Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jonathan Edwards and New Year's Resolutions

New Year's resolutions inevitably remind me of Jonathan Edwards.

Dude was intense.

He outlined 70 Resolutions to guide him in becoming a better, more holy person.

And even though, as a good Wesleyan, the "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" preacher Jonathan Edwards is probably one of the last people I'd choose as a life coach, some of these Resolutions really resonate with me. 

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
  • Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining and establishing peace
  • Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.
  • Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings. (This one would definitely come in handy when reading Facebook and blog comments...)
I appreciate that, instead of just saying "Be perfect," or "Don't screw up," he created seventy line items of ways to do that. And he committed to re-read them every week to remind himself of his goals. I'm a hugely goal-oriented person--I love the whole process of setting goals and the satisfaction of achieving them--and it's so important to make them realistic, manageable, and focused. 

I don't have a complete list for the year drafted, but some of my new year's goals include getting another piece published, doing more book reviews, and saving money for a house. Who knows, maybe I'll even try to read Jonathan Edwards's Resolutions every week too.

What are some of your goals for 2013?


  1. Keegan, I just wanted to suggest George Marsden's book on Jonathan Edwards. It's excellent. The short version is a quick read.
    In American Christianity G. Wacker told us that Jonathan Edwards wrote an ending to the "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" sermon which he did not preach. Apparently, his congregations reaction to the first part of the sermon was too hysterical. In short, he stopped before he got to grace. Just wanted to share since it's my favorite Edwards story. P.S. I love this post.

    1. That's really interesting, Angela! Thanks for sharing. I have never heard that part of the story before, but I think it certainly makes sense.