Traditionally, many people make New Year’s resolutions only to find that they fail to keep them after a short time. “I Am Resolved” is a hymn that expresses the kind of resolution a believer makes to the Lord. The text for the hymn was written by Palmer Hartsough in 1896.
Son of a Baptist preacher, Hartsough attended Kalamazoo College and Michigan State Normal. He became interested in music and began conducting singing schools. For the next decade, he traveled throughout the Midwest as an itinerant singing school teacher. In 1877, he settled in Rock Island, Illinois, where he opened a music studio and served as music director at a local Baptist church.
In 1893, Hartsough moved to Cincinnati to write texts for Fillmore Brothers Publishers, who had been impressed with his work. He also served as a music director for the Ninth Street Baptist Church. During his lifetime, he was the author of more than 1,000 hymn texts; he often used the pseudonym “Uncle Frank.”
He left the Fillmore Brothers in 1903 to become a full-time evangelistic song leader, and in1906, he was ordained as a Baptist minister. In 1914, at the age of seventy, he began his ministry at the Baptist Church in Ontario, Michigan, where he served for thirteen years. He died at the age of eighty-eight.
The tune for “I Am Resolved” was composed by James Fillmore, Sr., and Hartsough wrote the words. It was originally written for a Christian Endeavor convention in San Francisco. It’s reported that the delegates sang the hymn from Ohio to California as they rode trains to the convention. Fillmore originally wrote some words, but he asked Hartsough to rewrite the lyrics to appeal to a broader audience. “I Am Resolved” first appeared in “The Praise Hymnal,” published by Fillmore in 1896.
Resolve means “to firmly make a definite decision, a strong determination.” This hymn describes the resolve that is necessary to make a decision for Christ, and it demands a continuing commitment to “follow the Saviour, faithful and true each day.” That involves obeying God’s Word and doing His will, even amid opposition from others along the way.
The last stanza calls for others to join the Christian walk, being “taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit.” God’s Word is a light to the believer’s path. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalms 119:105). The Spirit guides and directs the steps of the believer, empowering him to resist temptation and to serve the Lord. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). The refrain then emphasizes the urgent need not to put off the critical decision to come to Christ. This hymn is often used as a song of invitation for the lost to come to Christ, but it can also be sung to invite believers to walk closer to the Lord.
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
Hasten so glad and free,
Jesus, greatest, highest,
I will come to thee.
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true one, he is the Just One,
He hath the words of life.
Faithful and true each day,
Heed what he saith, do what he willeth,
He is the living way.
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heav’nly way.
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