TIME magazine had an article in 2012 that listed the top ten commonly broken New Year’s Resolutions … here they are:
- Lose Weight and Get Fit
- Quit Smoking
- Learn Something New
- Eat Healthier and Diet
- Get Out of Debt and Save Money
- Spend More Time with Family
- Travel to New Places
- Be Less Stressed
- Drink Less
Personally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Still, that doesn’t mean that resolving to do things is a bad idea and I suppose January is as good a time as any to take stock in one’s life and resolve to do “better.” But what does that look like for the Christian?
Jonathan Edwards, an 18th century preacher and theologian, wrote a list of “Resolutions.” The entire list you will have to get off the internet, but here is his first and I think it is a better one for us to strive after than the ones TIME tells us we break year after year:
Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, 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 to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
The language isn’t the easiest, but the idea is that we would resolve, no matter how hard it is, (1) to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (“myriads of ages”), (2) to do things that truly benefit ourselves (and he is not talking about sinful pleasures, but rather those things that bring glory to God) and (3) to love our neighbor.
This is a resolution worth our regular consideration. Being less stressed, losing some weight, working on that debt may also be good things to strive for this year, but our stress and our weight and our money will not be with us forever … Let’s go after our chief end first … and live faithfully and gratefully in the joy of the knowledge that we belong to Christ, that our sins are forgiven, that eternal life is secured, and that God’s glory is forever. Happy New Year.