I’m not the type of person to make resolutions when a new year comes. It’s not that I have anything against self-improvement. It’s not like I don’t want to be a better person. I don’t hold anything against others making resolution, but I’ve just grown a little jaded about resolutions over time. It’s almost as if we make resolutions simply to break them, and we make these resolutions with full knowledge that we will not keep them. Some resolutions, however, are worth keeping, and we don’t have to look any farther than our Bibles to find a few.
We see, in Daniel 1:8, that Daniel resolves to eat no unclean food while in captivity. Even though he is away from the temple, away from many of his peers, away from the priests and Levites, he resolves to do what is right in God’s eyes. This pattern then continues throughout the rest of his life.
Think also of Joshua, in Joshua 24:14-15, challenging the people of Israel to choose their allegiance between Jehovah and other gods. Joshua is resolute in his faith, and his example impacts his entire generation and the one to come after him.
In Acts 19:21, Paul resolves to go to Jerusalem despite the trials that will face him there. He purposes in his heart that this is the path he will take. Again, his resolute nature impacts many more than himself.
Being Truly Resolved
We should be resolute followers of Christ, but our resolutions cannot be lip-service. Simply making the statement does not make us follow it. Nor can we be purposeful because of peer pressure, for we cannot maintain a resolution if we lack individual commitment. If we are to serve God the way He deserves to be served, it takes a sincere determination of will that we will put our all into working for our God.
How could Daniel keep himself pure in God’s eyes despite all the ungodly influences around him? He and his companions could maintain their faith because they were determined to do so. Joshua, as well, sincerely wanted to serve God despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges associated with that service. Paul, Peter, Timothy, Titus – determination of will is what separates them from the pretenders of their day.
We should so want to do what is right. We need to be determined and we need a heart willing to sacrifice for that resoluteness. Paul, in Romans 12:1-2, speaks of spiritual service in terms of sacrifice, holiness, transformation, renewal, and proving. Long before Daniel, Joshua, or Paul demonstrated their own spiritual resoluteness, they had particular mindsets. We need to change our minds to be followers of God. Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on things above, for we have died to all else. Philippians 2:5 simply calls on us to have the mind of Christ. When we set our minds to be like His, we can do anything.
This determination, however, requires a compliance of our hearts. In Matthew 22:35-40, one asks Jesus what the greatest of the commandments is. Jesus answers with two, and they both come down to love – loving God and loving our fellow man. We may readily submit to God intellectually while our hearts remain far from Him. Romans 10:8-10 reinforces the need of both heart and mind in faithful service to God. Finally, Ephesians 6:6, in the context of discussion serving earthly masters, admonishes us do God’s will from the heart.
Our spiritual resolutions do not have to be empty. Will you resolve to be a more faithful servant to God in all things? Philippians 4:13 encourages us that we can do anything in Him who strengthens us. We can rid ourselves of skepticism, uncertainty, and indifference if we are determined to have a Christ-like mind. We can be holy in an unholy society if we but yield our hearts and our minds to our Creator.
lesson by Tim Smelser