During my Personal Worship Time last week, the Spirit prompted me to ask Him for a theme verse for the year. This is something that my wife, Letty, does pretty regularly. But it’s a new thing for me, which is why the Spirit had to bring up the idea in the first place. Sadly, I often go into a New Year without considering a key verse in Scripture that God wants me to focus on.
So on New Year’s Eve I asked the Lord, “Is there a theme Scripture verse for me in 2014?”
And without much hesitation, Hebrews 12:1b came to mind:
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Interestingly enough, there was no shock or surprise to my soul. For some reason, there was a readiness in me for this verse – an internal “amen” or a “yes, of course!” in my inmost being.
I’ve known this verse for almost 50 years of my life, but I’ve never seen it so vividly than in that moment of prayerful reflection.
You see, I’m ready to get rid of the “debris” and “junk” in my life – both physically and internally. And the Lord wants me to make a proactive effort to do this. I want to underline that this is not a Herculean attempt to eradicate all “sin” from my life in my own effort. I’m not that naive. There are many issues of sin in my life that I can’t even begin to address without the fullness of God’s grace. But there are things in my life that are already dead and defeated by the power of Christ. They are dead branches or driftwood that I continue to let “hang around” in my life.
And it’s time to jettison those things. It’s time to clean them out, whether its the clutter in my office or the clutter in my heart. I need to shed some weight off my body and to shed some stupid thinking in my mind. There are more important things God wants me to engage in than wasting my time watching sports programming or wasting my energy in trying to be a people pleaser.
Having a theme verse for the year or season is catalyzing, inspiring and energizing! Why did I wait so long to ask for one?
You, too, might be wondering: “How can I discover a theme verse for the year?” Here are a few thoughts:
Obviously the place to begin is to ask God. He knows you better than you know yourself. He chooses to speak to you through His Scriptures.
After asking, wait upon the Lord. Take 5-10 minutes in silence, give God some time and space to speak to your soul. Psalm 62:1 says, “For God alone, my soul in silence waits.”
God may impress upon your soul a specific verse – maybe a phrase or a few words. Look it up (this would be a good time to use a concordance or a Bible search tool if you can’t recall the verse). Then read the verse in context. Take notice if the Spirit leads you to other nearby verses or cross references.
For those of you who use a lectionary or have a Bible reading plan, take notice of how the Sprit moves in your soul as you read and reflect on your assigned passages.
Be patient and yet expectant. God may lead you to a theme verse or passage. Or perhaps the journey of seeking His voice in Scripture will lead you to something even better!
If God leads you to something significant or substantial in Scripture, hold onto it. Reflect, meditate, consider, pray it through, and seek ways to apply it to your life.
God’s Word is living and active because God wants to reveal Himself and His ways to you and me.
Here’s to a great 2014 – great, because we choose to seek the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength in Whole Life Worship!
What verse or passage of Scripture is speaking to you today?
What specific ways does God want you to live out His Word?