Making a Resolution
Have you ever resolved to do something? Like really set your mind to do something great? Several weeks ago I was greatly inspired by a good friend who, with hard work and resolve, lost close to 60 pounds in a matter of a few months and is looking amazing and feeling great. I decided it was time I started exercising regularly and snacking less. So, my ever encouraging husband and I hit the trails and worked hard three times a week walking/jogging with our 3 kids strapped into the strollers. Two weeks later it started to rain (we live in Vancouver, B.C. so, NOT uncommon) and company from out of town arrived, before I knew it I was eating ice cream and fish and chips and drinking frappucino’s. Now the company’s gone and I’m thinking about how to get back into the exercise routine that was so short lived.
Sometimes it’s hard to be steadfast in our hope’s and resolutions. Compromising an exercise regime is, I’m sure, familiar to many of us but in the long run we can always try again without too much being lost. What about our resolve when it comes to the faith? Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to remain steadfast? Let’s look at a passage from Colossians and see what hope there is for our struggles.
Colossians 1:21-23 ESV .. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
The Gospel is the Glue that makes our Resolutions Stick
Even the most outwardly moral person who has many “good deeds” under their belt is inwardly hostile towards God. This aggression against God is what alienates us from him and is what encourages us to practice our evil deeds, or sin. Our natural hearts and minds are bent on doing what brings us pleasure and makes us comfortable. We would love to call ourselves “good” but on our terms, with our own definition, and by our own will. But God alone is good. (“And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10:18 ESV) And God alone can “change our minds” so that we can see His goodness and our wickedness.
God takes alienated, hostile, evil people and chooses to reconcile them to himself through the blood of his Son. He transforms the hostile into the holy and grants them the promise of everlasting life with one precaution…. “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard“.
So what can we rely on to help us continue on, to give us stability and steadfastness, and to remain firm?
His Death = Our Hope
Romans 7:4 ESV .. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
Jesus became a man so that he could physically die in my place, and also in your place. Our text from Colossians says he “put on a body of flesh” in order to reconcile us to God. He endured your punishment (and it was profuse) in order to make what was filthy and depraved, clean and holy, as He is holy. It is in the death of Christ that we find the help we need to continue on in the faith, and in his resurrection the hope that produces endurance to bear fruit for Him. We are, by nature, uncommitted, disloyal, and lazy. Our only hope of steadfastness is that He would put his own steadfast character in us. In his “body of flesh” he persevered, he fully understands the struggles we face in our human bodies to remain firm, the tiredness, the busyness, the distractions, he understands and he overcame.
We will not “shift from the hope of the gospel” if our foundation is built on the solid rock of Christ instead of the shifting sands of man made doctrines and gospels.
Gospel Powered Resolution
I am currently reading John Piper’s book “Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die” and in it he says this about our resolves in the faith and the struggle with them:
“We groan even as we take fresh resolves: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). That very statement is the key to endurance and joy. “Christ Jesus has made me his own.” All my reaching and yearning and striving is not to belong to Christ (which has already happened), but to complete what is lacking in my likeness to him.”
Let your resolution be today to press on to “complete what is lacking in your likeness to Him”. Do it with His steadfast strength that helped him endure the cross for you.
==> Group Study Questions:
1. What is your greatest struggle in the faith right now? or What resolve have you made or would like to make in regards to the faith?
2. Do you feel like Christ’s death and resurrection will be able to provide you the endurance and strength you need to overcome your struggle (or fulfill your resolve)? Why or why not?
3. As a group, memorize Colossians 1:19-23.
Preparing the Way,