As a teenager in church the passing of every year brought about messages on looking ahead, having a positive outlook, being faith filled about the future etc.. At the same time those messages often involved a disbelief, even disdain for New Years Resolutions. I distinctly remember thinking New Years Resolutions were inerrantly evil!
I believe in Resolutions, at New Year or any other time of year. I’m a great believer in people resolving to make their life better! I also know that 82% of Resolutions made at midnight on the 31st December are broken by mid day on the 5th of January, staggering.
A resolution requires resolve. To keep a resolution will require commitment, intensity tenacity, determination. I’ve got some strong goals for 2011, one of them is that I want to inspire people to aspire. I want to help people see more, see bigger etc.. Whether that’s the single mum seeing a confident and positive future, a young person believing they can rise to the challenge of leadership, a business person seeing innovative ways to navigate the challenges of the current economy and prosper or a church leader growing in the confidence of their calling and finding tools, resources and tweaks that will allow their ministry to flourish. I want people around me to catch aspiration. I want to inspire people to aspire.
I also know however, that along with aspiration they are going to require resolve. Hope, I don’t think, is the difficult part. Resolve is. Just consider the account when Jesus comes to the garden of Gethsemane and goes on a little further to pray. “Watch and pray” he says to the disciples. One hour later (great title for a sermon) he pops back to find them asleep. “Could you not pray with me for one hour?” He asks, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” There it is, right there, no pain no gain. This scene is repeated, we are told, three times and each time the disciples are asleep and each time Jesus says the same thing.
Hope is relatively easy most of the time, we are wired to have hope, the bible says we are prisoners of hope. Resolve well that’s a different story. Let’s not just take aspiration and hope into the new year let’s season it with a massive sprinkling of resolve. Without it, we’ll be making the same resolutions in about 361 days time.
A few quick thoughts to finish…
1. Resolve Speaks: “I’m in,” it says. Resolves says where it is and what it’s going to do.
2. Resolve Acts: It books the conference ticket, fills in the standing order, sets the alarm clock, diaries important things, turns up.
3. Aspiration often comes from prophecy. Resolve comes as a result of teaching/being taught. A person with an unteachable spirit may often be inspired but they’ll never develop resolve. For every prophecy fulfilled there’s 1000’s that weren’t, reason…no resolve.
Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh along with its passions and desires.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Hope that helps.