As we begin a new year, some of us may say there are too many valleys for us to walk through. However, there is only one hill to climb, and if we do not climb this hill in an effective manner, the valleys we experience may seem darker or grimmer (1 Timothy 6:12).

I know someone who, while mowing their lawn, accidentally damaged their big toe so badly that it had to be cut off. After healing, they discovered that the lack of their big toe meant that they could no longer run. They had to learn to walk all over again. Our big toe may seem irrelevant, but if both were removed, we would be unable to balance ourselves when we walk.

It is easy, with all the dynamics life can throw our way, to focus more on overcoming the emotional trauma it may create for us than what God requires to climb those hills. We meet our fears, anxieties, doubts, and mental duress with all kinds of coping mechanisms and sometimes forsake what God tells us to do because it may seem too religious, too spiritual, and requires too much church. As a result, when the Lord instructs us to run the race set before us, it becomes difficult or even laborious because we have forsaken the big toe because it just does not seem relevant.

The big toe is what we may rest on the nightstand, but not read; what we may hear, but not apply unless it is convenient; what we may think is too complicated and dismiss.

The Word is defined as God’s mind that can turn darkness to light (1 John 1:5-7; Hebrews 1:1-3) once applied (2 Peter 1:3-11). It transforms our insides (Romans 12:2) so that our weakness becomes our strength (1 John 4:4) to climb, and deliverance from our vices or struggles becomes our victory (Philippians 2:12-13). It never withers away (1 Peter 1:22-25), and it does not return void (Isaiah 55:11); it is comprehensive for everything we need (2 Peter 1:3-4). It is the sword that the Spirit uses (Ephesians 6:17; John 14:16-17) to powerfully cut down obstacles we may experience (Hebrews 12:4). When we apply it, God so powerfully abides in us, we experience His love, answered prayers, and His friendship (John 15:1-13). This is why when Joshua is faced with tremendous obstacles, God tells him there is only one thing he needs to do to experience victory: “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7; NIV)