Should Christians make spiritual resolutions for 2020? Are resolutions just an act of the flesh, trying to please God by our own works? And are resolutions even necessary, since God loves us despite our flaws?
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
— Romans 12:2
As a young man, Jonathan Edwards (1703-58, pastor, theologian, and revivalist) made a list of resolutions to help keep him focused in his pursuit of God. Edwards’ resolutions weren’t “New Year’s Resolutions;” he didn’t create them at the start of a new calendar year, and he added to them later in life. Nonetheless, his resolutions reveal the spirit of God in Romans 12:2 to renew our minds constantly. Here is a sampling of Edwards’ resolutions:
1. 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 myriad’s 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.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.
May the Spirit of God renew your heart and mind this day and each day as you seek His Kingdom come and His will done in the USA in 2020.
Yours in Christ,
Chuck Hetzler, Ph.D.
Senior Associate, Christian Union Day and Night