Okay, I’ll be honest: I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I have some insane hatred for them. It’s just that I don’t really make them. I don’t care to do so. That being said, throughout the year I do try to commit myself to achieving certain goals. For example, each year I read through the Bible: the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice. As a new pastor, when I read through a book I know I’m going to preach on, I outline the book as I read through it. Additionally, each day when I do my readings, I write down certain verses that catch my attention. I may even write down some observations about the surrounding context and make some application as well. Finally, I try to turn those points of application into a prayer to help me focus throughout the day.
Now maybe you’re saying, “But wait, that’s a resolution.” Perhaps. If I’m a walking hypocrite, I guess I’ll have to live with that. Either way, here’s the point I want to make: If you’re going to make a resolution, resolve to grow in your walk with God. Take steps to grow closer with him. I suppose some of you have heard about Jonathan Edwards, the great preacher and theologian of the Great Awakening. Maybe you’ve also heard about his 70 resolutions that he made (if I’m not mistaken) before he was 21 years old.
Just look at some of his resolutions:
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, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.
Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
Resolved, To examine carefully and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and so direct all my forces against it.
Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
Finally, here’s what he wrote in his diary when he was 19 years old:
“On January 12, 1723, I made a solemn dedication of myself to God, and wrote it down; giving up myself, and all that I had to God; to be for the future, in no respect, my own; to act as one that had no right to himself, in any respect. And solemnly vowed to take God for my whole portion and felicity; looking on nothing else, as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were; and his law for the constant rule of my obedience: engaging to fight against the world, the flesh and the devil, to the end of my life.” (Personal Narrative)
So, in the middle of all the resolutions we may or may not make this year, may we resolve to give ourselves to the Lord “promptly and sincerely,” as a great Reformer of the past once put it.
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim. 4:7-8).