Many of us tentatively turned the calendar from 2021 to 2022 wondering what the new year might bring.
Ours started out with a bang as our 14-year-old winced with a bad tooth pain. Concerned, we quickly found a dentist who would take a new patient on the Monday before school started. After x-rays, the dentist came out with a big grin on his face, “Your teenager… is teething!” 12-year molars were trying to break through in our 14-year-old! (An unexpected $160 bill to start the new year.)
Some people make New Year’s resolutions while some choose a “word” for the year. As a person who loves the new and change and challenges, I love setting goals. But I always choose a word as well. After our family shared our words on January 1, we then did nail art (nope! Not finger nails! We nailed nails!) and spelled out our words. We then placed our words around our cross (that’s another story for another day. Our home had to be given away in Asia because we could still can’t move back due to covid closures. But we had some sentimental things returned – one was this cross we bought in Thailand).
For 2022, my word is kadosh (or qadosh). Hang with me! As I was praying and meditating on the previous year and asking God who knows me deeply to help me pick a focus word for 2022, I felt urged to study some Hebrew words. As soon as I saw the word kadosh, I knew this was my word for 2022. And I am excited. Though the word also makes me a bit uncomfortable. And that makes me overjoyed because life is meant to be in faith WITH God who moves us towards transformation and action for His purposes!
So, what does kadosh mean? Some of you know it means holy. However, kadosh can refer to things in the spiritual realm or the natural realm. It means to “separate or set apart or consecrate.” In the natural realm, for example, as I go through stacks of paper piled on my desk, I separate them into the categories of “save” and “throw away.” I kadosh my papers. Or, a person “kadoshes” the white clothes from the colored ones before washing them. Well, actually some do it that way. (Chad usually does our laundry, and it’s more like “all that can fit!” into that washer. He does however kadosh items that can go into the dryer and those that cannot. That skill set developed after a favorite shirt of mine shriveled to the size that could fit a doll. Ha!)
The spiritual world is where I get really excited about the word kadosh. Did you know we can be set apart for good or bad? When we are consecrated or set apart for God, then that person/thing is kadosh.
My 2022 word is not so that I can better separate my papers or my laundry (or encourage Chad to!). Rather, in 2022 kadosh becomes my filter, where I seek to discern and recognize how God wants to set me apart for His purposes in each aspect of my day. My engaging deeply in His presence is the starting place for God to fill me and empower me, so that throughout my day I am set apart for him and His purposes more fully.
As this word settled into my heart, I knew it was a word Jesus had for me. I immediately thought of Isaiah 6. While spending time in worship, Isaiah saw the Lord seated on the throne. The seraphim called out to one another, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” This vision of Isaiah’s gets me every time. What are the seraphim calling out? It’s not grace, grace, grace. It’s not love, love, love. It’s not justice, justice, justice. They cried out, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!”
There is something so “other,” so separated, so distinct, so set apart about this attribute of God. It blows my mind that this is the God we can know in relationship and partner with for His purposes. It truly is all about Jesus!
There’s so much more about this passage, and I love considering the order of events: 1. Recognition of personal sin and repentance (“Woe to me!”) leads to 2. Cleansing (hot coals) leads to 3. Hearing God speak (“Who will go for us?”) leads to 4. Isaiah’s response (“Here am I! Send me!”) leads to 5. God’s commission (“Go and tell…”).
Isaiah realized he was forgiven and cleansed and set apart for a purpose – God’s purpose. He wasn’t set apart to mimic culture where he sought to be culturally relevant or politically correct. No! Isaiah was set apart for a divine mission in partnership with God!
That’s how I want to focus this year. Every culture, and especially increasingly humanistic ones like the USA, seeks to place the focus on self. Even Christians attempt to create God in their own image. But God is looking over the earth “to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
I desperately want God to find me in the secret place fully committed to Him. I deeply want God to find me in the marketplace set apart from culture pointing to Jesus, sharing His Gospel, and living out His kingdom so that he might strengthen me!
In 2022, I want to be fully devoted to Jesus and His purposes. I do not want to design an idol made in my image, matching my agenda and opinions, and call it “God”. Rather, I want to know Christ deeply and in that secret place allow God to transform me “into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18b).
I have discovered that going to God in the secret place to be transformed for His purposes is quite an exciting place to be. Moving out into the world for the purpose of engaging the culture in God’s Name requires faith which God stirs up in the secret place.
I find such comfort and such nervousness in that place of depth and stretch. And that draws me to a life of faith in Jesus in 2022. Going deep and wide – set part for His purposes!
Here’s to 2022!