Jonathan Edwards: New Year Resolutions

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This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Exodus 12:2

The first day of the New Year is a time when many people like to make New Year’s resolutions. Others, like Jonathan Edwards, make resolutions at any time of the year. Edwards was on the leading figures of the ‘Great Awakening’ revival in the 18th century America. As a young man he made a list of seventy resolutions. The first resolution on his list was, “Resolved, that I will do all I think or say to the glory of god and not to take into consideration my own comfort, profit or pleasure”. But his second resolution read, “Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull so as to neglect to keep any of these resolutions, I shall repent when I come to my senses again”. Apparently, he had a hunch that there was a good chance that at some point he would fail in keeping his resolutions.

At the turn of the year, rather than making a resolution, a much better course of action would be to lift our eyes to Christ. In Him there is no failure and to Him belong new beginnings! We see a hint of this in the first Passover night in Egypt, “This month shall be your beginnings of months” (Exodus 12:2). The sacrifice of the lambs in the homes that night marked a brand new beginning for the Israelites. They would be sheltered from judgment and they would begin their journey to a new land, a promised land. It was really a fresh start and their beginning as a new nation. All of their needs would be met throughout their journey. But it began with the shed blood of a lamb.

It is not resolutions that we need. We need to get a fresh look at the One who died for us. Resolutions are too easily broken due to the infirmity of our flesh. The ‘Preacher’ warned us, “Better not to vow than…..not to pay” (Eccl. 5:5). But Christ, who has saved us with His blood, will also sustain us and carry us all the way through.

Brian Reynolds