A Lifelong Resolution
. . . Now choose life so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life . . .Deuteronomy 30:19b-20a
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions this year? According to etymonline.com, the English word resolution comes from a Latin word, resolutionem, the “process of reducing things into simpler forms.”*
If we break down a lofty goal into simple actions, our chance for success increases. If we want to lose weight, we might begin by removing one non-nutritious item from our diet, like chips or soda, and adding one nutritious item, like a salad. If we want to save money, we might eliminate one unnecessary expense, like stopping for coffee on our way to work or buying clothes that need to be dry-cleaned.
Many of us set spiritual goals from time to time. We want to pray more, read our Bibles more, or serve more. We might also want to eliminate some things: argue less, complain less, or worry less. Again, we can break these goals down into simpler forms. We could pray for family members while we brush our teeth. We could count to ten before we respond to a hurtful comment or complain about an unexpected setback.
Although the word resolution doesn’t appear in the Bible, the concept does. God continually reduced the lofty goal of holiness into a simpler form. Moses told the Israelites that all the rules set forth in the Law could be reduced to “love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:19). A few decades later, Joshua simplified it even more, “Choose . . . whom you will serve”(Joshua 24:15). But still God’s people couldn’t stick to those goals.
Therefore, when Jesus came to earth He said, “Just follow me. I’ll model what you should do. And the Holy Spirit will give you all the power you need to keep following me.” Actually, that brings us right back to what Moses told the Israelites: “hold fast to him.”
Do you want to be a more consistent Christ-follower? Hold fast to Him. When you stumble, He’ll pick you up. When you’re uncertain, His voice will calm and guide you. When it’s dark, He’ll provide the light. Just stay close enough so He can grab your hand.
Compare Deuteronomy 30:11-20 with 1 John 5:1-5. Why did Moses and John say that obeying God was not “too difficult” or “burdensome”?
Read Matthew 19:16-22 and Luke 9:57-62. What kept these individuals from following Jesus? Is there something that’s preventing you from following Him?
Read John 10:27-30 and John 12:26. What is the reward of those who follow Jesus and hold fast to Him? Are we willing to wait for that reward?
Denise K. Loock