Resolved, To be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, so that, in Prov. 20:6. ‘A faithful man, who can find?’ may not be partly fulfilled in me.
-Jonathan Edwards, Resolution #32, 1722 (written at age 19)
I’m not much for new year’s resolutions, mostly because they tend to be short sighted and short lived. I do think it’s wise to carefully consider how we have spent our time, and what changes we should make to our daily routines to best walk by faith. What if, instead of making new year’s resolutions, we identified key areas in which we are called to faithfulness by the Lord? To that end, following a line of thought from my friend Jonathan Edwards, I humbly submit these five commitments for your consideration:
1-Attend church faithfully
Failing to be faithful in our church attendance can only cause spiritual harm. It’s much harder to walk by faith without the weekly encouragement of the church body. In our culture, church attendance has serious competition: sleeping in, weekend chores, sports, travel, work, and much more.
What if this year we decided we weren’t going to miss church unless we were sick or legitimately could not move a work responsibility? We would grow in our knowledge of God, get to know the saints in our church better, and have greater spiritual awareness every week. There’s no down side.
2-Read your Bible regularly
Failing to read the Bible regularly isn’t so much an active cause of harm as it is a tragic missed opportunity. It’s like having a letter from a president or king, but choosing to ignore it. The God who created the universe and every person in it has chosen to reveal himself to us. In the Bible we learn who he is, who we are, and what he has done to accomplish our salvation. In the Bible we find essential instruction on how to think, speak, and act. Why wouldn’t we treasure his communication to us? Aren’t his words the most important?
Failing to pray unceasingly means God isn’t at the center of our worldview. To only think of prayer at meals or in worship services reveals a huge misunderstanding of his role in every aspect of our lives. Are you facing struggles at school or work? Pray. Are you dealing with a tough time at home? Pray. Are you wondering how to pay the bills? Pray. Are you rejoicing in a new birth or a milestone achieved? Pray.
4-Love your family sacrificially
Failing to love our families sacrificially is one way we unknowingly contribute to problems and stress in our homes. Spouses, sacrifice for each other. Children, put your siblings and parents first. Widows and widowers, reach out to your extended family. Singles, invest in your parents and siblings. We will never regret taking extra time and energy to serve our families.
5-Engage your vocation wholeheartedly
Failing to engage our vocation (work, school, daily tasks) wholeheartedly is a missed opportunity to show the glory of God to everyone around us. Imagine if you truly did your work as unto the Lord. Why go the extra mile on your homework? For God’s glory. Why work extra hard on that work project? For God’s glory. Why labor day in and day out cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry? For God’s glory.
To me, these aren’t “new year’s resolutions.” They are non-negotiable components of the Christian life. Having put our faith in Jesus, let’s strive for faithfulness in living for his purposes. Let’s take another cue from Edwards:
Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
-Jonathan Edwards, Resolution #6, 1721 (written at age 18)