Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God, nor be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.
For a short resolution, this one really packs a lot of depth. Jonathan Edwards opens this up by talking about his desire and resolve to “never do any manner of thing.. but what tends to the glory of God.” Now one thing to notice hear, and I believe I said it in a previous post as well, is that this cannot be accomplish by our own strength. If we tend ourselves to our own power, we will never be able to submit our desires unto God for the sake of His glory being shone in and through us–it just won’t happen; we are too broken, too selfish, and too full of pride to let it happen by our own power. This will only happen as we lay down our own agenda and our weapons and allow God to take full reign of our lives–whatever implications that sets.
Another important thing I feel is necessary to point out in this first part is that he mentions “in soul or body.” Now, I know for me, that when I think of falling short of the Holiness of God, I immediately skip to the physical falling short–how I didn’t read my Bible as I ought to have, how I didn’t pray as I promised myself I would, how I’m not properly committing my time to Him throughout the days/weeks; but there is another spectrum which is extremely important to keep in mind and examine–and that is the devotion of the soul. How inclined are our motivations towards Him? How urgently are we pursuing His ways instead of our own? Now I want you to rest assured, I am in no way exempt from this conversation. I am preaching to myself on this just as much as I am making you aware of it, but I feel that God is bringing into question how committed to Him we truly are. This makes me think of a quote by C.T. Studd, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” If God is truly the God He says He is, and we believe that, then there is not only nothing in our lives which will come close in comparison, but we will live radically different lives than we are living right now–and, in turn, will be willing to risk anything, at any time, anywhere, in order to do whatever it takes to make His glory, His holiness, His sovereignty, and His righteousness known to all.
One last part I feel inclined to point out is at the end when Edwards says “nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.” Now this is a topic I will need to develop at another time, and I have a couple resources I can share with you if you’re interested in hearing this in more detail, but too often in our Christian lives we accept suffering, pain, hardship as solely from God. While God does use pain, hardship, and suffering in our lives to draw us to a deeper dependence in Him, He also wants us to overcome it, not merely accept all the division, difficulty, and confusion which the devil throws at us.
I am guilty of this as well, but too often do we encounter trials, and instead of rebuking it, or praying for God to strengthen us to endure through it and powerfully triumph, we say “God thanks for this trial”, when He may be asking us to overcome it! Yes, He is providing various trials for a purpose, but too often do we simply acknowledge it, and do nothing beyond that.
Like I said, I’d love to expand upon that more, and if you are interested let me know and I can follow up with you with further sermons/resources about that last part, but we’ll leave that as God leads it.
–May we leave today, and this week, with a resolve, a focus, and a determination to powerfully yield our lives to the power of the Spirit of God within us, not relying on ourselves, to make much of His glory, and His power in our lives, and all around us.