We have reached the time of year again when people put forth their resolutions. Whether it be to take off those last 10 pounds, stop eating so many sweets, or getting the exercise they have never gotten before, people state that they are going to do things this year they either haven’t done before or have failed in their efforts to do previously. However, more times than not, those resolutions fall by the wayside after a few days, not to be heard from again until next year.
Many people are the same in their spiritual lives as well. They start with good intentions wanting to do what’s right, but then they begin to tire of the effort necessary to uphold their devotion and fall by the wayside until such a time as it is convenient to get up and try again.
The term “resolution” has as its base the word “resolute,” which is a form of “resolve.” Resolve means, “to settle or find a solution to; to decide firmly on a course of action” (Oxford). Therefore, true resolution or resolve carries as a fundamental principle a firm understanding and definition of the course of action one is about to undertake. True resolution is the roadmap to get us from point A to point B. Unfortunately, many people see resolution as much less than that. They consider it to be more along the lines of a good idea, with no real thought and preparation into how that idea will become a reality. We must not fall into that trap.
In our spiritual lives, we must be ones who have our faith and dedication built with resolve. In order to do this, we must be willing to put forth the effort to formulate a means by which that faith and dedication can be held strong. Jesus illustrated it by the parable of the wise man and foolish man in Matthew 7. The wise man was resolved to build a house and formulated a way to do it and keep it strong. The foolish man also resolved to the idea of building a house, but did not adequately prepare and the house did not stand.
Our resolve must be built on two key components: understanding God’s word, and desire to enact God’s word. When we understand God’s word, the blueprints are laid out for us. The preparation has already been completed. However, if we are to recognize those blueprints, we must study his word to gain a thorough understanding of what God would have us do, and how he would have it be done. It is for this reason that our personal studies at home and our Bible study gatherings are so important. When one does not participate, or only gets a portion of the studies, they also only get a portion of the understanding and the greatest element for the foundation of true resolve is weakened.
When we truly understand God’s word, it should engender the desire to enact that which has been understood. This requires one’s heart being right in their approach to God and his word. If we truly want to follow God, when we find what He would have us do we will take whatever steps necessary to follow through with those commands. It may not always be easy, but it will always be worth it.
There is a song which we often sing as an invitation song, yet it is just as much a song the Christian needs to hear as the unbeliever. The first verse of the song is as follows:
I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by the world’s delight;
Things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight.
I will hasten to him, hasten so glad and free,
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to thee.
May our resolve truly be based in those things that are higher and nobler. If it is, it will be seen in every aspect of our spiritual lives. Through our consistent and ready attendance, our rapt attention, our ready participation, and our renewed zeal. May each of us have a new year filled with a fresh resolve to serve the Lord!