We stand before a new year – 2021! On January 1, millions of individuals around the world will have started the new year with resolutions which they will walk away from in a matter of days. The difficulty of holding on to these self-made promises can exasperate an individual resulting in a life of regrets; long hours sitting in front of the television; reading “success” stories on Facebook; watching endless hours of YouTube videos; always being a follower on Twitter, but never leading a fulfilled life. What a waste indeed! Consider the following: each new year offers 365 days; each day has 24 hours; each hour has 60 minutes; each minute has 60 seconds. Thus, an individual has 8,760 hours; 525,600 minutes, and 31,536,000 seconds in their hands to work with!
In the eighteenth century, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) compiled a list of 70 resolutions that he kept throughout his lifetime. He knew that in his own strength he would not be able to keep them; as such he prefaced his resolutions with these words: “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,”; Edwards depended on God’s strength. Of his list, the following are worth mentioning:
“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.
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it 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 should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.
19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
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.
28. 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.”
These are but a few of Edwards’ resolve to live to the glory of God.
I am looking forward to a year of resolve to seek God, to know God, to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3.18). Throughout 2021 may we devote time to seeking God in prayer, studying the Scriptures, building up one another in the faith (Ephesians 4.11-16), and sharing the message of the gospel with the community of Edgewood. May we be “careful how [we] walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most the most of [our] time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5.15-17). Lord, “teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90.12).
God’s grace and peace be with you in the New Year.