Now, I've read Edwards' resolutions a number of times... and each time I'm gripped by them. There is a great spiritual power and insightfulness that I can't shake. Of the 70 or so resolutions, I'm always pierced by a good two-dozen or so in any reading. And then I'm humbled all the more when I realize this was a teenage boy writing this stuff!! I see how unexamined and undisciplined my life is when I read these resolutions. I lack resolve on too many things that I perhaps think are inconsequential that Edwards reminds me are actually of great spiritual importance. Even the very use of the word "resolve" speaks to me of a substantial concreteness, such that when I hear the word I'm aware of my gooeyness. Yep. I need resolve.
So, I'm resolved to study Edwards' resolutions--not necessarily to blindly accept them as my own but to more intentionally use them as a window onto my own soul and as food for thought. I won't do a post on them all, but I thought the discipline of writing these things down might aid my resolve. And, I thought the prayers and comments of others might be of help to me and to others needing to live more resolute lives.
So, here goes. Edwards writes:
1. 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 myriad ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good of mankind in general. Resolved so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
Okay... that's a three-fer. But I'm struck by the sweepingness of the statement: "do whatsoever," "my whole duration, without an consideration of time," "whatever difficulties... howmany soever, and how great soever."
Now if my excercise is more than lip service, keeping my heart far from the Lord, I can't just "amen" those statements. Without question, this is what the Lord of Hosts is entitled to; it's His due and my responsibility. No problems there.
The problem, if I'm honest, is in my heart. Maybe the absence of resolve is fundamentally a faint or cowardly or convencience and comfort seeking heart. And if Edwards' joining together of God's glory and my good is a correct coupling (that whatever leads to God's glory is for my highest good), and I think it is, the issue is more like faintheartedness and cowardliness. Were I even sufficiently motivated by my own desire for blessing and comfort (eternal), I'd have more resolve it seems.
I do want to see God receive all the glory due His name. I do want my entire life to be aimed directly at the center-mass of God's glory. I do want to do those things that lead to the blessing of mankind. Too often I don't want to do the whatsoever part. The whatsoever part suggests a holy out of control abandon for the things of God. Do I evidence that? In spurts maybe? On occassion perhaps? Daily resolved to do this with a specific and intentional plan for doing so and an alert flexibility that eagerly seizes opportunities as they arise while repenting of even the slightest hint of hesitant "consideration"? Definitely not -- yet! Yet! Yet!
Oh Lord, grant that all your people would be zealous for your glory at whatever cost and in whatever way you afford us! Grant that we would choose blessedness with hyou and the joy of basking in the glory of your presence over wimpy, faint, convenience-seeking settlements that are less than your highest praise and fame. Oh help us Lord!