I Am Resolved
We are one quarter the way through this year. What will the rest of this year bring? Will there be a nuclear war? Will AIDS decimate our population? Or will they find a cure? Will Putin fall from power? Will the country sink deeper into economic troubles and political and moral confusion? What will become of the New Testament Church? Will I live to see another year? Will the Lord return? “We don’t know what the future will hold, but we know Who holds the future”. The future in is God’s hands. Nothing can happen except what He allows and there are limits to what He will allow. “You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance” (Ps. 65:11).
By this time each year, our resolve to keep New Year’s Resolutions are easily and often forgotten. They are often tossed aside by April Fool’s Day. A cartoon on Dec. 31st in the Dallas Morning News: “Got any New Year’s resolutions, Andrew?” “Yeah”. “I’m making a resolution to have more self-confidence.” “I probably won’t keep it, though.” “Three and a half seconds. That’s got to be a record.” [WALNUT COVE]. It’s sad that we are sometimes a people without the self-discipline to endure the rigors necessary to bring resolutions to reality.
Resolution: a stated determination to act upon something upon which you are firm in purpose, a firm determination to act upon a decision. Experience has taught me that with resolutions I accomplish more. Most of these resolutions involve breaking bad habits and establishing good ones in their place. It can be a formal statement of determination, Like Josh. 24:15. “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
We make resolutions so that we will not make the same mistakes this year as we did last year. May this year’s resolutions be geared to spiritual needs rather than physical. As we enter into a new year, day or month, we can all resolve that this it is going to be the better for us personally and for our congregation.
Resolve to Worship Better
Worship that is in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:23,24). Give as you have been prospered (I Cor. 16:1,2). Remember God when you get a raise this year. Partake of the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner (I Cor. 11:23-29). Worshiping better requires a resolve to improve our attendance. Attending shows you love God, because we are obedient to His Will (I Jn. 5:3; Heb. 10:25).
Resolve to Work Harder
There are souls to be saved. The fields are now white unto harvest. Each year more souls are born, more souls come of age, more souls die. Some must be saved, if they are to be saved at all because they will not live another year. Joy in personal work can make this a great year. By saving others we will save ourselves. “When I say to the wicked, `You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (Ezek. 3:18,19). So, each one teach one this year.
Many other things need to be done, especially in a local congregation. Leadership positions to be filled. Are you working toward one? The Building Clean up list and Communion List are in the hall. Have you signed up?
Resolve to Pray More
We are commanded to “pray without ceasing” (I Th. 5:17). Since there is so much to pray about and there are so many to pray for, we need to say many prayers. Prayer is our line of communication with the Father through Christ. If we fail, to talk to our Heavenly Headquarters, we are destined to fall in the battles ahead. Remember, the great power of prayer (Js. 5:16).
Resolve to Grow
Christians are meant to grow (I Pet. 2:2; Heb. 5:12). This calls for daily self-examination. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?– unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13:5).
Growing requires that we examine our past progress. What have we accomplished for the Lord in the past year? All of us have grown a year older physically, but what about spiritually? The first essential to growth and improvement is an adequate sense of deficiency and incompleteness. Consider your prospects for improvement. Resolve to read the Bible through at least once this year. Examine your heart. The way you think will determine the way you live in this coming year. Inspect your growth among the group. Did I cooperate with others as a team? What can I do to assist this congregation to improve as a whole?
Resolve to Press on
Paul expressed twin resolutions in his epistle to the Philippians. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13,14).
First, he was to forget the things that are behind. Paul had to give up his physical standing in Judaism. He did this even counting it as rubbish. They were forgotten in the sense that they did not hinder him in the discharge of his present obligations. No matter what his previous virtues, these were his past. Dwelling on failures sometimes makes us not try in the present. We can profit from our past mistakes, seek forgiveness, but we can’t change the past.
Second, he was going to press onto the goal ahead. Whatever goals or resolutions we may have, strength is found through Christ to reach these. This coming year – like all other years – we will be called upon to choose either the road to the goal or the way of the world.
Resolve to Be Prepared
Salvation is nearer by one day than it was yesterday. “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11). The race is nearer to completion than it was last year. We are one year nearer to seeing the Lord Jesus and obtaining our glorious reward.
Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people (Jn. 14:1-3). This calls for daily Bible study (2 Tim. 2:15). A wise perspective of the coming year would be to live it as if it were your last year on earth. Remember, there are at least two incidents in the Bible where men were told they were about to experience death: Hezekiah in Isaiah 38 and Hananiah in Jer. 28. We don’t know when we will meet death, but this year could very well be chiseled on your tombstone. Furthermore, this could be the year of the Lord’s Return, so get ready.
There is a gospel song that is often sung: “I Am Resolved”. Within it are several excellent resolutions: “I am resolved no longer to linger…I am resolved to go to the Savior…I am resolved to follow the Savior…I am resolved to enter the Kingdom…I am resolved and who will go with me?” Are you so resolved?
Whether you are a success or a failure with your plans will depend upon the one thing that sUccess and failUre have in common, and that is U.
– Daniel R. Vess