It’s that time of the year again… time for “New Year’s Resolutions.” I’ve never been a big fan of them. In my book, they’re too much like a diet – something you really want to keep to, but you know you won’t. That’s not to say that Resolutions and Diets are both bad and worthless, because I’m sure some of you have greatly benefitted from diets and maybe even from your New Year’s Resolutions from years past.
But here’s the thing: If I want to make a change, it’s more about making a lifestyle change than about simply saying “I want to lose 10 pounds this year.” I could say that all I want, but if I’m not committed to eating healthier and exercising regularly, then nothing’s going to change.
So what are some resolutions worth making? I believe those are resolutions that we really intend to keep (afterall, “Resolve” is something that’s supposed to be firm and certain). And those resolutions ought to be really worth it. I think we can all learn a lesson in resolutions from Jonathan Edwards…
Jonathan Edwards was a Pastor and Theologian who lived from 1703-1758 and is widely considered among the most brilliant minds America has ever produced (and definitely the most influential American theologian). When he was 19 he started writing his “Resolutions,” and he read them at least once each week to ensure that he was keeping them. In total, he wrote 70 Resolutions to keep in the course of his life, the first 21 of which were likely written in one night. Here are some of my “favorites,” you can read all of his Resolutions here.
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.
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.
12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.
14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.
32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.
52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.
56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.
70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.