The word ‘resolve’ means to ‘find a solution to a problem, or to find a plan of action, to act as a mediator in a dispute.’ In the general sense, these meanings are correct. Even more popular is the annual ‘New Year’s Resolution,’ where a casual commitment is made to do ‘more of one thing and less of another.’ I have yet to experience a miraculous outworking of my well-thought out commitments: before a week is over, I’ve forgotten the promises of changed habits and patterns, and a year later I resolve, yet again, to pursue change! Resolutions have proven themselves to be meaningless and superficial. However, as a child of God, what does the word resolve mean in our spiritual maturity?
I have recently been confronted by the challenge of reaching a resolve in my own life. Personally, the word ‘resolve’ has taken me on a very sobering reality. The challenge has, at times, felt too zealous and even overbearing, like someone that has lost all sense of reality and has started to tip into the pool of fanaticism! I have felt a stirring in my heart – a gentle nudge, a tender prod, a question of: “How far is far enough? Am I truly, totally prepared to lay it all down for Him, to the point of paying the ultimate price… of death?”
There are a few characters in the Bible who demonstrate a life ‘resolved’ to see God transform them, to see God move through them to impact hearts and nations, and to obey to the point of death. There is Daniel who was called to serve king Nebuchadnezzar, and during his three years of training, Daniel learnt the language, and was expected to eat and drink the king’s food and wine. As a teenager, Daniel decided to live according to God’s laws. In Daniel 1:8, we see Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank, and he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. Where did this resolve come from? He knew God’s law, he had a deep fear and honour of God, and through this, I believe a strong conviction, a resolve was formed that led him to obedience and action.
Daniel 1:9: “And God gave Daniel favour and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs…” (ESV). God gave Daniel favour because of his resolve, his conviction to obey and honour God. God performed supernatural acts because of Daniel and his friend’s resolve!
Another example is David: Psalms 139 (ESV):
 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
David not only desired that God search him in order to know his heart and his thoughts, but David was bold enough to ask God what in his life was not acceptable and pleasing, what in his life did not represent a holy standard of worship.
We are all aware sin is increasing; the world is in severe moral decline, and we live in a challenging time of history. A particular aspect in our lives that I have noticed is on the increase is how the world tries to manage anxieties and hopes, and foremost on everyone’s mind is the need to be “safe” and to feel “safe”! Suffering needs to be avoided at all cost, and sacrifice is some kind of medieval punishment, which society should be devoid of! Persecution is meant for activists, anarchists and zealots!
However, it is necessary for us to be aware of these subtleties; as believers, we are told to be watchful (1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Peter 5:8). Society is on an endeavour to ensure our safety; there is a global move towards living in a safety net, and, yes, we all desire what is good for our lives but has it become such a preoccupation, that it has begun to filter into the church, stunting the heart to embrace suffering.
I am challenged by what Robert Murray M'Cheyne, an evangelical pastor said: Oh! brethren, be wise. 'Why stand ye all the day idle?' In a little moment it will all be over. A little while and the day of grace will be over - preaching, praying will be done. A little while, and we shall stand before the great white throne - a little while, and the wicked shall not be; we shall see them going away into everlasting punishment. A little while, and the work of eternity shall be begun. We shall be like Him - we shall see Him day and night in His temple - we shall sing the new song, without sin and without weariness, for ever and ever.
We serve a God who demands it all! God desires a resolve which rests deep within a heart that is totally dependent on God. Your first commitment is to love God with all your heart, to trust and obey Him without question, without murmurings – His resolve becomes my resolve! Romans 12:1 (ESV): “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
This resolve will carry you through pain, through suffering, through the unknown, regardless of your circumstances. I have heard it said, “You cannot lose what you give away, and you cannot keep what you have released.” You only live when you die, and you can only be resurrected from death.
God is bringing His church to that point where we will resolve to follow hard after Him, where we will embrace suffering, rejoice in our trials and testing, and count the cost as pure joy!
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me…” (Luke 9:23). There is no other resolve, no other conviction greater than this!
What is the resolve, the determination, God has set in your heart?
What godly resolve and conviction will lead you to action?
Hard After Christ