Holy Resolve


Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” (Acts 19:21 ESV)



I read the words “resolved in the Spirit” and my thoughts went to the what – why – how  questions that I often have with a verse I just read.  This one unlocked an amazing answer to me as to why a person can fade when he has been so close to the fire in his relationship with Christ.  It helped me see why we can go to a great event where our soul is uplifted and blessed by other excited followers of Christ, only to fade out after we return to normalcy. It helped me see why so many men and women are frustrated that they can’t hold to their commitment in those events or a special visitation by the Spirit, when they get into the real world of temptations.  Let me set this up with a nautical verse to compliment the one above.  It is about a ship and its rudder:


“Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.”  (James 3:4 ESV)


I love boats and have had several in my lifetime.  I love ships and I am awed by the old and big ones.  I love the sea, the wind, the waves and the sea life.  But I know this:  The ocean is dangerous, and if there is no control over those boats and ships they will be blown aground on reefs or rocky shoals.  When that happens, we can become food for that sea life that I love. There is only one way to prevent this. It requires a rudder and power.  James use the rudder metaphor to stress the importance of the tongue.  I believe to understand what it means to be resolved in the Spirit we need to see it as a rudder and power for our soul and our choices. This holy resolve becomes our commitment to navigate through the waters of temptations that we face in life when we are being blown and driven toward those things that seem so irresistible to us.  Our spiritual rudder and power is called “resolved in the Spirit” and it steers and powers us away from our choice to yield to temptations, if we will use it.


When I absorbed this thought I thought of the many men I’ve known who lost that spiritual rudder and power that I speak of.  At one time they were so close to the fire they almost sizzled with excitement and passion for Christ.  Some grew weak for they were no longer in fellowship with other believers and they lost their resolve.  Some grew weak in resolve because of more time and money to fulfill their pleasures and leave responsibility behind.  Another god took preference over Jesus and His desires for them, as they became half-hearted in serving and reinvesting their life.  Some were weak all along, and they were simply propped up by an experience at a weekend rally or event, only to reenter their world of temptations without a rudder of a holy resolve.  That will pick them off every time.  When I thought of these people I could not help but ask the why question.  Why did they fall away?  Did they not realize what they are up against?  Did they not realize that we are in a holy war, and the enemy prowls around us 24/7?  He is looking for an opening, and if he sees us weak in our resolve to live out our life with passion and purpose for Christ, he sees a weakness that he can exploit.


I said I ask the how and what question along with the why.  So how do I keep this from happening to me?  What must I do to prevent it?   To me it requires inspiration and motivation to have resolve.  I must be resolved to be obedient to that which Christ has revealed to me, and I am motivated and inspired to follow through.  Why would I want to be obedient?  It is because Jesus deserves it, and He is my Lord.  What is another reason I would want to be obedient?  It is another way for me to express my love for Him.  Why would I want to do this?  It is because He loves me.


I have also learned that resolve is required to conquer mountains.  One cannot climb a mountain without a resolve to persevere through pain and the challenging conditions of mountain climbing.  In a similar way I have found that I too must resolve to climb a spiritual mountain whenever I face it.  I cannot run from it and still be resolved to conquer it.  I cannot negotiate an easier climb when I face a steep uphill battle. I must be resolved to take one step at a time, and before long conquer it.  Resolve doesn’t check out when difficulties or leisure comes.  It stays the course, for there is no other way for a believer to live when he is truly resolved in the Spirit.


For the reasons above I am resolved.  To me that is a glimpse of what being resolved in the Spirit looks like.  The next question is, “How is resolve maintained?”  Maybe I’ve said it before?  When we abide in Christ, and He abides in us we have the Spirit of God living in us … directing our life.  He tells us clearly that we will face tribulations and trials.  But we hear His voice directing us, for we are familiar with it.  Trials cannot be avoided.  However, He also tells us that He has overcome them.  That is how I stay resolved.  I abide in Him and He in me … and I allow Him to be my Overcomer. You see … the Holy Spirit is my rudder and my power to face those things. That is what it means to me to be “resolved in the Spirit.”  It is a holy union that gives us everything we need at any time we need it, to overcome anything that we will ever face.  That is why I am resolved.  But much better is the resolve the Spirit in me has as well. More than my being resolved in Him is His resolve in me to help me overcome those temptations.  Together we will climb any spiritual mountain, for we are resolved in the Spirit together to take it on.  Like Paul, will you also be resolved in the Spirit to live for Him?  It will be the best way to live your life.