In 1723 Jonathan Edwards, a teenager, who would become a well-known preacher, teacher, and author, wrote a list of 70 resolutions which he read once EVERY WEEK! Repeating them, he believed, would help him stay spiritually focused and more determined to do the work they represented. From experience, he knew that resolutions often get set aside in a short while.
At the top of his list, Edwards began: “Aware that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do pray that, by his grace, he will enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are in line with his will, and that they will honor Christ.”
Truth be told, 70 seems a lot to me, so I’ve selected and edited 12 that I think could really make a difference in the coming year.
1. Resolved: I will do whatever I think will be most to God’s glory, and my own good, for as long as I live.
2. Resolved: I will never do anything, whether physically or spiritually, except what glorifies God. In fact, I resolve not only to this commitment, but I resolve not to even grieve and gripe about these things, if I can avoid it.
3. Resolved: I will live with all my might, while I do live.
4. Resolved: I will never do anything out of revenge.
5. Resolved: I will never speak evil of anyone, except if it is necessary for some real good.
6. Resolved: I will live in such a way, as I will wish I had done when I come to die.
7. Resolved: I will maintain the wisest and healthiest practices in my eating and drinking.
8. Resolved: I will never do anything, which if I saw another do, I would consider a just reason to despise him, or think in any way less of him.
9. Resolved: I will study the Scriptures so steadily, and so constantly, and so frequently, that it becomes evident, even obvious, to myself that my knowledge of them has grown.
10. Resolved: I will confess honestly to myself all that I find in myself, whether weakness or sin. And if it something that concerns my spiritual health, I will also confess the whole case to God, and implore him for all needed help.
11. Resolved: after afflictions, I will inquire in what ways I am now the better for having experienced them. What good have I received by them? What benefits and insights do I now have because of them?
12. Resolved: let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.