|This absolutely gorgeous graphic is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings|
Let me say first that there is nothing magical about choosing a word for the year. If you've never done this and don't feel led in that direction, don't stress about it. Choosing a word for the year doesn't make a person more or less spiritual than another, and not choosing a word doesn't mean we're some sort of second-class Christian. As Barbara H. wrote over at Stray Thoughts, "But can I say, if you feel stressed about choosing a word for the year or guilty because you don’t have one, don’t worry about it. Seek God about it, and if you sense His leading toward one area of concentration, then go for it, but if not, just seek Him in His Word and seek His will every day." Barbara gives this wise counsel in the post: Homemade Christmas cards and other stray thoughts. If you go over to read it you will also have the blessing of seeing some of Barbara's lovely handmade cards.
I've felt led to choose a word for the year for the past five years. Every year I'm really not sure if I'll have a word or not. My words in the past have been purpose, balance, renewal, faithfulness, and stewardship. This year I have chosen the word "settled".
Many times throughout the past few months I've caught myself saying something like this: "I will just be so thankful when everything is settled!" There are a number of unsettled situations in our lives right now, and I'll truly be thankful when they are settled. But in recent weeks I've started to think of "settled" in somewhat of a different light.
In Colossians 1:23 Paul writes about "continuing in the faith grounded and settled" and he encourages his readers not to be moved away from the hope of the Gospel. Warren Wiersbe wrote concerning this phrase: "Paul used an architectural image in this verse -- a house, firmly set on the foundation. The town of Colosse was located in a region known for earthquakes, and the word translated moved away can mean 'earthquake stricken'. Paul was saying, 'If you are truly saved, and built on the solid foundation, Jesus Christ, then you will continue in the faith and nothing will move you'."
So even though things feel unsettled in my life, I can continue in my faith grounded and settled. My faith is not in the uncertain things of life but a faithful, all-knowing, all-powerful God.
The verse that has really sparked my thinking concerning this word is 1 Peter 5:10 -- "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
M.R. Vincent tells us that the Greek word that is translated "settle" here in 1 Peter 5:10 is themelioo, meaning "to lay a foundation or provide with a foundation, to place on a firm, secure foundation. The radical notion of themelióō is to ground securely. Figuratively, it refers to providing a firm basis for belief or practice, establish, strengthen, settle (place so as to stay, establish or secure permanently), cause to be firm and unwavering".
William MacDonald writes in Believer's Bible Commentary, "God wants every believer to be firmly planted in a secure place in His Son and in His Word."
Harry Lacey, quoted in the commentary mentioned above, says: "The inevitable suffering of the Christian life always yields the same blessed result in the character of believers: it will refine the faith, adjust the character, establish, strengthen and settle the people of God."
One of the commentators quoted on this passage at Precept Austin writes,
"Peter says that the God of all grace Himself promises to place suffering, storm tossed saints on a firm foundation ... themelióō refers to the secure foundation on which something rests, in this verse referring to the solid spiritual foundation on which God will establish Christians.
"The picture conveyed by themelióō is that of a house which is so firmly fixed on a foundation that it is not moved by winds or floods or figuratively by the stormy waves of suffering or the loud howling roar of our adversary, the devil."
Yes, that is what Peter says -- that the God of all grace will place storm-tossed believers on a solid spiritual foundation. No matter how unsettled things in our world or our personal lives may be, God would have us to be settled, firm and unwavering, on that solid spiritual foundation that cannot be shaken.
His Word tells us so ... and His Word is "forever settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89)!