The start of the new year always seems to be about willpower, even for those who don’t make official Resolutions. It’s the time to start over, the time to finally make those dreams come true. For people of faith it’s a time “to break that habit I’m ashamed of” or “to get serious about serving God and others.” Worthy goals…
Of which we almost invariably fall short.
In the Bible, God’s people fall short again and again: “We can’t do this. It’s too hard for us!” they complain. And so, after giving them the final words of the covenant, Moses offers the key to fulfilling it: “This commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach,” he says. No, “the word is very near you: it is in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it” (Deuteronomy 30:11, 12, 14). In short:
Willpower is not enough. Only wordpower will do. God fed the Hebrews for 40 years with a supernatural food called manna (literally “what is it?”). This, they were told, was “so he might make you understand that people do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3). In other words:
Don’t just read his word, let it be “in your mouth and in your heart” so that you can “observe” it, know it like you know yourself, make it a part of yourself, indeed, the very heart of yourself. The supernatural lives God calls us to require supernatural food!
Three years ago, I started a God’s word diet: memorizing, meditating upon, and praying his word daily. It has accomplished in me what willpower alone, no matter how achingly earnest, never could. The process is not over–I still have much growing to do. But, oh, how I’ve grown already. And, oh, how his word is changing me. Which is why my earnest prayer for you is that this year will not just be about willpower…
But about wordpower.