What does it take to be a resolute person and is that necessarily a good thing? It sometimes manifests itself as stubbornness which can be a weakness that many of us are prone to. Would you describe yourself as a determined person or just plain stubborn?! This famous natural arch has been withstanding the strongest waves for many years giving a great example of resolution and yet the time will no doubt come when it will cave in to the sorrow of many who have swum through it. Whilst Durdle Door remains standing, sadly the Azure Window rock arch which was even larger collapsed in recent years. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat described this event as ’heart-breaking’. It is sad indeed when someone’s resolution is broken - the stronger and longer-standing the resolution, the greater the sorrow with a subsequent collapse.
- ‘If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am’ - Cyril Cusack
- ‘God help us, we can't keep up this pulling, that is certain. Amongst ourselves we are unendingly cheerful, but what each man feels in his heart I can only guess’ - Robert Falcon Scott
- ‘By the end of four dark days, we had logged eleven northerly miles. This would not sound very impressive except to someone who has also pulled a load in excess of his own bodyweight over pressure rubble in the dark and at a temperature of –40°C’ - Sir Ranulph Fiennes
- ‘When I circumnavigated the globe the outcome didn't really matter, it was about a goal I'd set myself’ - Ellen MacArthur
To make a resolution without being resolute is a pointless exercise that many make at the turn of another year. A review of favourite best intentions identify overall health, finances, aspirations, mental health and to live more sustainably as being the top five. What was the last resolution you recall making or hearing someone else make? To set yourself a goal is not a bad thing unless it harms others through selfishness. Examples of this might be pursuing a ruthless route to promotion, indulging in dating when already married or a young parent ‘getting the miles in’ for a marathon and so avoiding child care responsibilities. It is refreshing to meet a person of resolve who says what they mean and mean what they say - such a person can generally be relied upon.
- ‘Resolve never to quit, never to give up, no matter what the situation’ - Jack Nicklaus
Courageous explorers such as Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes have shown great resolution but have also made big sacrifices. Amundsen reached the South Pole 14th December 1911, five weeks before Scott, and safely returned to base camp whereas all five of Scott’s expedition died on the return journey. Whilst Shackleton had failures on his Antarctic expeditions, nonetheless he showed great resolution - he sailed 800 miles in nothing more than a glorified rowing boat, battled treacherous seas with little navigation equipment, climbed a mountain range and glaciers to go back with help to rescue 22 of his men stuck on Elephant Island. Ranulph Fiennes was so determined that he sawed off several of his own frost-bitten fingers whilst exploring frozen regions in 2002 but went on to climb Everest at the age of 65. This may or may not inspire you in your current or future resolutions!
Contrast these human feats with the resolution we find in God towards us. In the big story that runs throughout the Bible, we see God’s resolute plan of mercy towards us in our frail helplessness.
- ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ - John 3:16
- ‘I give my back to the whip, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard. I do not hide from shame—they spit in my face. Because the Lord God helps me, I will not be dismayed; therefore, I have set my face like flint to do his will, and I know that I will triumph’ - Isaiah 50:6-7 (TLB)
- ‘Jesus Christ, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross’ - Philippians 2:6-8
- ‘Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart’ - Hebrews 12:1-3
The Apostle Paul is a fine example of resolution as he persevered through hardships of many kinds (2 Corinthians 6). Paul urges us to forget what is behind and press on to take hold of the blessings that Jesus Christ has already won for us (Philippians 3). Calling for persistence in prayer and thanksgiving, he reminds us to ‘give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1 Thessalonians 5). God’s resolution to us in ‘covenant love’ is fully shown in the gift of His only Son, Jesus, whose resolute work is to resolve our deepest needs through the timeless wonder and power of the cross. Whether you are feeling resolute or not in life’s present circumstances, remember that God is resolute towards you in his grace. We will never earn it but we can become more resolute in faith, hope and love through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Though Durdle Door may one day collapse, God’s promises to you never will.
TAGS – steadfast, eternal, security, defeat, victory, triumph, consistent, consistency