December 31, 2017
I Am Resolved
Resolve is a term that is so abused and misused in our culture that it has lost its true meaning and significance. In fact, the stats don’t lie. Of the millions of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, recent studies indicate that 80% or more will fail to keep them by the second week of February. Further studies have shown that merely 8% of resolutions made will be kept by year’s end. That is a whopping 92% failure rate. Yet, that is the measure of resolve within our culture. We say we will accomplish something, some substantial change in the coming year–even with conviction we promise to see it through. Still yet, 92% fail. And as such, some Christians have applied that same mentality to accomplishing what they know must be done in the coming year. Unfortunately, the same truth surfaces-no profitable, necessary, or substantial change occurs. Thus begs the question: What does true resolve look like; and what does it require?
The author of Hebrews wrote to his audience for an assortment of reasons. One of those reasons become increasingly clear as you read the letter. He sought to encourage and strengthen those Christians who may be struggling with their faith. Chapter 11 highlights those whose exemplary faith in God withstand the test of time; and function as inspiration to those of us who follow them. The letter continues in chapter 12 admonishing the audience to mirror their resolve. Notice what the Bible says in Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has
sat down at the tight hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Resolve is defined
by endurance, meaning a constancy. It is embodied in Christ who was dedicated, single-minded, and unyielding in His purpose; even, as the passage denotes, in the face of great trial and suffering-
-enduring the cross to save us from the fate of our sins.
And as such, true resolve requires discipline. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself-should become disqualified:” In order for us to achieve our spiritual goals this coming year, we must first be temperate, that is, self-controlled. To illustrate this concept Paul uses the imagery of a runner competing for a prize. Those who are training for a race do not allow themselves to become self-indulgent. Imagine what
would happen if one were to eat his or her body weight in pizza the night before. I dare say that person wouldn’t even make it to the starting line. Therefore, being restrained and practicing self- control allows us to make wise decisions in the pursuit of our goals. Yet, self-control in all areas is not a natural occurrence. We all have weaknesses and temptations with which we struggle. Thus true resolve requires that we beat back the advancing temptations and actively work towards strengthening our areas of weakness. In so doing, we will not become just another casualty in the second week of February; or just another number in the 92% failure rate of American culture. Instead, we will find within ourselves what is required to rum this race with endurance and obtain the prize of an imperishable crown of glory. For, above all things, it is that imperishable crown we must be resolved to attain.
By Jeremy Tucker