We look back on the days of a year just past, and it usually occurs to us that the time has flown by too quickly for us to accomplish the things we considered important. We look forward now to the days of the year about to begin, and we take it for granted that we have the whole year ahead of us for our purposes.
What an inconsistency. On the one hand, guilt; on the other, complacency. The guilt sometimes drives us to New Year’s resolutions; the complacency, to break them.
Sometimes, in this, we look a bit too much like the unbelieving culture around us, whom we chide for the same. Resolutions, however, are not bad when viewed in the Biblical sense of reformation of life and commitment to that which is godly.
The Example of Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards, early in his Christian life, wrote down a list of things to which he was resolved as a Christian. Among his 70 resolutions, which he read every week, were these:
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I can.
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.”
These and the many others he prefaced with this statement:
“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.”
They sound altogether like he took his cue from Psalm 90, in particular the statement of vs. 12.
” So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. “
Jonathan Edwards resolved to pursue wisdom, and to use whatever time God gave him on the earth to the greatest advantage and effect in the pursuit of wisdom and gaining godliness.
As we look forward to the days of the year about to begin, then, will you make a godly resolution?
Will you say, “Resolved, that I will be careful how I walk, not as an unwise man, but as wise, making the most of the time because the days are evil, and not to be foolish, but to understand what the will of the Lord is.”
“Resolved, that by the mercies of God in the glorious gospel of justification by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, I will present my body a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is my spiritual service of worship; and I will not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind, that I may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
“Resolved, that I will use time carefully and diligently in the living of the Christian life, and I will pursue wisdom in the light of the preciousness of time.”
And like Jonathan Edwards, preface it all with this: “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.”