Last year on the blog for the senior high youth group I posted a couple new year’s reflections from Jonathan Edwards. I dug them up to re-post here for two reasons: First, most of you didn’t see them last year, and second, they’re great food for thought for a new year. So here they are, with the intro I wrote in January of 2011…
Since this is the last day of 2010, it’s a great time to stop and think about the lives God gave us to live. One interesting fact about these lives is that God has given us time markers that divide them up into many smaller units of different sizes. Is there a clock ticking nearby you? Every tick is a fresh second to live. Everyday you fall asleep when it gets dark (the earth spins one more time). A month is ending in a few hours (another trip around for the moon).
Why did God do it this way? Maybe because He knew we would tend to just barrel on through life without realizing how much of it was passing and how we were spending it. So He gave us all these markers to remind us that we were in fact moving forward, even if we forget it. So when we hit a new year, we should take it as a signpost on the road of life. Maybe throw some questions at yourself, like: What does God see when He looks at my 2010? Should I continue on the same course in 2011? Are there any adjustments the Holy Spirit would have me make? Did I mean to live 2010 the way I did, or did I plan to do things differently?
And while you’re thinking over your own life, it may help you to read the thoughts of another young person. Jonathan Edwards was a Pastor in New England in the 1700s, born in 1703. On December 18, 1722 (when He was 19) he sat down and wrote 21 resolutions. But they weren’t new year’s resolutions; they were life resolutions. He wanted to set out the principles he would live by. As the days went by he kept adding to the list until he had 70. Many of them have all kinds of things to teach us about what it means to live a biblical and God-pleasing life. Over the next few days we’ll post some of them here for you to think about. Here are the first few, with his introduction:
“Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing 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. Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.
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 [that is, his whole life]; 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 difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
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.
5. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
6. Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.
7. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
14. Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.
16. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one, so that it shall tend to his dishonour, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
17. Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die. [This is amazing… think about what this means…]
18. Resolved, To live so, at all times, as I think is best in my most devout frames, and when I have the clearest notions of the things of the gospel, and another world. [In other words, he wants to always live like he wishes he lived when he was at his “spiritual peaks.”]
19. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour before I should hear the last trump.
21. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.
22. Resolved, To endeavour to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigour, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.