Monday, January 03, 2011
Today’s Topic: Resolved…
Today’s Text: Ecclesiastes 7:23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said, “I am determined to be wise”— but this was beyond me.
I know…it’s been a while. What a Christmas/New Year’s vacation it was. We were stranded in a small house in North Dakota during back to back blizzards that shut down everything in Eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. They finally opened the roads yesterday morning and we were able to get home last night, but the normal seven hour trip took an extra three hours. How we thank God for safety and wisdom on those icy roads.
As we drove I was thinking about the new year, and what would be different in my life. We should think that way at the start of every day, but we don’t, do we? I was reminded through a series of events while on the trip that my pride is still far too powerful a force in my life and dictates too many actions and words. It was a sobering time of reflection, but it was necessary for the Holy Spirit to continue His work of refining me and polishing me into a mirror to reflect Christ’s character.
As I thought about the black dots in that mirror, where no reflection could be seen, I decided that there was a correct course of action to take that is different than what most people think and do. For most of us, New Year’s resolutions address specific issues that we want to change. But the effectiveness of such resolutions is totally controlled by the character of one’s heart. Unless the heart has been transformed, the external changes will not last. That’s why we make resolutions over and over and over again. We are resolving to fix the wrong wrong.
The wrong that needs to be fixed is the condition of our heart. Pride has blackened it so it cannot reflect the glory of God’s nature in Jesus Christ. Self has to be sacrificed. Everything that connects us to the pursuit of self-fulfillment and self-valuation has to be eliminated. We must be resolved to know Christ and Christ alone and give Him unequalled and unhindered access to every part of our being. We must crucify our own life on the cross and invite Jesus Christ back on to the throne of our hearts as Lord. All change happens after surrender to Jesus. No change is permanent that is the product of our own initiative. King Solomon knew that – go back and read today’s Scripture verse again.
Two songs come to my mind that are significant in my life. One is a very old hymn named I Am Resolved written by Palmer Hartsough. The second is a contemporary song from the 1980’s called I Am Determined by Tim Sheppard. These lyrics reflect the nature of a heart truly making the right resolution. Read them carefully and contemplatively. It’s not too late to change your New Year’s resolutions.
I Am Resolved
I am resolved no longer to linger, Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler, These have allured my sight.
I am resolved to go to the Savior, Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One, He hath the words of life.
I am resolved to follow the Savior, Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth, He is the living Way.
I am resolved to enter the kingdom Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me, Still will I enter in.
I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free; Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free; Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I Am Determined
Darkness around me, sorrow surrounds me; Though there be trials, still I can sing.
For I have this treasure – my God reigns within me, And I am determined to live for the King.
Hell’s gates are trembling from our prayers ascending Darkness is crumbling from praises we sing.
Our Sovereign, Victorious is marching before us, And we are determined to live for the King.
When I am weary – I’ll look to His face; And when I am tempted, I’ll trust in His grace —
Yes, I’ll trust in His grace —–
I am determined to be invincible
‘Til He has finished His purpose in me.
And nothing shall shake me For He’ll never forsake me
And I am determined – I am determined — I am determined to live for My King.