|Graphic from Good Morning Girls|
As has been noted many, many times by me and others, it’s definitely not a necessity to choose a word to focus on for a new year. It's not in any way a practice that makes one any more spiritual, any more committed, or any more anything. Vast numbers of believers don't choose a word to focus on, nor do they need to. I didn't even think of doing such a thing until 2013. I'd read in the past of others doing so and in 2013 I prayerfully considered it for myself. That year I ended up with the word "Purpose". I found it incredibly helpful throughout the year to focus on God's purposes for me.
Each year since, I have prayerfully chosen a word for the year. Some times it has seemed as if God laid a particular word on my heart, and that was truly the case in 2020 when He led me to focus on diligence.
And wow, when I went back and read that post just now, I surely saw why God had me choose that word. Of particular interest were the motivators for diligence, which included things like awareness of the brevity of life and the awareness of time. Maybe I can eventually write a post about how diligence played out for me in 2020; we will see.
But back to 2021. I had pretty much decided not to choose a word for the year. Everything is so uncertain and so unsettled that I had no idea what direction I would go. So Wednesday morning I asked the Lord to show me a word if He had one for me, but otherwise I would be great with not having one.
So, we all know what January 6 was like — “Chaos at the Capitol”, as our local daily paper put it. Crazy times. And we know also that whichever way this election goes, it is not going to be a very settled state of affairs. Last night just watching a little bit of news (from an honest source) had me very unsettled before going to bed. My hubby noted again the inexpressible comfort of knowing that our all-knowing, all-powerful God is in control, and that we simply needed to continue to stay our minds on Him.
As I started upstairs, my word for 2021 fell into my mind: steadfast. The verse that came to me at the same time was 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Just a few minutes later, this verse also came to mind. It is speaking of our hope in Christ when it declares, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast." (Hebrews 6:19)
The Greek adjective translated “steadfast” in both of these verses is BEBAIOS, meaning firm and secure.
The word steadfast is used in the Old Testament as well. In Psalm 78:8 the psalmist Asaph speaks of a “stubborn and rebellious generation, that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.” I don’t ever want to be in that category!
In the Bible account of how God delivered Daniel from the mouths of the lions, we read that King Darius wrote these words about Daniel's God:
"I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for He is the living God, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions." (Daniel 6:26-27).
The simple dictionary on my computer defines it this way:
And the more detailed dictionary on my bookshelf offers this definition: Steadfast — 1. Firmly established or fixed; firm. 2. Unchanging, not fickle or wavering.
Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines “steadfastness” this way: “Stability in commitment or belief. The Apostle Paul referred to ‘the steadfastness of your faith in Christ’ (Colossians 2:5). The loss of stability may be avoided if one will ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’. (2 Peter 3:18).”
Going back to 1 Corinthians 15:58 for a moment — “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” — we may ask ourselves why Paul used the word “therefore”. He was speaking of everything he had discussed in the previous verses: the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and all that it means to us as believers.
Believer’s Bible Commentary explains the connection to steadfastness: “In view, then, of the certainty of the resurrection and the fact that faith in Christ is not in vain, the Apostle Paul exhorts his beloved brethren to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that their labor is not in vain in the Lord. The truth of resurrection changes everything. It provides hope and steadfastness, and enables us to go on in the face of overwhelming and difficult circumstances.”
Steadfastness will surely be important going into this new year. I'm thankful for this meaningful word for 2021.