Today I want to continue the “New Year’s Resolution” theme by diving a little bit deeper into Edward’s resolutions then seeing what we can learn from him. I give you seven more resolutions!
20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest Temperance in eating and drinking.
28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive my self to grow in the Knowledge of the same.
30. 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.
37. Resolved, to enquire every Night, as I am going to Bed, wherein I have been negligent, what Sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied my self : Also at the end of every Week, Month and Year.
48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost Niceness and Diligence, and the strictest Scrutiny, to be looking into the State of my Soul, that I may know whether I have truly an Interest in Christ or no ; that when I come to die, I may not have any Negligence respecting this to repent of.
I want you to stop and think for a second about the nature of New Year’s resolutions. We make them… clench our teeth and muster up all the power we can in our will then FAIL. I know I have already failed to keep some of my resolutions this year. For instance, I made the following resolution: “Resolved, to be less awesome this year.” And darn it, I failed already! All jokes aside, our failure to be able to keep our resolutions shows us something about our nature as fallen human beings. We cannot do what we know is right. Then I am reminded of the Gospel. Jesus knows I try and fail…. but more than that Jesus knows I am not just a person who sins, I am a sinner. Jesus knows this and covers my sins. But he doesn’t just leave us there. He doesn’t just say “BAM your sins are covered” and then walks away. No! He sends us his Spirit whom he has purchased for us so that we might live in a way that is pleasing to him. It is by his grace that we can live holy lives. It is by his grace that we can follow through with what we know we ought to do. It is His grace, through the power of his Spirit that enables us to do what we ought. Jonathan Edwards knew this. That is why he started off his resolutions by saying:
Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without God’s Help, I do humbly intreat 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 new that he was unable to do anything without God’s help. He knew he couldn’t muster up the inner strength to keep these resolutions. He knew it was only by God’s grace that he could do this. So this year as you try to follow through with your resolutions I entreat you, Don’t forget that it is His grace, through the power of his Spirit that enables us to do what we ought. And when you fall down and fail remember that Jesus has covered for your failings and that He is eager for you to run back into his arms.