At the end of each year, the English Oxford Dictionary picks a “word of the year.” This is usually a new word, but can also be an old word that has made a comeback or taken on some sort of new meaning. In both cases, the word has cultural significance; it is symbolic of our year and makes a statement about the current state of society.
Recently, it was announced that the word of the year for 2016 is “post-truth,” a word that essentially means subjectivity is more important than objectivity. According to Pastor Brian, this word shows that “we live in a culture and society where your feelings and personal beliefs matter more than objective truth and reality in shaping public opinion.”
That feels a little dangerous, right? Like we’re walking right on the edge of a cliff, and once we go over, maybe truth just disappears altogether. As believers though, we understand truth differently. We believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate truth, that even though “truth” in our world is always changing, Jesus remains the same. Because of Jesus’ connection to God the Father, his truth stands forever (John 8:17).
But back to this idea of a “word of the year.” We already know that words and their meanings are important. One word can change the entire meaning of a sentence; it can bring life or it can destroy things. At the very beginning of time, God used words to create the entire world. He simply spoke and all of creation came into existence.
So, words have the power to bring about major change, right? What if we didn’t just leave it up to the creators of the Oxford English Dictionary to choose the word that defines our year? What if we each chose our own and did so, in a sense, prophetically?
Let us explain. The early church used Christmas as a time to look to the coming year and refocus their relationships with Jesus. They would pray expectantly for God to do big things and think about how Jesus would affect their future. Today, many people do a similar thing but don’t necessarily focus on Jesus. In our world, we call it a New Year’s Resolution.
So, where do words fit into this? In a book titled, One Word That Will Change Your Life, written by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page, they suggest choosing one word to define your new year. But choosing this word is no small task (obviously, since they’ve written an entire book about it…); there are three important steps: 1) Prepare your heart by looking in. 2) Discover your word by looking up. 3) Live your word by looking out. In summary, start by taking a look at your own life, then seek God about where He wants to grow you this next year, and lastly, live out your word for the entire year.
A few of our staff members here at Open Door have done this for the past few years, choosing words such as “expectation”, “epiphany”, and “joyfulness,” and have really seen God move in their lives. They’ve seen these words shape the way they pray, think, grow, and live each and every day of that year. “Post-truth” may be the official word of 2016, but what will be the one word that changes your life in 2017?
To hear Pastor Brian’s sermon from this past Sunday, click HERE. For more information about One Word That Will Change Your Life, click HERE.