With it being New Year’s and people making or thinking about making resolutions of all kinds, I have decided to spend a month blogging through some of the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards(1722). I want to do this as a gift to you, serving you, because I think you all should be making godly, robust, and costly resolutions for 2014; and thinking through what you’re going to resolve to do, is worth spending a month on. Now even though the famous puritan pastor and theologian (some say “the greatest mind America ever produced”) Jonathan Edwards did not write his resolutions for new years, I am convinced that they are the BEST resolutions ever written, and the best way to craft your own is to read the best resolutions ever made, his. Before we go into them, today I will comment on how Edwards began his resolutions:
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.
These two sentences are evidence of Edwards’ wisdom. In the first sentence he makes it clear that he understands his own nature, that it is sinful and unable to do any good without God’s help. In making resolutions he knew that none of them, however great they were, would ever be done unless God was the driving force behind them, giving Edwards the resolve to do what he resolved to do. Thus, Edwards asks for God’s help, because he knows if he doesn’t have it, these won’t be done.
Don’t miss the last part of the first sentence, “so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake.” He is not resolving to do whatever comes to mind at random, his resolutions have a direction and an aim. The direction is God-centered, and the aim is the glory of Christ. He does not want to be a part of something that God is not in, and where Christ is not glorified. Do your resolutions have the same direction and aim? They should.
In the second sentence Edwards again is aware of his frailty and weakness, because he shows that he needs (as all of us do) constant repetition in order to get these into his life. He needs to be reminded of them often, that is why he aims to read them once a week. This is good advice for us, because how many of us resolve to do something, and only do it for a week or two? Too many! I want to encourage all of you to make your resolutions visible in many places. Write them on a sticky note, or on a note card and put them on your mirror, in your dashboard, on your laptop, or wherever you are going to be; so that you see them and are reminded of them often.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at Edwards’ first resolution.