Now that Christmas has come and gone, many folks are now turning their attention to crafting New Year’s resolutions. I will be nicer to my co-workers. I will lose 10 pounds. I will exercise at least four days a week. I will be more patient with my children. I will save more money. I will read through all of Church Dogmatics this year. You know the drill.
As you prayerfully consider your own resolutions, I’d highly recommend you spend some time reading Jonathan Edwards’s famous resolutions. His seventy resolutions, written by the time he was about twenty years old, are among the most encouraging (and convicting!) material you’ll read in Edwards’s corpus. For example, check out resolutions one and twenty-eight below:
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 myriads 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.
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.
You can read all of the resolutions online at the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University. At the same website, you can also read an introduction to the resolutions written by George Claghorn, who edited the volume in the Works of Jonathan Edwards that includes the resolutions. If you’d like to own an inexpensive hard copy of the resolutions, check out Stephen Nichols’s Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions: An Advice to Young Converts (P&R, 2001).