Each year, during the first week of January, I have made it my habit to review a series of personal resolutions written long, long ago – the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards. While these are not necessarily my own resolutions, at least not the whole, they are worthy of reflection. In reading and re-reading this list by Edwards I find that areas of my own life are exposed, sometimes encouragingly, other times as areas in need of attention. And whether or not Edwards’ personal resolutions fit, in reading them I also find ideas of my own.
Please note that I have revamped the language somewhat to speak to contemporary ears. I hope in doing this I have not dulled any of the original intent.
Aware that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do pray that, by his grace, he will enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are in line with his will, and that they will honor Christ.
NOTE: Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.
1. Resolved: I will DO whatever I think will be most to God’s glory; and my own good, profit and pleasure, for as long as I live. I will do all these things without any consideration of the time they take. Resolved: to do whatever I understand to be my duty and will provide the most good and benefit to mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I encounter, and no matter how many I experience or how severe they may be.
2. Resolved: I will continually endeavor to find new ways to practice and promote the things from Resolution 1.
3. Resolved: If ever – really, whenever – I fail & fall and/or grow weary & dull; whenever I begin to neglect the keeping of any part of these Resolutions; I will repent of everything I can remember that I have violated or neglected, …as soon as I come to my senses again.
4. Resolved: Never to do anything, whether physically or spiritually, except what glorifies God. In fact, I resolve not only to this commitment, but I resolve not to to even grieve and gripe about these things, …if I can avoid it.
5. Resolved: Never lose one moment of time; but seize the time to use it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
6. Resolved: To live with all my might, …while I do live.
7. Resolved: Never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
8. Resolved: To act, in all respects, both in speaking and doing, as if nobody had ever been as sinful as I am; and when I encounter sin in others, I will feel (at least in my own mind& heart) as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same weaknesses or failings as others. I will use the knowledge of their failings to promote nothing but humility – even shame – in myself. I will use awareness of their sinfulness and weakness only as an occasion to confess my own sins and misery to God.