What are your resolutions for the New Year? Just what does it mean to be resolved, anyway? According to Webster’s online dictionary it means, “fully committed to achieving a goal. As in, “Only the most resolved of explorers had any chance of finding the source of the Nile.” Synonyms include “bent (on or upon), bound, decisive, do-or-die, firm, hell-bent (on or upon), intent, out, purposeful, resolute, resolved, set, single-minded.” Does this describe your attitude going into 2016?
I’ve been learning a lot from the life of Daniel in preparation for a message series in January. Here are 5 Ways to Live with Resolve drawn from his journey…
“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” Daniel 1:8, NIV
1) Resolve to BE more. For Daniel it was less about doing and more about becoming. He knew that when the King saw what they would become as a result of following a plan and path of purity, he would take notice and the true God, Jehovah, would prove Lord over all.
The reality is, most of us are overdoing the wrong things and under-doing (valuing) the right things. Merely adding more things to our “To Do List” will definitely help us become more… more stressed and stretched than we were to begin with. For Daniel, less was more.
How might this apply to you. Perhaps making an “Un-do List” is a good place to begin?
2) There is never a “perfect time” to live a life of resolve. Daniel and his friends may have been in the King’s palace, but make no mistake, they were prisoners. They had been stolen away from their families and homes. Maybe they were just being fattened up for the kill? Maybe they should take advantage of any benefit offered to them, let alone go against the flow and take a risk by going against the royal plan. Then again, who could they really trust? Most of us would be looking to survive in this uncertain circumstance, not thrive.
Perhaps what this teaches is that the best time, the “perfect time” for resolve is what may seem like the worst time, the time of testing? Regardless, now is almost always the best time to begin.
3) You shouldn’t go it alone. Let’s face it, a life of resolve takes great resolve, and few of us have what it takes to make it alone. Actually, none of us do. But Daniel had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and they had one another. No doubt there were times when the “BBQ” of roast lamb & goat must have smelled pretty good, enticing them to give up and give in to the King’s menu. Which brings us to the next point…
4) There will be a test. This wouldn’t be the last test for Daniel and his friends. However, this testing would prove to accomplish two vital things…
Testing first reveals character. Why? Because it neither comfortable nor convenient. Most of us want resolution without revolution, transformation without change. However, it is only through difficult challenges and even tougher changes that character is then formed and reformed.
5) The Lord’s favor is fundamental. Scripture is clear… God’s favor was on Daniel, and this made all the difference. In the end, the King would want to know the God of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and the entire Kingdom would hear of it.
How do you know that what you are resolving is in God’s favor? Like Daniel, it must be in line with His Word and motivated by His glory. This inevitably works out for our good. However, this shouldn’t be our motivation. By grace, when our aim is His glory and the good of others, this will take care of itself in His way and time. The incredible life of Daniel testifies to this timeless truth.
Fast forward to the New Testament and the Apostle Paul makes a resolution that is tough to beat for Christians in the 21st century… “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, NIV
How is it that my life can point others to Jesus and His loving sacrifice, His victorious resurrection, His amazing grace? How can I become more like Him through both the successes and suffering that will come with another year?
May we all live a life of resolve that points others to the source of that resolve, the Savior, Jesus Christ.