In lieu of a New Year’s resolution, for the past few years I have adopted a word of the year which becomes something of a theme and challenge for me. While some arrive at their word by simple selection, I seek my word through prayer and paying attention to things that seem to resonate around me. Different people will call it different names depending on their worldview, but I choose to believe God speaks to us in ways we understand.
I cannot now pinpoint the first instance my word for 2018 popped up, but I know that it has been echoing around me for about a month. I see it in print, hear it jump out in music, and have had it prayed over me recently without the person’s knowledge. The word is “free.”
Like the thinking person I am, I conducted my due diligence and researched the word in scripture. Of course, the oft repeated verse, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36), appeared first. Good and true, yes, but it did not impact me. A little more reading brought me to Galatians 5:1.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
On first glance, the fact that we were set free for freedom seems redundant. However, the point made here in is that we are not free from one system of bondage only to be placed under another. Christ does not free us from the law of sin and death only to be burdened again by the rituals of religion and expectations of man.
We obey God because we are compelled by love and are free to choose Him.
The second part of the scripture stood out even more: “Stand firm, then…” I had an American History professor who said all great empires of the world fell because they became too civilized to fight.
There is always something seeking to enslave you.
Whether human or spirit, self-imposed or outside influence, our freedom is always in danger of being choked out by something. And any soldier worth her metal will tell you freedom must be defended if it is to remain.
This scripture reminds me that the task of defense is mine – I can let myself become burdened again, or I can stand firm against all comers.
I do not yet know the implications of my word for 2018 for me personally. Perhaps I will gain new understanding of what it means to be free; maybe I will better communicate freedom in Christ with my words and life; or maybe, I will have to defend my freedom like never before. I do know that I am prepared for the new season because I am submitted to the Creator, who calls and equips for any challenge.