OT: The Truth about New Year Resolutions

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JRS | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Dec 31 2018 4:22 PM

How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee(Psa 65:4a)

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 4:29 PM

Ha! Sadly that’s the case for a lot of people 😂

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Erwin Stull, Sr. | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 5:01 PM

Smile Nice. I shared the cartoon. It's funny. Thanks.

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 7:30 PM

Keep Smiling Smile

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 1 2019 6:07 AM

Thanks for bringing a smile to my face. But it is sad that resolutions get such a bad rap.

On the positive side I'm inspired when I read Jonathan Edwards resolutions which serves as a good example. Below is a quote about this from The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards (pp. 36–40) which gives a brief overview. It is also in Logos - https://www.logos.com/product/28078/the-unwavering-resolve-of-jonathan-edwards

For this study, Edwards’ seventy resolutions will be organized around six main headings, which will be considered in chapters 4 through 9, respectively. They are as follows:

• Pursuing the Glory of God. As noted above, this was Edwards’ chief priority. Minkema writes, “Glorifying God in every thought, word, and deed” was paramount for Edwards. So important was this goal for him that he purposed to “do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory” (no. 1) and “to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote [the glory of God]” (no. 2). Edwards vowed “never to do any manner of thing … but what tends to the glory of God” (no. 4). Later, he added a pledge “never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God” (no. 27).

• Forsaking Sin. Edwards understood that if he was to glorify God, he must forsake sin. He pledged that if he should ever “fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of   p 37  these Resolutions,” he would repent (no. 3). He vowed to trace every iniquity “back … to the original cause” in his heart (no. 24). Edwards purposed “never to speak” what is improper “on the Lord’s day” (no. 38). In short, he was determined that his conscience should remain clean. With steadfast determination, he pledged “never to give over … [in] my fight with my corruptions” (no. 56), but “to confess frankly to myself … [and] to God” all sin within (no. 68).

Other resolutions concerned the restraint of his anger, apparently an area in which he felt a sharp need to gain mastery. Edwards purposed “never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings” (no. 15). He pledged that he would “endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good … temper” (no.47), and he determined, when suffering “provocations to ill-nature and anger, … [to strive to act] good-naturedly” (no. 59). Edwards was determined to resist sin in all its various forms in his life, especially anger.

• Making Proper Use of God-Allotted Time. It is clear that use of time was vitally important to Edwards because he positioned resolutions on this matter early in his list. As Claghorn observes, “His aim was to rise early, work late, and fill every moment with constructive activity.” Edwards pledged “never to lose one moment of time” (no. 5), purposing to “not give way to … listlessness, … [which] relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion” (no. 61).

Edwards was motivated to use his time well because he had a strong realization that he stood each moment on the   p 38  brink of eternity. He deliberately chose to think about “the common circumstances which attend death” (no. 9). He determined to live as he would in the hour “before I should hear the last trump” (no. 19) and as he would judge proper “when I come into the future world” (no. 50). He aimed to live without regrets, “supposing I live to old age” (no. 52). To promote this perspective, he resolved to imagine how he would live had he already seen “the happiness of heaven, and hell torments” (no. 55).

• Living with All His Being for the Lord. Edwards resolved “to live with all my might, while I do live” (no. 6). He vowed to “cast away” all that might steal his assurance (no. 26). Edwards also pledged himself to “study the Scriptures … steadily, constantly and frequently” (no. 28). And he committed himself to “strive to my utmost … to be brought … to a higher exercise of grace” (no. 30).

Edwards vowed he would regularly “renew the dedication of myself to God” (no. 42), that he would act as if he were “entirely and altogether God’s” (no. 43), and that “no other end but religion … [should] influence” him (no. 44). Further, Edwards determined that he would permit into his life only such “pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow” as would help his practice of “religion” (no. 45). Despite challenges, he resolved to “cast … my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ … [and] trust and confide in him” (no. 53). Edwards wrote that if there was “one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian,” he would strive “to be that one,   p 39  who should live in my time” (no. 63). With abandonment, he stated that he would “declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him” (no. 65). In summary, Edwards set himself to live a God-centered life focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Such abandonment to live to the fullest would necessitate even moderation in his diet. Edwards believed that God was to be glorified in everything, even in consuming food and drink (1 Cor. 10:31). Thus, he resolved “to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking” (no. 20), and he purposed to “inquire every night” whether he had acted “in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking” (no. 40). Even this mundane area of life must be managed for the glory of God.

• Pursuing Humility and Love. Edwards knew that he could not glorify God with pride or hatred in his heart. Therefore, he resolved to act “as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins … as others” (no. 8). Such a lifestyle, he recognized, would necessitate that he throw off “pride” and “vanity” (no. 12).
Further, Edwards purposed to demonstrate love toward others. Specifically, this included striving to live with “charity and liberality” (no. 13) and “never to do anything out of revenge” (no. 14), “never to speak evil of anyone” (no. 16), “never to say anything at all against anybody” improperly (no. 31), and to be always “making, maintaining and establishing peace” (no. 33). Further, Edwards pledged to exercise love toward his parents so as “never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother” (no. 46).
 

• Making Frequent Self-Examination. Edwards pledged to “examine carefully, and constantly” what caused him “to doubt of the love of God” (no. 25). He vowed to “inquire every night … what sin I have committed” (no. 37) and “to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year … [how he could have] done better” (no. 41). He specifically set himself to “examine strictly every week” his temper (no. 47). He pledged to look, with “strictest scrutiny,” into the condition of his soul for true “interest in Christ” (no. 48). If he feared misfortune, he determined to “examine whether I have done my duty” (no. 57). When his feelings were “out of order” or he was uneasy, he determined that he would “subject myself to the strictest examination” (no. 60).


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