New Years Resolutions

James Krieg | Jan 22nd, 2012

New Years Resolutions

The concept of New Years Resolutions (apparently) started with Jonathan Edwards. At age 19 (the same as an average 2nd year uni student!) he wrote 21 resolutions in one sitting, which grew to 70 over the next 2 years. He would read through his list every week. He wrote in an introduction:

'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.'

It's important to understand that in making these resolutions, Edward was not for a moment thinking he was somehow improving his own holiness or piety by 'being more committed to Jesus'. He firmly believed that salvation by grace through faith means not only depending fully on God for salvation, but also for every ongoing moment in his life as a Christian. This is not an act of sheer willpower, but of humble dependance upon divine grace.

Here are some highlights (for me, anyway):

Resolution #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.'

Resolution #8: Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.'

Resolution #25: Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.'

Resolution #31: Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by
the test of this Resolution.'

Resolution #69: 'Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it'

May God give us the grace to also make such godly resolutions, and the strength and humility to fulfil them for His glory.

(The complete list can be found here)