Being Resolute Without Resolutions

It’s the time of year again when we begin making resolutions for the coming year. Even if we aren’t in the habit of making resolutions ourselves, the topic is on our minds. Resolutions, however, can be hard to keep because changing the year on a calendar changes little else about our lives, our issues, our challenges, and our weaknesses. New Years Day is a new day, but it is a new day like any other.

To be resolved is to be unwaveringly set in a purpose, and perhaps it would be better to develop ourselves into resolute individuals without worrying about the tradition of drafting resolutions. In the Bible, we see individuals who demonstrate resolute characters despite their issues and challenges. Three such figures are Daniel, Joshua, and Paul – people who were unwavering in their dedication to following God.

Examples of Resolute Living

In Daniel 1, we meet a young man living under Babylonian captivity, and verse 8 tells of his purposing in his heart that he would not defile himself while living at Babylonian court. He behaves resolutely in his youth and captivity, even under pressure from those watching over him. In the face of his surroundings, from the beginning of his book to the end, he shows a fierce determination we sometimes lack.

Joshua 24 serves as a commentary on Joshua’s entire life. In verse 14, he challenges God’s people to put away the idols and commit to God. He warns them time and again of the dedication such a commitment will take, and the book records that the people living during his lifetime follow after God’s word, as do those of his generation who outlive him. His resolute determination leaves a mark on all those around him.

In I Corinthians 9:18-22, Paul speaks of his efforts in evangelizing the gospel, and he says he works that by all means he could reach anyone he can. He goes on to an illustration of those who dedicate themselves to win awards in Olympic games, but Paul says his determination comes from the incorruptible prize before him. He calls on us to know what we are working toward, to have a purpose and a goal in our lives. Philippians 3:12 returns to this idea, expressing the continual effort this race takes – leaving our former lives behind to press forward with purpose.


Our prayer lives, our attention to God’s word, our priorities – we should be resolute in our following of God. Rather than concern ourselves with numerous resolutions, we should be determining to be resolute Christians. In Ecclesiastes, the author resolves to find purpose or joy in the things of this life, but his conclusion is that true purpose comes from resolutely fearing God and keeping His commandments. We may make resolutions, but they are nothing if we are not resolute in our service to God.

lesson by Tim Smelser