As a lifeguard I can tell you that January is a busy time of year for pools, leisure centres, and gyms. It’s this time of year when people buy pool and gym memberships. Why? Well it’s the time of year that the “Reolutioners” (as we call them) resolve to burn off last years’ extra weight.
It usually lasts about three weeks.
This whole business of making resolutions for the New Year is not a bad idea; it’s good to take some time to reflect on what we could be doing better with our short lives. I think, however, we would do well to consider our resolutions every new month instead of every New Year.
At any rate, hands down the best theologian that North America has ever produced is a man named Jonathan Edwards. Edwards lived in the 1700s and was a leading figure in a series of revivals which we now call the “First Great Awakening.” He was brilliant – a literal genius. He was a pastor and later a missionary. He was a man of God who loved the glory of God. And he was socially awkward…
Anyway, at the young age of 19 he wrote 70 resolutions that would become the code for the rest of his life and ministry. And at this time of year, when we make new resolutions and new goals, it is worth considering what the best philosophical theologian in North America thought about such things. So I have read through his resolutions and copied a few that I found particularly note-worthy:
- 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, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
- Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
- Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
- Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
- 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, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
- Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it.
- Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year.
- Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it.
- Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it.
- Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.
God bless you this New Year! Love and serve the Lord in 2015! Seek out his grace and forgiveness when you fall short of your goals!
You can read all70 of Edwards’ Resolutions for free online at: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/works1.i.iii.html