by Anita Miles
“...Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
If I have seen the word “resolution” 1 time this year, I do not exaggerate to say that I have seen (or heard) it 1000 times in these past 10 short days! As a matter of fact, I got to work yesterday morning and my co-worker stuck her head in my door and asked me to please come see about her computer. I quote her, “I think it’s the resolution, but I don’t know how to fix it!” I have to confess... I somewhat chuckled out loud at that statement, knowing that I was going to open this post with the sentence that I did! It seems to be the plaguing word in the first month of every new year! Then somehow, at some point in the year and the craziness, it somewhat dissipates!
So for a little transparency in the matter, I have NOT made out any lists of resolutions that I have for the year! I usually do rather poorly at maintaining them, so I’ve come to the point that I really don’t bother. PLEASE - no judging! I do know what I would like to see happen this year, and I’m working diligently to see that it comes to pass, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it if it takes a little longer than anticipated! I guess you could say in my current circumstance, it’s a life goal as opposed to a new year resolution, so it may take a little longer - as I am well aware that life seems to keep the hiccups! With that being said, it does not mean that I haven’t taken the time to self-examine, identify and attempt to work on the areas I would like to change. Just not in an official way!
It seems a little odd that in the season where “change” seems to be the theme - be it weight loss, organizational goals, increased financial stability, etc… - the word that has been an ever present thought for me over the past few days of the new year is “resolved!” While I understand that resolution and resolved seem to have the same roots, there is something about being resolved that seems so much more than a resolution.
This past Sunday night, at around 3 am in the morning, out of the clear blue, I was wide eyed and the only thing that I could hear were the words to a song that I LOVE to hear my sister and brother-in-law sing. You see, I know that they have been through the fire and the flood with different life circumstances and to hear them stand and sing this song, I am fully aware that it’s much more than just words:
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 follow my Savior - faithful and true each day.
HEED what He sayeth - DO what He willeth
He is the living way
I will hasten to Him
Hasten so glad and free
Jesus, Greatest, Highest,
I will come to Thee
I could list a few more verses - but you get the point! I AM RESOLVED!
You see, while I won’t deny that although I will do all that I can to fulfil my personal goals of betterment, there are a few things that are not on my mental list of resolutions.
My decision to follow Christ, my commitment to Holiness, and my belief in the experience of Pentecost is something I have already settled and resolved.
I vividly remember one particular day in my assigned study group of my early college years. I was probably around 19 or 20 years old. This group decided we would grab a bite to eat while we discussed an upcoming project. I sat down to eat with a crew of people that were as polar opposite of myself as anyone could get. It was definitely an eye opener - as I had grown up in a Holiness / Pentecostal church. It was all I knew. That day I looked around. I was seated with 2 Muslim young women with their head scarfs, a Catholic nurse, a Malaysian agnostic, and a rebellious Baptist deacon’s son. You want to talk about a culture shock for a young Christian girl raised in the sticks of Alabama…. To say that it was an interesting experience is an understatement!! Things somewhat blew up a bit when the agnostic decided to order pork tacos - in the presence of the 2 Muslim students. She was clueless as to what she had just done….and there began the conversation of religion!
That night I went home and contemplated the experience. It was a day that I feel like I was given one of the greatest choices of my life. My parents, who I trusted completely, were nowhere around. The mentors who had been priceless to me, weren’t there to help guide my words or actions. It was the first time I had felt like I had no crutch of advice or wisdom to lean on. In the contemplation, I recalled all of the confusion, anger, and disillusion that was recited at that table. I found it to be completely disturbing. While I had no desire to be a part of their religions, that unsettled feeling of listening to their discontent led me to Ground Zero that night of what I believed…
I recalled the night I lay restless in bed after church as a young girl. I had realized that if I were to die, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go to Heaven or Hell. I wanted that assurance that I had made my peace with God. I crawled up and went to find my parents. I met Jesus in a personal way that night in our living room with my head buried in our couch - with a parent on each side - sobbing and asking Christ to be my Savior. I also recalled the night as a 13 year old girl, towards the back of Richlands Tabernacle that I received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. It was an experience that I still never want to get over. The details of that evening are a bit of a blur to me because I was truly baptized that night. There was no doubt that I had been inundated by the Power of the Spirit of God. And as much as I believed it was for me that night, I still believe it’s for me today!
As I contemplated all of the moments that I had personally encountered Christ and had experienced the Power of Pentecost - there was no question in my mind on where I stood. I didn’t need my parents to tell me what to say. I didn’t need my mentors to guide me in wisdom. I had experienced HIM for myself! I never had to feel intimidated about who I was in Christ. I realized I had already resolved it! I had made a firm decision to follow Christ and it was a simple as that. I didn’t want or remotely desire to turn and retreat from the truth I knew.
In writing these events, it is my intention to encourage you to take some time to do a personal inventory of your spiritual commitment as well. The world is getting more and more vile. The church world is changing to become more congruent with the culture. We have to know our identity in Christ or we will fall victim in our indecision. And while I’m not discouraging making spiritual goals - I want you to reach beyond that and consider your commitment! Everyone wants to read their Bible and pray more than what they already do. But where do we REALLY stand in our RESOLVE to follow Christ? What was it that first attracted you to Him? Has your attraction to him begun to wane? Does the world’s delight look more appealing these days than a resolve to serve Christ?
Over the past couple of years, my husband and I re-visited Ground Zero of our faith and our commitment to it and to our local church body, and to our Heritage in Pentecost. We came away from that visit with more resolve than we either one have ever had! There was not a question in our minds that we were born into the Fire and staying in it was non-negotiable. We’ll be the first to tell you that as the years pass, the more out of style Holiness becomes, but we have no intention of changing. I’m ok with being different. I do not need acceptance in this world - I’ve been accepted into another kingdom that will far outlast this one. There is nothing this world has to offer me now that is worth the risk of losing what Heaven has already given me!
Nevertheless I am not ashamed: I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day!
2 Timothy 1:12
This scripture is my motto for this year! I am RESOLVED!
Keep the faith, my friend! Settle it for yourself! Dig your heels in deep so that nothing can uproot you or cause you to waver! Get a good glimpse of what is to come and then the here and now will pale in comparison!