January 01, 2008

Resolved (Day 1)

As I was thinking what I wanted to do with The Jonah Syndrome around the first of the year, I had the idea of covering in detail and my thoughts on Jonathan Edwards 70 resolutions. A couple years ago I purchased the complete works of Edwards and have not been disappointed. While I am no where near progressing through them as I thought I would like, one of the first things I read was Edwards diary, his resolutions, and the essay written about him.

Turns out, I'm not the only one who likes Edwards resolutions. Justin Taylor linked to them here and Pulpit Magazine did a post on them as well.

But for the next 45+ days or so, I'm going to go through them here on the blog mainly for my own personal preparation for my Acts29 assessment at the Resurgence Conference in Seattle. However, I hope and pray that my reflections and interactions with them will be profitable for others as well. There are some that go together, as today's post will demonstrate. On those occasions I will list all "overlapping" resolutions so to speak. So without further adieu:

#1 – Resolved: That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, 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: so to do, whatever the difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

#2 – Resolved: To be continually endeavorouing to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the forementioned things.

#4 - Resolved: Never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God, nor be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.

So what the heck is Edwards trying to say?

I read these and hear this: Everything I do, I'm going to do what is purely for the glory of God, what is profitable for me, and whatever is good for my neighbor. No matter how much time it takes from me in this life and no matter how hard it is. And not only that, I'm going to be creative in thinking about ways to do it.

You know, as someone who desires to plant a church, this is refreshing for me. Focus is something I struggle with. This resolution hits home with me because I ramp up in the process of planting a church over the coming months, I am going to have be focused.

I'm going to have to have a filter by which I decide what I will do and what I won't do. And what I heard Edwards saying here is a challenge for me to ask the following questions:

  • Is what you're about to do for the glory of God?
  • Is what you're about to do going to bring you closer to Jesus?
  • Is what you're about to do going to help somebody other than yourself?

If the answer to any of those is no, then why am I doing it? Do you realize how much time we waste in life on stuff that just simply won't matter in eternity? It's frightening. And I think it's one of Satan's best ploys to hinder the spread of the Gospel. Occupy the troops with trinkets and toys while mass carnage occurs on the battlefield.

It's interesting to me that the first resolution listed would be on focus. It's also interesting to me that Edwards displays here a passion for creativity? How creative are you in your life? In your marriage? In your church? In your ministry? In your job? In your prayer life? In your Bible study?

Do we realize how destructive and stagnating routines can make us? God's mercies are new every day, and we should be to. We need to be creative. Why? Not for creativities sake. But rather, because when you think about how to do just the right thing in just the right way, you demonstrate the worth of object of your action or your words. And how can we say that God or others are valuable to us when we're interacting with them in exactly the same ways we did 30 years ago or 10 years ago and we have no desire to keep it fresh. Principles don't change. Methods and application do.

Two great resolutions to start with.

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