It’s the time of the year when people often make resolutions. Resolutions are basically decisions which when followed through on lead to habits that we believe will improve our lives or make us better people. There is a lot of cynicism around resolutions and how they rarely last beyond January. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that thinking seriously about our lives and making decisions to improve who we are has to be a good thing and something as disciples of Jesus we should think about.
A good example of someone who did exactly that was Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was perhaps America’s greatest theologian. HE lived in the mid 18th century and was a congregational pastor. A tremendous revival broke out in New England connected in part to Edwards ministry often called the Great Awakening. I have always thought that a big part of the reason that the Lord was able to use Edwards in such a tremendous way was because of the resolutions he made and followed throughout his relatively short life.
As a teenager Edwards, after reflecting on 2 Peter 3:18, wrote down a series of thoughts and practices to help him cultivate growth in grace. He would then re-read this list at least once a week to keep his mind focused and renewed. The result was that he became a man of great godliness and humility with a passion for Jesus who was used greatly by Jesus.
In total Jonathan Edwards made 70 resolutions and though couched in 18th century English they are still a practical and beneficial for those who want to get serious about spiritual growth. I have picked out a couple for us to think about and whether they may be resolutions we could make to deepen our walk with Christ. I hope you are inspired either to adapt some of Edward’s resolutions or write your own.
Resolved: Never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life
Resolved: I will live in such a way, as I will wish I had done when I come to die.
Resolved: Never to do anything, which I would be afraid to do if I expected it would not be more than an hour before I would hear the last trump sound. (i.e. when Jesus returns.)
Resolved: Whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, I will trace it back till I come to the original cause; and then I will carefully endeavour BOTH 1) to do so no more AND 2) to fight and pray with all my might against the source of the original impulse.
Resolved: To ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, where I could have possibly done better in any respect.
Resolved: After afflictions, to inquire in what ways I am now the better for having experienced them. What good have I received by them? What benefits and insights do I now have because of them?