As part of Compassion's blogger network, I am taking up the challenge to spiritually focus on one thing – one word – this coming year. For a omni-tasker such as myself, this was a difficult process. My prayer time during this process was much more about being quiet and listening to the Holy Spirit than about talking things over with Him. This is a healthy direction for me as I tend to lean toward drive-by prayers that toss out to God what I want/need/deserve/fear and ask Him to help out.

The one-word selection process forced me to move more slowly, think more deeply, and listen even when I couldn't hear a thing. As a result, I received a word that has wide application in my life and will challenge me consistently through 2014.

My word is...


On the dictionary level, pure means “free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter.” The spiritual application is obvious, but as I move about in my ideally seamless Kingdom life, it brings a lot of questions. How can I determine what is “contaminating” for me? How do I focus on purity without giving in to withdrawal and elitism? What “extraneous matter” in my life needs to go? These are the thoughts that will hopefully be worked out over the coming months.

The concept of purity is all over the Bible, so I can be assured that my devotional reading will provide steady illustrations and course correction. My favorite verse so far is a famous one: Matthew 5:8 (“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God).

May I see God this year. May I do the hard work in my personal life and in my relationships to establish and preserve purity. May I willingly sacrifice the things I do not need to get where the Holy Spirit wants me to be. May I do all of this with great success and even greater humility.

If you are interested in choosing a word for yourself in 2014, I highly recommend a guide written by Dan Britton, Senior Vice President of Ministry Advancement with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.