You cannot build a powerful legacy for God’s glory overnight, but you can certainly tear one apart overnight. As you begin thinking about the need to set goals, patterns, commitments, priorities, and yes—resolutions for the New Year, consider how one man did so when he was rather young. What has become known as the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards is a list of 70 commitments that were penned down from the time he was 18-20 years of age. The list is powerful and useful some 300 years after his ministry in New England.
What can we learn from Jonathan Edwards that will help us make 2019 count for the glory of God?
Edwards Loved the Bible
One of the great highlights of Edwards’ Resolutions is found at number twenty eight:
- 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.
Jonathan Edwards didn’t view the Bible as just another book. He placed it at the top and he not only had great respect for the Bible—he spent time digging, reading, memorizing, and studying the Word of God. This is a great example for all of us and it should likewise be humbling to consider that a mere eighteen year old young man once held such a great commitment to the Scriptures.
The key to Christian devotion and to walking with God is spending time with God in his Word. While there are many great devotionals and Bible studies out there on the market today, I would encourage you to consider a steady Bible reading guide that keeps you focused on Bible intake which will over time allow you to study the Bible with greater efficiency as you are able to call to memory what the text says.
One of my friends once spent a block of ten years reading sixteen chapters of the Bible each day. That practice enabled him to memorize large quantities of the Bible as he read it from cover to cover four times each year for ten straight years. People often comment on how much of the Bible he has committed to memory and ask him how he managed to accomplish this task and he points to a steady and consistent intake of Scripture as the foundation.
In 2019, I would encourage you to find a Bible reading schedule and work through the Scriptures on a daily basis with the goal to grow not only in your love for the Bible, but most importantly—in your love for God.
Edwards Left a Godly Legacy
At the beginning of the 20th century, a study was conducted upon Jonathan Edwards’ descendants. This is what they discovered:
From Edwards came:
- 300 clergymen (pastors, missionaries, theological professors)
- 110 lawyers
- 60+ physicians
- More than 60 authors of good books
- 30 judges
- 14 presidents of universities
- Numerous giants in American industry
- 18 holders of major public office
- 3 mayors of large cities
- 3 governors of states
- 3 U.S senators
- 1 chaplain of the U.S. Senate
- 1 vice president of the United States
Most of these people were not only great leaders, but they were great Christians. They can all be tranced back to one man, who committed to living for Christ and was diligent to the end. Jonathan Edwards preached the most famous sermon in American history known as, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” B.B. Warfield said that Edwards “stands out as the one figure of real greatness in the intellectual life of colonial America.” It was R.C. Sproul who once described Edwards’ work Freedom of the Will as “the most important theological work ever published in America.” Did this happen overnight? Was this an easy task? Absolutely not, but it was a steady pursuit of God that brought about an indelible mark on his own heart, his own family, and our nation as a whole.
As you consider the upcoming year and your own legacy for Christ, begin today with a step in the right direction for the glory of God. Always remember that it’s really easy to ruin a legacy and very difficult to build one for the glory of God. It’s never too late to walk in the right direction and make new commitments that will have a lasting impact on others in your family, and such a task begins with one step forward. You can’t do it in one day, but what will happen if you live for the next 365 days with a Christ-exalting purpose?
May God bless 2019 for his glory!