Summary: New Year’s Message
Message Title: In with the New!
Scripture focus: Hebrews
Another year is just around the corner, and along with it are those that want to resolve or decide to change a certain way they do things or the way they conduct business, maybe even the way they treat their own family members. It seems to me a strange way to carry out one’s life; meaning that is to wait until the beginning of another ‘New Year’ to change something that should have been changed months or maybe years before. Yet, I don’t have to look very far to find such a fault. Usually we only have to look as far as the mirror to convince ourselves that some type of resolution is needed in our lives, however big or small it happens to be.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), pastor, missionary, philosopher, and theologian, is considered by many (including non-believers) to be the greatest mind that has ever come out of America. Yet, even he found fault within himself. In the Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1, we find the “Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.”
(from the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards)
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humble entreat Him, by His grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake. [I will] remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.
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 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, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
Resolved, Never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
Resolved, Never to do anything out of revenge.
Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one, so that it shall tend to his dishonour, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
Resolved, Never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession which I cannot hope God will accept.
Resolved, To ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month, and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better.
Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
Resolved, After afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them; what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.
Resolved, Always to do that which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak.
We could all do well by incorporating those resolutions into our lives. They speak to the very heart of the matter of the Christian life. They speak to the very foundation of Christian actions, words, and living. I would even venture to say that if you were to assimilate these resolutions of Mr. Edwards, your life in Christ would improve, because the entirety of his list, or at least a major portion of it, can be found in the Bible!
So, what is it that prompts someone even as brilliant as Jonathan Edwards to list out a ‘to resolve’ list for a New Year? Just looking at them on the calendar you can see that December 31st and January 1st are no different from each other, other than by name aren’t they? One day ends and another day begins? One year is finished and another begins. So why is there such a compulsion to change something in your life? When we look to the Bible we see many references that mention the need to change from the old to the new. I believe this teaching is the basis and foundation for the secular world’s current New Year’s resolution. I believe we can look to the Bible and find all the answers we need.
In the Bible we see a couple of prerequisites that are needed to formulate a New Year’s resolution: