Part 4: Some Practical Steps for Choosing and Adopting Your “My One Word”
In part 1, I laid the groundwork for the Scriptural exercise of making holy resolutions and the daily lifestyle role that making holy resolutions should have in our lives and discipleship after Christ. I also just introduced how I discovered the practice of making “One Word” resolutions and how it has influenced my life.
In part 2, I capsulized and summarized for you my seven-year story making ‘My One-Word Resolutions’ and living by ‘My One Word’ – and what those ‘one-words’ have been over the past seven years.
In part 3, we explored Scriptural precedents and examples in both the Old and New Testaments for making a “focal point” of a much-needed grace in which we are most deficient, delinquent, or disobedient … for the purpose of emphasizing and prioritizing that “one thing” to grow in it and add it to our character.
If you haven’t watched those segments, I’d encourage you to do that…
We have now come to the 4th and concluding segment of this lesson. And what I’m going to do in this lesson is walk you through the practical steps of choosing, adopting, and implementing your personal “My One-Word Resolution” – and resolving that, by the Grace of God, you will commit to practicing and living by this “One Word” until it becomes just a natural spiritual exercise in your character and daily discipleship after Christ.
And so, I’m calling this segment of the lesson “Part 4: Some Practical Steps for Choosing and Adopting Your ‘My One Word’”
I want to begin this concluding segment of this lesson with the same story where I left off in the part 3 segment: telling the story of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, sitting at Jesus’ feet, hanging on His every word. And how Jesus just gushed with His pleasure and blessing on her attention, focus, undistracted concentration, and commitment.
I want you to pay careful attention to her ‘focal point’ and make your “One Word” your ‘focal point’ as well! And, I want to keep referring back to this “one thing” conversation as I give you some steps to follow to do the same thing yourself:
38 While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”
41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10.38-42 HCSB
So, I say again, keep in mind all the groundwork we’ve laid to get us to where we are now, and do these exercises:
Step 1: PRAY OVER IT
Have a “Jesus meeting” like Mary did in Luke 10.39. Begin this exercise by going to Jesus and “sit at His feet” [the disciple’s learning posture] to talk with Him and learn from Him what He wants you to become and what He wants you to do.
After all, the supreme purpose and primary aim for your “My One Word Resolution” is to become more like Him and grow more into His likeness and conform more into His image. And He promises that if you take His yoke upon you, and get into the yoke with Him, that He will teach you and you will learn from Him [Matthew 11.29].
So, ask Him what HE wants your “My One Word Resolution” to be in that area in which you most need to grow. That’s the Voice of Jesus speaking to you: “Grow in THIS grace!” “Become more like Me in THIS!” “Change THIS!” “Add THIS!”
Begin by PRAYING OVER IT!
Step 2: READ THE WORD
This is not just beneficial and helpful only – it is essential, it is indispensable. Mary “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word,” and we must do the same thing. If you want to hear from Jesus about what He wants your life-resolution to be, then you must be listening where He speaks – and that is, in His Word!
You need to be in His Word, hearing His Word! Jesus has repeatedly called out to us, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” [Matthew 13.9 et. al.]
I quoted from Psalm 119.59-60 back in Part 1 of this lesson. Here it is again:
“When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to Your testimonies. I hasten and do not delay to keep Your commandments.”
God’s testimonies are with Him the same thing they are with us: what He Himself says about Himself. What is it that gets us thinking on our ways to begin with? We read His testimonies, and we find out we are not in sync with Him. So, we turn our feet toward His testimonies to get in step with Him. Remember the familiar Psalm 119.105, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” So, if you want to know what “My One Word” to need to begin living by, then you will find it where He speaks it: in His Word.
By the way, if you haven’t already begun to establish and practice these two first steps – praying and reading the Word of God – then you need to backtrack there and resolve to begin there. Maybe your “One Word” needs to be “HEAR” or “LISTEN” or “TIME WITH GOD” [OK, I know that’s three words – but it’s one resolution] to get you started and established in Spiritual Exercises.
Step 3: BUY A CHEAP NOTEBOOK
You can buy a cheap notebook at Dollar Tree or Kroger or order it from Amazon – but it doesn’t have to be expensive or even pretty. It just needs to have blank pages in it so you can do some of your “My One Word” thinking on paper so you can see it and go back to it. You need to have some blank pages in front of you as you begin to pray and read the Word for Jesus to speak to you about what He wants your “One Word” resolution to be.
You will keep your notebook all year long to track how the Lord “renews your mind” with thoughts and continuing resolutions all throughout the year. If this is from Jesus Christ, it will grow in your thoughts, meditations, convictions, resolutions, and activities.
Step 4: MAKE AN INITIAL LIST OF WORDS
The first thing you will do with your cheap notebook is to start writing down words that come to your mind as you do steps 1 and 2: pray about it and read the Word. As prospective words come to your mind, write them down. Write down every word that comes to your mind, even if it just pops into and passes through your mind. These words will be just virtues, or spiritual desires and hungers, or convictions, or ‘starter words’ that come to your mind.
Then use those words to cull, eliminate, and narrow it down to your most-needed “My One Word.” Just recognize that when the Holy Spirit “speaks” to us through the Truth of the Word of God, He will “speak” to us through the medium of our own thoughts. He will put thoughts into our minds from the word of God. Psalm 119.59 yet again: “When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies.” Where are those thoughts coming from when you ‘think on your ways’? They are coming from the Holy Spirit! So, when He, the Holy Spirit, begins to prompt and jog your mind with words for resolutions, then start writing them down in your notebook!
Step 5: ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO IMPRESS YOU WITH YOUR “ONE WORD RESOLUTION”
One of the Holy Spirit’s roles and ministries is to point us to Christ, guide us into all truth [especially truth for living], and to sanctify us into Christ’s image and likeness. Jesus specifically promised that He would send and give us the Holy Spirit to bear witness with our spirit through the Word of God and guide us and lead us into all the truth. He advocates for Christ. Here’s what Jesus promised:
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has mine; therefore I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you.” ~John 16.13-15
So, ask the Holy Spirit to ‘guide you into…the truth’ you most need to begin immediately implementing in your life in your “One Word.”
Step 6: COMMIT TO JESUS CHRIST THAT YOU WILL PURSUE THIS GOAL AT LEAST FOR THE WHOLE YEAR AHEAD OF YOU
If your “My One Word” is from Christ, then He will lead you through many varied learning and training exercises and experiences. He is the One who is calling and inviting us into His yoke to learn and serve with Him: “…take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me…” Commit to persevere and follow through with Him.
Here again is what Paul said even in his advanced years and maturity: he was still resolved to faithfully persevere to follow Christ into the next steps of growth and maturity:
Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. 16 In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. ~Philippians 3.12-16 HCSB
Step 7: EXPECT AND WATCH FROM JESUS CHRIST TO MAKE HIS OWN GRACE AND GLORY GROW IN YOUR LIFE THROUGH YOUR “ONE WORD” RESOLUTION!
Jesus promised about Mary’s “one necessary thing” resolution that “…it will not be taken away from her…” – meaning that she would find her resolution to be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Jesus Christ would give her what she was desiring, longing for, resolving and making effort to receive: to hear Christ’s words and enjoy His company and pleasure!
“…it will not be taken away from her.” She would discover God’s dynamic grace adding this desired virtue – and many more besides – to her life.
The apostle Peter challenges all of us to keep on growing! When we are hungering for growing up into the fullness of Christ [and that’s what “My One Word” is all about], we will find that there is unlimited room for us to keep growing! And not only will Christ be nourishing, but He will be enjoyable as you delight yourself in Him!
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. ~1 Peter 2.2-3
What you will discover as you resolve and commit to living by “My One Word” is that other graces will follow also. Many other graces will grow from your “My One Word” and be added it to it, built upon it.
Your “My One Word” will be like a grain of yeast that you knead into the bread of your life, and it will grow and multiply and fill your life with many other Christ-likenesses also!
Jesus promised Mary that “…it will not be taken away from her.”
And He makes the same promise to you!
So, WHAT IS YOUR “ONE-WORD RESOLUTION”?
Here is the link to the YouTube video for this lesson segment:
YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/YrHnvOCOP9o | Length 21:56
Here is the PDF of these Lesson Notes: