By Rev Angela C
TO be resolute is to not change your mind. It is to be determined that you will pursue a particular course of action whatever the consequences. It usually involves commitment to the point of sacrifice and may include self-sacrifice as a martyr to the cause.
To be resolute in God’s service is a necessary decision for every Christian, and to know what this looks like we have only to turn to Holy Scripture. The best example that we have is our Lord and Saviour: “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed on the third day be raised to life” (Mt 16:21 NIV).
When Jesus says that he must go to Jersusalem it is a clear indication that He knows exactly what God’s plan is. Do we know what God‘s larger vision of the Kingdom looks like? We have been invited to study the plan personally and collectively so that we understand the signs of the times and the call on the church to respond. The fields are riper than they have ever been. It is harvest time. Are we willing to be counted as one of the reliable labourers?
When Jesus says that he must suffer and be put to death he leaves no doubt in our mind that he is fully aware of the terrible price that he is going to have to pay. Sometimes we have a strong sense that if we take a particular stand there will be a price to pay.
Martin Luther King Jr comes to mind immediately as one who was undeterred by the rising opposition to his anti-racist speeches and sermons. He gave his life freely long before the assassin’s bullets caused his death. Are we willing even to be slightly inconvenienced or embarrassed for the gospel?
The Good News version of this passage is even more direct when it comes to Jesus’ statements: “I must go to Jerusalem…I will be put to death…I will be raised to life.”
His assurance of resurrection means that he was confident of the outcome. Are we this convinced that we will live with the Lord both here and in eternity if we accept His invitation of salvation? Is this sufficient motivation to pledge our undying loyalty to our Redeemer and to surrender to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit our Sanctifier?
Our answer to these questions will determine how we respond to inevitable opposition.
For our Lord, it came in the form of a rebuke from Peter his closest friend: “God forbid it, Lord!...That must never happen to you!” (Mt 22 GN). Who is likely to challenge your decision to be resolute in God’s service? Is it someone who wants to you engage in more lucrative activities, or to engage in more trivial pursuits? Is it from a group who would rather not be reminded of the destitute in our midst? Wherever it comes from you have to recognize that it is not the voice of God. You have to be prepared to stand alone if need be.
How does Jesus respond? Take a close look at Mt 16: 23 GN: “Get away from me Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thought of yours don’t come from God, but from human nature.” Are we as quick to reject the well-intentioned efforts of others to deter us from our life purpose or passion that is God-ordained? Do we have the gift of discernment to be able to test spirits? Do we have the courage to declare our position?
Jesus knows his role in God’s divine plan of redemption and he was not about to take an easier route than the cross. He knows that this is the only way and we must be eternally grateful for his perseverance and persistence. Are we as resolute? If we are then we can identify with Daniel facing the lion’s den, the three Hebrew men thrown in the furnace, Nehemiah re-building the walls of Jerusalem, Mary, the mother of our Lord, and St Paul, just to name a few.
In order to prepare to become resolute we can use a Psalm such as Psalm 5:10-12 NIV to help us to seek the mind of God: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
May we be ready for the great work that God has assigned us to do. The battle is fierce but Christ has already won the victory. Since we have been called for such a time as this may we be resolute in God’s service.