It’s hard to simplify life. Narrowing the focus seems impossible. Over this past year, you may have been asked hundreds of times, “How is it going?” Your response was probably something like, “I have been SO busy!” You never hear anyone say, “I’ve had so much time on my hands and I’m looking for something new to do.” That person doesn’t exist.

You have tons of responsibilities, and your schedule is crazy. You feel like you’re sprinting in life. That’s why we need to be intentional about clarifying and simplifying life. We have been sharing with many people the simple discipline of developing just one word as a theme for the upcoming year. We decided to stop listing the resolutions and start living One Word. Even though the Bible does not have the phrase “One Word theme,” it is interesting to note that the phrase “one thing” appears five times in the Bible: once in Philippians and four times in the Gospels.

In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul uses the phrase “one thing” to bring focus and clarity to his calling. In Luke 10:42, Jesus says to Martha, “only one thing is needed.” Both Luke 18:22 and Mark 10:21 include His words to the rich man and express a lack of “one thing.” John 9:25 also includes this phrase as the blind man tells the Pharisees, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” In the same way that Scripture uses these words, we also can put it to use by asking God to reveal a One Word theme for us for the year.

When we first started this process, half of the fun was choosing the word for the year, but we have learned that it is not necessarily us who chooses the word, but rather God who reveals it to us. God can indeed drop an anointed, specific word into your soul. In our first few years, we admit that it was mostly just us picking a word and very little receiving the word from God. Even so, God still used it! But as we became more experienced in the process, we learned to really listen and watch for God’s leading in selecting the word. By listening for God’s voice, you will discover a God-word, not just a good-word.

Enjoy the process and remember: just One Word. Not a phrase. Not even two words. Narrow the focus for life change. Just One Word!

1. Why is it so hard to simplify life? Why is this life so complex?
2. Why do you think we try to impress people with more rather than less?
3. What is God saying to you now about your One Word theme for the year? Commit some serious time to praying and asking God to speak to you.


Hebrews 12:1-2, John 9:25, Phil 3:13-14

“Dear Heavenly Father, I am asking for just One Word. I want a word from You. Please reveal Yourself to me. I am ready to receive the word meant for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


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