Slideshow image

In early 2017 I sat down and wrote 12 resolutions for myself. I know resolutions are often dumped more or less about February 1st, but I was looking for a medium to communicate what I was thinking. I could see the clear gap between God’s expectations about how life should be lived, and the way I live.

Not only could I see some clear tangible ways that my life departed from that good order, they were things that I could put my finger on. Things that could be rectified. So, I set about writing them down.

Now, if I just sat down a wrote a list of sins and weaknesses, that would not be all that helpful. Surely the only response then would be to despair over the weight of my perpetual sinfulness. Instead, I wanted to encapsulate the positive direction of how I, as a Christian, husband and servant, ought to walk in the world under God’s grace. That is, to not just say “these are my failures, don’t do that,” but instead to say “this is the direction of the good life, and I want to live it.”-

Here enters the idea of a Resolution. Resolutions are that thing that encapsulates our intentions, hope and dreams. Resolutions are resolute! They are hard and definitive, achievable and measurable, but with a niggling expectation that there is a chance we may never really follow them though. We often expect our resolutions to slip through our fingers and fade into that personal shame of yet another thing that we have failed to do.

We know this. We know the kind of mixed bag of emotions and intentions that resolutions present to us. So we, in my experience, tend to fall into one of two camps. Either, we sit back and say “resolutions are stupid, just do what you want to do without setting yourself up for failure,” or we end up using resolutions as a guilt trip to try and inspire some action on our behalf; “I’ll feel bad if I don’t follow though, so I had at least better try and do what I said I was gonna do.”

Neither seems to be a very helpful way forward. One uses the seemingly inevitable failure as an excuse not to resolve anything, and the other uses resolution to try and trick oneself into action with guilt. I don’t know about you, but neither sounds like a fulfilling way to live. No matter the philosophy of life that you think is ideal, there is little chance a life without godly achievement, or one driven by guilt, is likely to be very fulfilling or joyful. Instead there ought to be a middle way where noble efforts are perpetually engaged out of a position of grace under God.

It is in this context that I made my 12 Resolutions, not as a guilt trip for myself, nor as mere wishful fancies I never expect to reach, but rather as summaries of my hope for lived holiness. It is the path I hope and intend to tread under Christ my King in his grace. To meet these resolutions it can only be done under grace, because that is the only way for man to be made truly righteous. Yet, to meet these resolutions I must act, act as a diligent servant seeking the holiness without which I cannot see the Lord.


In his second letter to the Thessalonian church, Paul reflects on their suffering in light of the coming judgment of God toward the disobedient and assures them that their faith will be vindicated. Then Paul turns and says this:

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfil every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Th 1:11–12 ESV)

This is my prayer for these resolutions, although we're not suffering like those guys, God's judgement is still coming and our fatih still needs vindicating. I pray God may make me worthy of his calling and do so by fulfilling my resolve for good, utilising His power in this work of faith so that Jesus is glorified in me and I in him, all through the Grace of God.

These resolutions are not attempts at a pharisaic legalism, but rather are hopefully summaries of the commands of God and the implications of God’s word for my life that are now deliberately sought.


But this isn’t just for me. It seems an adage well known that there are a great many people who wish their obedience to Christ was much further advanced. And so it is likely that you may share my resolve to advance in your personal holiness. Perhaps you stand to gain a great deal by joining me in this worthy task and so I invite you to come with me over the coming months as I walk though my 12 Resolutions. I may not cover one every week, but probably at least every other week. We will look at one at a time explaining and exploring the background and implications.

Some of these resolutions are particular to my place in life (e.g. as a husband, pastor), but I think on the whole it may be to the benefit of many for me to share them, and to walk through them with a view to inspiring others to resolve to walk more closely with God. Even if particular ones do not address your place in life, there will usually be a corresponding obedience that would fit in that place (e.g. as a wife, as a single person, etc).


So all that remains for this week is to share all 12 Resolutions, and look forward to working through them in the coming weeks:


  1. I resolve, so far as I am able, to live a righteous, God-fearing life in the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God through Jesus the Christ.


  2. As a Christian, I hereby resolve to practice habits as pertain to holiness in thought, word and deed. Not out of bondage to law or guilt, but from desire to know the living God I shall meditate on the Word of God, through habitual reading of Scripture, spiritual songs, listening & reciting God’s Word, as well as by prayer upon it’s basis as near as often to daily as God may allow.


  3. In serving a God who speaks, I hereby resolve to speak to him in return, as He has commanded. I will bring to him prayers of praise and worship with thankfulness and joy in all circumstances. Because He is a loving Father, I will beseech Him with petitions that are in accordance with his Word, safe in the knowledge he will grant every good gift I need.


  4. Knowing that God deserves and desires worship, I hereby resolve to worship Him the way he has prescribed in Scripture. This will take place through daily habits and family worship times, as well as through the regular gathering of believers to participate in the means of grace.


  5. Knowing that I, as a husband, represent Christ to my wife, I hereby resolve to give my whole self to her in love for her continual purification by washing in the Word, for her well being, for her physical needs and for her emotional needs as far as God allows in His good pleasure.


  6. As an elder in the Church, I hereby resolve to live in a manner worthy of honour by both those inside and outside the Church. I will endeavour to fulfil the requirements of the office as set down in Scripture while discharging my duties with Spirit powered boldness and humility.


  7. As the leader of a household, I hereby resolve to shepherd the deposit I have been given wisely. This includes oversight of those in my care with instruction and leadership in family worship, as well as the wise direction of household matters. I will earn, invest and spend money wisely for the provision of the family while looking to prepare for the future and remain generous to others.


  8. As a sexual being, created by God in this good way, I hereby resolve to spend these energies in the loving embrace of my wife and no other. I will not look on another with covetousness or lustfulness so as to not sin in thought or deed. My faithfulness to God must be paralleled in the faithfulness to my wife.


  9. I hereby resolve not to let the culture in which I live to dictate my pattern of life or the state of my conscience. The materialism and licentiousness of the world shall be rejected, along with tolerance for perversion and wickedness in my life and my household.


  10. Being blessed with physical form, I hereby resolve to care for this body so as to enable long and faithful service of Christ and his Church as God’s grace may allow. This will be achieved through regular exercise, good diet and healthy habits such as adequate nightly rest.


  11. Knowing that God has modelled rest, and has made me a limited being, I hereby resolve to rest in reliance on God as the Sustainer and Ruler of all heavenly and earthly affairs. My rest shall not be for the sake of selfish amusement, but for the building of faith, health of my person and for the glory of God.


  12. Knowing that Christ is the greatest possession a man can have, and that the Church is commissioned to take His Gospel to the world, I hereby resolve to evangelise so that to some it may be the provision of Living Water to their soul, and to others it may be their just condemnation of their souls to the judgement by the Living God.


All of these things I resolve, knowing my weakness and inclination to fail in them. I ask the Lord Jesus to forgive in advance my sins in this regard, and that He would empower the keeping of these resolutions by the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.