What is your word for 2020?

January 1, 2020 by Dr. Jack Graham

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor.

No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 

–Psalm 84:11

Not only have we ended a year, but we have ended a decade.  And as I thought back across the last ten years, I feel truly blessed for how much favor God has poured out on our lives, our family, our church, and PowerPoint Ministries. 

The decade didn’t seemingly start out so great.   I was recovering from cancer surgery, and I felt discouraged, down, depressed, and so very mortal.  And while my cancer was under control, I was still fighting personal battles.  As I end the decade, things could not be more different, cancer free for ten years is just one of the highlights. While we started the decade with one beautiful grandchild, Deb and I now I have eight.  Our church has been booming in growth. And PowerPoint now broadcasts the Gospel across the Globe.

One thing that has made a huge impact on me over the last decade has been each year deciding upon a “word.” In Jon Gordon’s book One Word, he explains a great way to live a life of impact and influence. Instead of creating goals and New Year’s resolutions, he suggests that one word should be your driving force for the year. No goals, no wish lists, just one word that will describe your focus and aspirations for the year.

In reflecting upon this last decade, I am filled with gratitude and can only see God’s hand of favor on my life, my wife, my family, my church, and our ministry. So my word for this year is “favor.”

“Favor” is a word that gets so misused, because it is often tied to a quid pro quo, a this for that, help requested or even expected because of a relationship or perhaps with an expectation of a return favor.  That is not the “favor” of the Bible.  The “favor” of the Bible is akin to grace; it is unearned blessing.  Favor is not bestowed because of what we have done, but because of what He has done.

It is true as today’s verse says we are to walk uprightly in order to receive favor, but make no mistake, favor is what God intends for us and gives us. And it is so good.  As Jeremiah wrote, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

As growing believers, we know favor is what God desires for us, and not necessarily what we want.   I asked my lovely, precocious eight-year old granddaughter what her word for the year was and she said “fashion!” Now as her grandfather who loves to spoil her, I could definitely provide her lots of whatever fashion is “hip” with the eight year olds, but the favor she will receive are the things she truly needs. (And perhaps some princess costumes as well.)

Likewise, at the beginning of this decade when I was in recovery from surgery, I was fearful of cancer’s return, anxious, and depressed, yet God’s favor was upon me just as much as it was yesterday.  This experience has given me an invigorated faith in his healing, greater love and empathy for those who are hurting, new friends, opportunities to share my faith, restored physical energy and health, and allowed the rest of the decade to be even more meaningful.

So in 2020 my goal will be to seek his face and find His favor everyday.  Some doors will be opened due His favor and some may be closed due to His favor.  I will seek to walk uprightly, so that I don’t miss His favor and can truly appreciate it when it arrives.

May you also experience God’s favor in your life this year.

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