‘Tis the season for resolutions. A brother in the church with me recently sent me this very practical blog post from Tim Challies concerning making resolutions that stick. I commend it to you:
Now that you’ve clicked and read that link (you did, didn’t you?) let me tell you that I’ve never been much for New Year’s Resolutions. To be sure, I plan and vision for the church. I also try to plan and vision for how to best disciple my family in the year-to-come. And from time to time, I set personal goals. But as Challies aptly points out in his blog, far too often what we label “resolutions” are really just wishes or wishful thinking. We’re seldom willing to put pen to paper, or even type out and print a thoughtful plan of action and implementation. I’ve witnessed this same phenomenon in biblical counseling. Once I start to assign things that require writing, lots of deep thinking and soul-searching and Scripture digging, enthusiasm wanes. The sin that brought someone to a counselor is suddenly “not that bad” or not worth the effort to write out a comprehensive battle plan. Magic pixie dust I have not. Hard work driven by the Spirit’s grace and holy sweat is what a genuine resolve (i.e., resolution) requires.
Perhaps some eight years ago or more, I was exposed to the “Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.” The most famous preacher in American history was a resolved man. I cannot remember the precise age when he wrote these 69 resolutions, but methinks he was still a teen. Imagine a teen writing these kinds of things today. For that matter, imagine a teen writing anything today! Would our teens even text such resolutions?
For the next several blog posts, I simply want to paste some of Edwards’ resolutions for us to prayerfully ponder. Perhaps the Lord will lead you to adopt a few of these in your own life, then seek a biblical counselor, pastor, or accountability brother or sister to help you draw up implementation plans? [NOTE: I am indebted to Desiring God Ministries for the way they have divided up Edwards’ resolutions into helpful categories. This is why the numbers of the resolutions will not always be in chronological order below.]
Here goes, straight from Edwards’ journal:
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.
Overall Life Mission1
1. 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.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
3. 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.
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; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
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.
62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.