Spirit versus the works of the flesh. Galatians 5 inspired me to the finish the year in the power of the Spirit of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22-23 NASB
Love – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit – We examine the foundation of walking in the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit versus the works of the flesh that brings death.
We examine the fifteen fruits of the flesh (carousing, disputes, dissensions, drunkenness, envying, factions, hatred, idolatry, immorality, impurity, jealousy, outbursts of anger, sensuality, sorcery, strife) and the nine fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).
We examine the fruit of love. Love enables us to joyfully give our love freely to others and to freely serve others – expecting nothing in return – because we are giving our love to Him and receiving His love and receiving our reward from Him. Because we know all love flows from Him and to Him, we can partner with Him in loving and serving others and leave all the earthly results to Him.
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. ~Colossians 3:17 NASB
Let all that you do be done in love. ~1 Corinthians 16:14 NASB
Joy – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit – “Joy is more than happiness. It is not based on financial success, good health, or popularity. By believing in God, obeying His will, receiving His forgiveness, participating in fellowship with other believers, ministering to others, and sharing the Gospel, believers will experience joy.” [Rose 7]
Peace – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit – peace can best be summarized as freedom from agitation. God desires for us to “live and move and have our being” in Him. (Acts 17:28 WEB) “For He [Jesus] Himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2 NASB)
For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. ~1 Corinthians 14:33 WEB
Patience – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit – patience is shown through our “enduring situations and putting up with difficult people [which] is not easy.” [Platt 2257] The fruit of patience shows us the benefits on waiting for God’s timing, goodness and justice.
Kindness – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit – Webster states kindness is an “act of good will; that disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes, supplying their wants or alleviating their distresses; any act of benevolence which promotes the happiness or welfare of others.”
Goodness – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit – goodness is doing “acts of kindness” or showing “mercy” to another. David speaks of “goodness, mercy, and unfailing love” following us all the days of our lives in Psalm 23.
Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have worked for those who take refuge in you, before the sons of men! ~Psalm 31:19 WEB
The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works. ~Psalm 145:9 NASB
Faithfulness – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit – David encourages us to “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” (Psalm 37:3 NASB) Cultivating Spirit given character leads us to pour out our hearts to Him as we trust, lean and rely on Him in the confidence of who He is as the Lover of our souls, Friend, Deliverer, and our Refuge. We can trust Him for He is Faithful and True!
The Lord wants us to cultivate faithfulness by cultivating our heart, mind, soul and strength unto Him. ~Lisa Blair
Gentleness – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit – Gentleness is known through tenderness, softness of manners, sweetness of disposition and mildness of temper. [Webster] Gentleness is not a quality that is weak and passive. [Rose 21]
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom. ~James 3:13 WEB
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. ~Philippians 4:5 WEB
Self-Control – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit – We will restrain ourselves by our own power or will [self-control] or we will be controlled by external forces or authorities. [Webster] Self-control develops and grows as we spend time with God and surrender to His Holy Spirit.
A fool vents all of his anger, but a wise man brings himself under control. ~Proverbs 29:11 WEB
For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. ~2 Timothy 1:7 WEB
The end of all things is near. Therefore, be of sound mind, self-controlled, and sober in prayer. ~1 Peter 4:7 WEB
Summarizing the Fruit of the Spirit
When we began our study of the Fruit of the Spirit, we contrasted the fruit of the flesh to the fruit of the Spirit. When we yield to our flesh and give in to the temptations of the world, we end up in the bondage of sin. When we yield to the Holy Spirit, we produce the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, we can become who He designed us to be as we are transformed into Christ’s image and bear the fruit of the Spirit.
This brings the fruit of freedom, liberty and Christlikeness because of God’s love through Jesus to us and God’s love through us to others. Not only can we experience freedom in Christ, but we can help others find this freedom. The Holy Spirit helps us transition from fleshly fruit to spiritual fruit. Thankfully, He sets us free from the law of fleshly works and the fear of punishment and releases us to be renewed in the Spirit of Jesus Christ and bear good fruit by the power of His Holy Spirit.
I appreciate how Wiersbe summarizes our ability to bear the fruit of the Spirit. He says, “In short, the secret is the Holy Spirit. He alone can give us freedom from sin and self. He enables us to fulfill the law of love, to overcome the flesh, and to bear fruit.” [WBC 576]
The Holy Spirit produces one kind of fruit, that is, Christlikeness. ~William MacDonald
One Word Summary
I thoroughly enjoyed using One Word to guide me through 2021. My intentional focus led to intentional action to discover the meaning of my word, harvest. Harvest led me to study 2 Peter 1 about Life and Godliness, Colossians 3 on the Garments We Wear, Ephesians 6 with the Armor we use for spiritual protection, and Galatians 5 on us bearing the Fruit of the Spirit, all of which come back to seeds that lead to a godly harvest.
This is not about working or earning or performing for God, rather harvest is about planting seeds – ‘trusting in the Lord’ and ‘delighting in Him’ and ‘cultivating faithfulness’ – just as a farmer will plant his crops so he can harvest his fruit in the future, we plant seeds needed for a good harvest in our future.
One Word 2021 – Harvest has been a wonderful year of focus, study and exploration. I am looking forward to learning and growing with the Lord by using One Word in 2022. Will you join me?
For Further Insight on One Word:
One Word that will Change Your Life: Expanded Edition, written by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page. Narrated by Jimmy Page. Audible 1 hour 3 minutes. [Available in Kindle and Hardcover]
Want to know more? Read Lisa Burgess’s article, How Do I Find My One Word? 3 Steps to Choose the Right Word. https://lisanotes.com/find-my-one-word-3-steps-to-choose-the-right-word/
Want accountability? Want to Join a Group for Your One Word 2022? (lisanotes.com)
Cultivate Thankfulness https://strengthwithdignity.com/cultivate-thankfulness/
Blessed Are You (Beatitudes) https://strengthwithdignity.com/blessed-are-you-beatitudes/
Amplified Bible, Classis Edition (AMPC) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
MacDonald, William. The Believer’s Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson, 2016, page 1924.
New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995), copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
Platt, David and Tony Merida. Christ-Centered Exposition – Exalting Jesus in Galatians. Published by B&H Publishing Group, 2014. [Kindle Edition]
The Fruit of the Spirit. Rose Publishing. [Kindle Edition]
Webster 1828 Dictionary. Retrieved December from http://webstersdictionary1828.com
Wiersbe, Warren B. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament. [WBC] Published by David C. Cook, 2007, page 576.
Word English Bible (WEB) by Public Domain. The name “World English Bible” is trademarked.
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