New Year’s Resolutions
Resolution: a formal expression of opinion or intention made. A firm determination. Finding a solution to a problem. (www.websters.com).
While waiting for the “big ball” to drop in Times Square on Monday evening, the ABC hosts asked a question “What are your New Year’s Resolutions? This is one of the most asked questions of the first week of January of any year.
What resolutions will I make? What goals are important enough for me to make a formal expression of intent either in my journal or to my closest friends? I debated whether I would even make resolutions this year. Sometimes they become an indicator of my lack of persistence.
I have numerous one-year devotionals and reading plans that are marked and noted. January and February are filled with ink and involvement. Then the tell-tale signs of fading resolve begin to show. The determination starts to weaken and be sporadic and my notes usually end around March. Only one or two have ever made it to May. My journal is the only exception.
A fragmented detail about Jesus came to my mind. I began to dig—researching and cross-referencing this detail.
Jesus made a resolution in Luke 9:51. In this verse, Jesus sets his face like flint towards Jerusalem. The NIV translates this phrase as Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He was determined to go to Jerusalem.
Luke says that Jesus made this resolution as the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven.
Jesus’ resolve was to carry out his Father’s calling. Jesus knew what awaited him in Jerusalem. He made his intent clearly known; he warned his disciples. Then he set his face to God’s plan and purpose.
Along the way there were many needs, hindrances, obstacles, temptations, events, and demands, yet he continued to make his way to the city. Jesus even spent extended visits in some places, but they were only visits. Jesus set his coordinates and locked them. His disciples did not quite understand, and his mother and brothers thought he was crazy. But the course was set to do his Father’s will. His one resolution was to fulfill the plan God had for the salvation of his people.
Jesus’ resolve did not fade and his determination did not weaken. If anything, both grew stronger and more adamant.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give witness that Jesus kept his resolution.
This is my resolution for 2008. I want to set my face like flint to understand and follow God’s purpose and calling for me. I want to have even a modicum of Jesus’ resolve.
This is the beginning of a new year. The cycle of what we called 2007 is done, but for you it is an endless loop. You do not mark time as we do. You are not bound or limited by this demanding taskmaster. I am so grateful that you see far beyond. You see how what I do and don't do in 2008 will affect 2009 and 2018.
I don’t want to make resolutions for the sake of saying I did. I don’t want to write down goals that are arbitrary and ineffective. I want a resolve like Jesus’. I want you to help me to finish what I start. I want my resolutions to be beneficial to me, but also to others. So, my resolutions must begin with you. They must be rooted in your purpose for me.
Give me the courage and stamina to set my face like flint. Show me what you want me to work on, through and in during the following 365 days. Give me a sense of purpose as you did Jesus. Like him I will encounter obstacles, temptations, and events that will try to deter and detour the purpose and path I have set before me.
But you set my face. Keep me walking and traveling toward you.
Amen and amen.