Fresh starts. New beginnings. Desire for change and growth. As the calendar pages turn and each new year unfolds, I pray that God would show me a specific scripture He wants to use to reshape my heart during the new year. Our responses to God come from our heart. Apart from the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). Just as David prayed for God to cleanse him from his sin and purify his heart, (Psalm 51:10), inviting God through His Word to search and cleanse our hearts is the primary necessity for a renewal. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
As I seek Him through prayer and in His Word, He has been faithful to show me the scripture He wants me to meditate on for that year, for that season in my walk with Him. “I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.” Psalm 119:15 God does not necessarily give me a verse on January 1st every year. Sometimes I am several weeks into the new year before He reveals my annual verse to me.
My very first annual verse many years ago was Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Do nothing out of selfish ambition! Many years later, this timeless truth from God’s Word reverberates in me daily, often moment by moment.
In God’s orderly character, each annual verse has built upon the one before. Here are a few of mine:
“Those who honor Me, I will honor…” 1 Samuel 2:30
“For My own sake, for My own sake, I do this… I will not yield My glory to another.” Isaiah 48:11
"Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness." Psalm 115:1
“I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise Your name for Your love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word.” Psalm 138:2
“If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.” Exodus 33:13
As the annual verses string together in harmonious succession year after year, I see clearly His theme for me: “He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 As I pause to reflect on all my annual verses beginning with Philippians 2:3 through Exodus 33:13, I see His perfect design: All because of Him, all for Him, and all to know Him.
He leads us through a process as He transforms us into the image of His son. Godly character is not built in us immediately, but rather through consistent, gradual growth.
Our loving Heavenly Father received faithfully my prayer for an annual verse to reshape my heart all those years ago. He has diligently been giving me an annual verse to cleanse my heart of myself and fill it completely with Himself. The purging and filling process has been painful at times. Yet as I yield my heart to Him in trust, desperately requiring His precepts, He beautifully reshapes my heart and fills me with His perfect truth and love. “I will keep Your law continually, forever and ever [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it]. And I will walk at liberty and at ease, for I have sought and inquired for [and desperately required] Your precepts. Psalm 119:44-45 (AMP)
Dawning on the horizon of our hearts is a fresh new year. Let’s seek Him for a treasure from His truth and ask Him to transform and reshape our hearts.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
© 2014 by Sharon Sloan. All rights reserved.