Making a resolution for 2007? Before you do, check out the resolutions of one of America's most celebrated pastors. Eric Reed shares with us Jonathan Edwards' effective resolutions.
Jonathan Edwards was a serious man. Even at 19, the young man who would become a leading figure in the First Great Awakening took his faith seriously. In several sittings over a one-year period, Edwards drafted 70 resolutions by which he governed his life and ministry.
For such a young man, he wrote a life's code that was amazingly well-rounded. He addressed personal spiritual growth and physical temperance, and matters of attitude, behavior, and relationship. Edwards wanted to live as if he had "already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments."
He pledged that he would "never speak anything but the pure and simple verity." "Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak." In a pledge that he would speak evil of no one, Edwards added the caveat, "except I have some particular good call for it."
Some might say Edwards was too serious. Although not in the Resolutions, his pledge to spend 13 hours a day in the study of Scripture isolated him from his congregation, and indulged his solitary nature and his tendency to melancholy. Some in his congregation complained about his absence from their daily lives - they were accustomed to the regular rounds of most parsons - but they could not complain about his moral integrity or his commitment to the pulpit. Edwards reviewed his code of ethics weekly, and subjected himself to rigorous spiritual examination.
His commitment "towards making, maintaining, establishing, and preserving peace" was ultimately tested when, after 23 years of ministry among them, Edwards was terminated by his congregation ...