Since we’re almost halfway through the year already I thought it might be time to write about my One Word for 2015. Other than posting a graphic on the sidebar, I haven’t mentioned it at all because truthfully, I didn’t understand it when it came to me that last day of December. I still don’t…fully.
By the end of the year I had narrowed my One Word possibilities to two. The first was fearless, but honestly, the more I thought about it, I had to admit what I wanted more than anything this year was change. Therefore, change would be my word. Ironically though, the first thing to change…was my word! It seemed God had a different idea.
On the last day of the year, while praying, I realized there was something about that word that just didn’t settle. It wasn’t quite right but I had no other ideas. Not wanting to force a focus unnecessarily or inaccurately, I considered abandoning this year’s One Word altogether. Then this single, unexplained, random word came to mind….receive. It didn’t make sense in my mind, but it did settle in my heart. I knew I had my word, but I had no idea what it meant for me.
Initially I thought receive had everything to do with the obvious…receiving from God. The only reason I could postulate as to why God began my year by giving me this word was that He must be indicating I was to receive some things from Him by the end of it, since after all, He is a God who declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). It left me with a newfound sense of expectation. However, my first real inspiration concerning this word was much different than I expected.
It happened a few months into the year, on the heels of some hurtful words that were spoken to me. Unlike other times this had occurred, this time, instead of reeling from the blow, what came to me was, Guard your heart!, an admonition to not allow these words entrance…to not receive them. It was then that I realized this word receive was not only about some things I was to receive, but was also about some things I was not to receive.
Overwhelmed by this unexpected perspective and the unmistakable clarity of this, I finally looked up the meaning of the word. Much to my surprise, it coincided perfectly with what I sensed the Lord saying concerning guarding my heart, for one of the primary definitions of receive is
to permit to enter, to admit
Essentially, I was to refuse to permit damaging words an entrance into my heart where they would then have untold negative effects. I was also reminded it wasn’t only the hurtful words of others that could bring harm, but maybe even more damaging were the words I allowed into my heart from my own negative thoughts. Bill Johnson says it well…
“I cannot afford to have a thought in my head about me that is not in His”
Put plainly, no matter where the hurtful words, condemning thoughts, or demeaning voices are coming from, do not receive them…do not permit them entrance. Since another of the definitions of receive is…
to accept as authoritative, true, or accurate, to believe…
it’s alarmingly apparent we’ve underestimated the damage incurred from what we allow into our hearts…from words we receive.
Therefore, let’s guard these hearts of ours from intrusion as with spiritual barbed wire. Let’s not receive any words contrary to His words about any thing. The truth of the matter is…the enemy knows if he can get us to receive them, he can get us to believe them.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 NLT