“Who is this King-Glory? God, armed and battle-ready.”
—Psalm 24:8 (MSG)
In life, we drift to complexity instead of driving to simplicity. Every day, week, month and year that goes by, our lives get more and more complicated with more responsibility, expectations, commitments and demands. We wake up overwhelmed, because life added one more “brick” to our backpack. But we keep going until we feel like we are going to crash and burn.
That’s why I love what King David wrote in Psalm 27:4, “I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing.” He wasn’t asking for multiple things. Not even two things. He was asking for just one thing! If you could ask God for one thing, what would you ask for? Let me be more specific: If you asked Him for one thing in 2024, what would it be?
For the past 25 years, I have asked God for just one thing each year. This one thing is my One Word vision for the year. This has helped me eliminate distractions by providing clarity and laser-like focus toward my pursuit of living for Christ and making the greatest impact for the glory of God. Each year, this one thing, or my One Word vision, becomes a chapter to the story God is writing with my life; it’s as if each One Word titles my chapters.
My first was Intimacy, and God used that word to grow me deeper and closer to Him, my family, co-workers and friends. My ninth chapter was Healing, and my dad was battling leukemia. Even though my dad passed that year, I saw God bring healing and transformation in many lives. Last year, my 24th chapter, was a year of being Ready for God to use me any way He desired. Being ready comes from a life well lived by connecting and cultivating a deep relationship with the Savior, day in and day out. Those are just three of the 25 chapters that have molded and shaped me into the man of God I am today.
Since we all drift toward complexity instead of driving toward simplicity, we need to narrow the focus and ask God for just One Word. It can be a discipline, fruit of the Spirit, character trait, attribute of God or even a person. A One Word becomes a filter for the year and it will change the way you think, act and live! The discipline of developing a One Word vision will stretch you in all areas: spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally and financially. God will transform you in many ways through this exercise, and it will bring truth and transformation into your life. This is why I ditched New Year’s resolutions a long time ago and now I ask God for just one thing…just like King David.
As I approached 2024, I once again asked for that one thing, and He reminded me of a passage I have been ruminating on for months. Paul gives a pre-game locker room talk when he writes in Ephesians 5:15-16, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” I’m not a “gloom and doom” guy, but I do sense we need to be aware and alert for what is going on around us and respond with a sense of urgency. Discernment, understanding and wisdom is needed more than power, strength and intelligence for such a time as this.
Ever since my first grandchild Juniper was born in 2023 (and my next grandchild is due this March), my concern about the battle that rages around us each day has heightened. Then, on December 27 last year, as I read Oswald Chambers’ words from his devotional “My Utmost for His Highest,” I knew my One Word for 2024: Battle. Chambers wrote:
“Our battles are first won or lost in the secret places of our will in God’s presence, never in full view of the world. The Spirit of God seizes me, and I am compelled to get alone with God and fight the battle before Him. Until I do this, I will lose every time. The battle may take one minute or one year, but that will depend on me, not God. However long it takes, I must wrestle with it alone before God. Get alone with God, do battle before Him, and settle the matter once and for all.”
Yes, we face two battles: the internal and the external. The private and the public. The inside and the outside. However, we must always start with the internal before we focus on the external. And that is the hardest battle. I believe we love to fight the external partly because we think it excuses us from looking at ourselves in the mirror and dealing with the internal issues we continue to drag into each year.
The good news is the battle belongs to the Lord. When David faced Goliath, he was getting the worst verbal beatdown ever. After Goliath was done with his smack talking, David simply responded in 1 Samuel 17:47, “The battle belongs to God!” Too often, we think it is our battle. The outcome is up to us. Imagine if we lived every day knowing that the fight is His, and He is always victorious.
As I dive into 2024, I developed these “I will” statements as a constant reminder to live Battle to the fullest this year:
I will believe the Battle belongs to God.
I will trust the Lord will fight for me.
I will dress for the Battle daily.
I will prepare but God will bring victory.
I will pray at all times in the Spirit in the Battle.
When you ask God for one thing, He will give you one thing. The problem is we drift to complexity and ask for a bunch of things. We need to drive to simplicity and just ask for one thing this year. When we do, He will answer. I promise. He has for me for 25 years!
“Lord, I’m asking You for one thing, only one thing. Amen.”