Word Of The Year - 2013

"HUPOMONE"

When I look back on the past year of my life, I see a small glimpse at the masterpiece the God is creating through me by the power of Jesus Christ and the blessings that He has given me to help me find who I am supposed to be. If you look closely at this section of my tapestry you will see that each thread is made up of 25 strings; one unique string for each brother and sister, new friend, and director/teacher/mentor that I had the blessing to be challenged, lead, and helped by. Together, joined by the blessings of once in a lifetime opportunities, last year was a time of being molded by a master craftsmen into the man of God He has called me to be. Last year was a year that has solidified my identity and purpose for God's kingdom and His glory. So how do I approach a year that has be preceded by such self discovery and revelation about who God is? What is one word I could use to be "my word for 2013"?

The Greek word Hupomone. As I spent a lot of the days leading up to New Years asking God to lay a word on my heart, kept hearing the English equivalent to this word. Then it occurred to me that God had already presented me with it during my eight months in Tyler, TX. During those eight months we were guided through the process of developing an identity statement to answer the two questions, "Who are you?" and "What are you doing here?". The verse I found to be the foundation of my identity is II Corinthians 4:7-12. It says, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you." The statement that I chose to summarize this verse to be my purpose statement is "I am a jar of clay broken in order that Christ may shine through me." In this statement the Greek word Hupomone comes into play.

Hupomone can be translated as the English word "Perseverance". But in the translation to English this powerful word loses some of it's meaning. Hupomone is the ability to deal triumphantly with anything that life can do to us. It accepts the blows of life, but in accepting them, transfoms them into stepping stones to new achievement. Now, I feel that as Christians we carry a very passive idea of what perseverance, or Hupomone, is. However, Hupomone does not mean the patience which sits down and accepts things, but the patience which masters them. It's not some romantic thing which lends us wings to fly over the difficulties and the hard places. It is a determination, unhurrying and yet undelaying, which goes steadily on and refuses to be deflected. The literal translation for it is "hupo" which means "under," and "meno" which means "remain". Therefore, Hupomone describes that spirit which remains under trials in a God-honoring way so as to learn the lesson they are sent to teach, rather than attempt to get out from under them in an effort to be relieved of their pressure. So, by using this word to describe the year 2013, I don't want to just try and escape the trials and fires that await me but I want to seek out God in everything. I don't want to let the pressure of a fallen world move me to idleness, but I want to rise up under hardship and allow Christ to use me in mighty ways for His glory. Hupomone is not simply the ability to bear things; it is the ability to turn them to greatness and to glory. Job 42:12 says, "the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning." There may be a faith which never complained or questioned; but what is stilll greater is the faith which was tortured by questions and still believed.

Taking this word into 2013, I hope to persevere in what God has put on my plate. I pray God would give me the strength to persevere at a job which is mentally and physically exhausting. I pray that God would give me strength to persevere through school. I pray that God would give me the wisdom and strength to patiently await a relationship that may be of Him, for His glory, and give me the opportunity to show a women respect, honor, and the sacrificial love of the gospel. Finally, I pray that God may give me strength through Jesus Christ to persevere through the pain of discipline so I may avoid the treacherous pain of regret.

So, with all this being said… I wish to announce my word for the year, "Hupomone," and the verse to accompany it, James 1:2-4,

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

(Thanks goes out to Jennifer Haskew who I heard this idea of a "word of the year" instead of a list of resolutions. She is a great woman of God and one of the 25 strings that God placed in my life last year to guide me through a lot of hard learning. She has been a true blessing to me and I hope she has a blessed time in her new home in L.A.)

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