There’s an old riddle that says “five frogs were sitting on a log. One decides to jump. How many are left?”
What’s your answer?
If you haven’t heard this before. Take your time. Think about it.
You see the one frog only decided to jump. But didn’t do it. There’s a huge difference between deciding and doing.
Our first word of the week for 2017 is “resolve.”
At this time of year many people make “New Year’s Resolutions.” Some are personal. Others financial. Many fall into areas of health and fitness. Here are the top 10 for last year.
1 Lose Weight
2 Getting Organized
3 Spend Less, Save More
4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5 Staying Fit and Healthy
6 Learn Something Exciting
7 Quit Smoking
8 Help Others in Their Dreams
9 Fall in Love
10 Spend More Time with Family
How many people do you think keep their resolutions?
A 2007 study from University of Bristol found that 88 per cent of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail. While research by private health company Bupa was slightly more positive, and found that just 63 per cent of people failed in 2015. However, another study found that only 1 in 10 actually keep their resolutions.
The word resolve means “To come to definite and earnest decision…to determine to do something….to make up one’s mind.”
Resolve stems from a Middle English word resolven. It’s derived from the Latin word resolvere which means “to unfasten, loosen, release.”
When we really resolve to do something we unleash our effort, energy and resources to make it happen. We are in a sense releasing our mental and emotional brakes to move in the direction of our intentions.
Spiritually speaking, resolve is vital to our discipleship success. It involves dedication with the whole heart. It begins with a decision in our mind. It is fueled by our emotional attachment. It is prompted by the conscience to move us forward. And is sustained by our will or volition.
In Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians, he petitions for their resolve to be strong as they remain faithful. “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power” (1 Thess. 2:11).
Spiritual resolve is rooted in our purpose. God has a purpose for us in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:11:3:11). When we understand that purpose our resolutions will be obvious. Our decisions easier. And our goals clearer.
Spiritual resolve requires courage. Henry Van Dyke observed that “courage is the standing army of the soul that keeps it from conquest, pillage and slavery.” The devil desires to weaken our resolve. In the face of temptation, God says, “Be of good courage” (PS 31:24). When you are courageous, “He will strengthen your heart.”
Spiritual resolve demands boldness. It’s easy to just “go with the flow.” Fit in with the crowd. And be conformed to the culture of our day. It takes boldness to step up and be different. To obey the Gospel. To walk by faith. To be a disciple of Jesus. It demands a bold resolve.
Spiritual resolve is sustained by steadfastness. The key to success in any endeavor is endurance. Stick-to-itiveness. Perseverance. Resolutions to grow spiritually to become Christ-like don’t happen over night. No, not in a week. A month. Or even a year. It is a life time process. There will be setbacks. Shortcomings. And failure. But a firm resolve will keep us focused on the eternal goal.
May your resolve this year be strengthened by your faith. Your love. And your hope.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58)
–Ken Weliever, ThePreacherman