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New Year 2018

Jan 12, 2018

Happy New Year and welcome to 2018.  The beginning of a new year is often filled with resolutions to eat less and exercise more, get organized, save more money, and any number of other items one may deem important or in need of change.  I have already read several blogs and articles on New Year’s resolutions and seen many others that I did not have time to read.  Rather than contribute to that already covered territory, I thought I would direct your attention to the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards. I wrote this same blog this time last year and received several comments about it, so I thought I would repeat it this year with some changes to the resolutions I shared with you.

Edwards wrote his resolutions during the years of 1722 and 1723.  They were not New Year’s resolutions but rather the results of reflecting on how to live and what type of person to be.  He wrote them while completing his schooling and preparation for ministerial training.  He wrote 70 resolutions in total.  I will not endeavor to reproduce all 70 in this post but will give a sampling of his resolutions in the hope and prayer that you will see their relevance for today and pursue reading Resolutions in its entirety. 

Edwards begins his resolutions with this opening statement, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake. Remember to read over these resolutions once a week.” Notice that Edwards starts with an understanding that he is totally reliant on God to do anything and asks for God’s grace to keep the resolutions only in so far as they agree with God’s will.  He doesn’t assume that because he wants to do them they agree with what God wants.  He makes the resolution and asks God to graciously guide him by allowing him to keep the resolutions as they do align with what God wills. 

How does this approach compare with how you make resolutions? Do you make them without any consideration of what God would have done? Do you acknowledge your total dependence on God?

Resolution 1

Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory and to my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how ever so many and how ever so great.

Resolution 4

Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; not be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.

All things to the glory of God!

Resolution 5

Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

Does this strike a chord with you?  How much time do you spend on social media? How much time do you spend each day in unprofitable activities?

Resolution 6

Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

How would living with all your might change the way you live?

Resolution 12

Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride or vanity or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

How well would we all be served to take this resolution to heart?  If delight is found in anything because it gratifies pride or vanity may we, like Edwards, resolve to immediately get rid of it.

Resolution 17

Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die. 

Resolution 19

Resolved, never to do anything that I should be afraid to do if I expected it would not be above an hour before I should hear the last trump.

Resolution 22

Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

Have you set your mind on things above?

Resolution 25

Resolved, to examine carefully and constantly what that one thing in me is that causes me in the least to doubt the love of God; and so direct all my forces against it.

Do you regularly examine yourself before God to see where you may be doubting him?

Resolution 34

Resolved, in narrations never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

How would your conversations change if you resolved to only speak the pure and simple truth?

Friends, as you have read over these resolutions I pray that they have caused you to stop and ponder how you live life before God.  They are but a sampling of the resolutions Edwards penned but I pray they have given you food for thought.

By His Grace Alone,

Josh