Happy New Year! Have you made any New Year’s resolutions this year? If you have, have you checked to see if your resolution would appear in the top ten New year’s resolutions for 2014? (Lose Weight. Get organised. Spend less and save more. Enjoy life to the fullest. Stay fit and healthy. Learn something exciting. Stop smoking. Help others fulfil their dreams. Fall in love. Spend more time with family.) Or is your resolution unique?
Resolutions are strong intentions to change something in our life, for the better. There are many places in the bible where the people of God resolve to change things. In 2 Chronicles 20:3 Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD. In Psalm 17:3, King David sings “I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” When Daniel is carried into exile in Babylon, he resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. (Daniel 1:8). And in
1 Corinthians 2:2 the Apostle Paul tells the church “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Each of these is a great resolution, but the greatest resolution in all history is the resolution of Jesus, to die for the sins of his people. In the Garden of Gethsemane he prays resolutely “”Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42).
Our resolutions are most pleasing to God when we seek to love and obey Him more. Like Jehoshaphat we can enquire of the Lord. Like David we can resolve not to sin. Like Daniel we can resolve not to defile ourselves. Like Paul we can resolve to know nothing expect Jesus Christ and him crucified. Like Jesus we can resolve to do the will of God, even if it is costly or requires self-sacrifice.
I have come across two great resolution role models. The first is Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) who was Lord Chief Justice at the time of Oliver Cromwell. Hale’s resolutions shaped the attitude of all judges who followed him. Here’s a few of his resolutions:
- That I rest not upon my own understanding or strength, but implore and rest upon the direction and strength of God.
- That I be wholly intent upon the business I am about, remitting all other cares and thoughts as unseasonable and interruptions.
Then American pastor Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-1758) wrote 71 personal resolutions which you can read online at (http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-resolutions-of-jonathan-edwards).
- Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
- Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
- Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.
- Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
The resolutions above are great examples to follow. Will you make resolutions to live for God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength? Be specific and ask God for help to keep your resolutions. We can’t keep them on our own. God will be our strength.
With much love, Neil