In honor of the new year, and all of the resolutions that typically come with it, I thought a few thoughts on the whole resolution business would be apropos.

Some things come to us in life as a surprising gift. We never saw them coming and we never could have conjured them up. Other things come easy for us because of the God-given talents that we have, which are necessary in attaining them. However, there are some things that will only come to us with one thing–resolve. Resolve is an ernest decision. It’s what we more commonly identify as determination.

That is NOT to say that you can resolve anything you want into your life. Some would like to believe that anything can be achieved with a strong will. However, this is not true. For example, spiritual transformation cannot be brought about by human will power. It can only be brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit. While the endless selection of self-help books available today would make one suspect that spiritual change can be brought about with a little bit of “old fashion determination,” this is simply not the case. Nonetheless, personal resolve is encouraged in Scripture by the examples of the heroes of the faith.

David, while being less than perfect, was known for the purity of his heart. Yet, in becoming that person he first resolved that he would not sin with his mouth (see Psalm 17:3). Job, also regarded as a man of godly character, made a covenant with his eyes not to gaze at a young lady (Job 31:1). Ezra showed remarkable leadership in restoring the priesthood after the exile, but at some point he had to “set his heart to study the Law of the Lord” (Ezra 7:10). Daniel was famous for his personal integrity, but he first resolved not to defile himself (Daniel 1:8). Solomon was famous for his wisdom, and while it was a gift from God, at some point he resolved “to know and to search out and to seek wisdom” (Ecc. 7:25). The Apostle Paul was known for the powerful gospel that he preached, but he first resolved “to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). Ruth became the great grandmother of King David through her determination to stay with Naomi (Ruth 1:18). And Jesus wrought about salvation for all of humanity through his resolve to go to Jerusalem and die (Luke 9:51).

Sometimes great things happen through chance and/or talent. But more times than not they happen when someone resolves to push forward. Prayerfully consider which resolutions God might be looking to hear from you this year!