Becoming Good Soil

But the seed on the good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it and by persevering produce a good crop. (Luke 8:15, NIV)

The word you have chosen for this year may very well be a gift God has already given you. This unbeknownst seed placed in your heart, was dormant and protected until the proper time for planting. As a creation of God, a seed has purpose. Its purpose is to produce fruit. Yet on its own, unplanted, it will remain inactive.

By choosing your One Word, you have taken the first step in producing a good crop for the Lord. But more is required. This word may seem foreign to your natural being, but you can trust that if you have received this word from God through prayer and meditation on His word it is a part of your spiritual formation. This seed, your word, must be planted in good soil. How is your heart? Is it arable soil? Is it fit for the gift God has imparted? Will it allow your seed to be obedient to its created purpose? Will the seed from God planted in your heart produce fruit or will it be choked out?

After honestly examining the condition of your heart and removing the stones and thorns that may have been on the surface or deeper down (opening up and surrendering your whole heart to the Lord), the next consideration should be how you will arrange your life so that the seed (a gift from God, not an element of your flesh) can grow exponentially. God gives us a plan of action in the book of James:

Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:21-25, NASB)

The entire passage is a blessing, but there are five notable points that will illuminate the process of living out your One Word:

Get rid of the sins that defile you– The filthiness and the remains of wickedness may sound like things that are already far from you, but they encompass those things we tolerate and even indulge in daily! Laziness, anxiety, scoffing (dismissing Gods way for our own) are examples.
Humbly receive the word- Know that God beat you to the moment of realizing your word! He placed it on your heart. Take hold of it knowing it is a gift from Him for you to use for His glory!
Do not forget the word- Keep it in front of you in the form of scripture. Make a few easily accessible lists of the scriptures God led you to in order to reveal this word to you. Define it and use it in declarative sentences, ex. Courage means doing things I know are right even if I am afraid. I will befriend this intimidating person in spite of my fear!
Look to Jesus and abide in Him- We should always be Christ-focused in our efforts. Scripture tells us that if we remain in Him, he will remain in us and we will bear much fruit. Listening for His voice in quiet time, learning his character in scripture, reflecting His image everywhere we go are some ways we can remain in Him.
Be an effectual doer– act on what you are learning through the exercise, trusting that God is faithful to his promise and that in obedience you WILL bear fruit!

The exercise of My One Word is not a means to an end, it is a call to awareness. It requires you to focus on one thing long enough to actually see its significance as you diligently pursue His kingdom. You have chosen your word, now you must do the work of learning how to position yourself to yield a good crop!