We are heading into the new year in just a few days and I have been thinking about new year’s resolutions (along with everyone else). I have to be honest with you. I have never really been a big believer in such things. It is not that I have never made any (I have) but that all too often I found myself making self-centered resolutions (due to me own proud preoccupation with myself no doubt). I also noticed that my resolutions not only tend to be self-focused but self-reliant. So because I noticed that my own (and many other people’s) resolutions tended to be self-centered and self-reliant I simply stopped doing them.
But that is not exactly the right answer. The problem is not the resolutions (as you might have guessed) but the sinner making the resolutions (just as the internet isn’t the problem but the sinner using it). So having recognized and confessed to God my self-centeredness and pleading his forgiveness on the basis of Christ’s atoning death I go forward. But what am I to resolve to do this year? Should I resolve to do anything or just do my best and see what happens.
I have chosen to make some resolutions. I do this because I know my own tendency to lose sight of the big picture and fall into living unintentionally. But if I am to do “all things to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31) this will require focused intentionality. And it will require God’s working in me. But what resolutions should I make? As awesome as it would be to try to go to space this year (that should probably be a two year goal right? – humor) I decided to make just a few resolutions around the major areas of my life.
Those areas and resolutions will have to wait for another post. In this post I want to kind of set before us some of the big-picture, God-sized resolutions from Jonathan Edwards that have sparked my imagination and contemplation. These set the mold for resolutions as far as I am concerned and so, while they have been reproduced and commented on elsewhere, I have no shame in doing so here. They are listed in no particular order (though you can find them organized topically here).
Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s 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 many and how great soever.
Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.
Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
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.
Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better.
Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc
Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
And maybe the most necessary for all of these resolutions:
Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.