Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions – #18

Resolved to live so, at all times, as I think is best in my most devout frames, and when I have the clearest notions of the things of the Gospel, and another world.

While this resolution is very similar to Resolution 17, in reading this resolution I had a very different train of thought. Instead of the mindset “thinking of this world will fuel us for lasting impact in this world” I thought to Hebrews 11:13 to those who “acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”

I then began thinking of the implications of what it means to be a stranger and exile, and what it means for us today.

It’s easy for many of us to be desensitized to our surroundings. Our rides to work are along the same route, take roughly the same amount of time, and the rides often become a “featureless corridor from home to work; a non-place where the mind drifts and we suddenly find ourselves arriving without having any memory of the journey” (from A Mis-Guide to Anywhere). When thinking of these implications, it’s easy to be so casually associated to your surroundings and completely miss the beauty in them.

The book mentioned above–A Mis-Guide to Anywhere–seeks to combat this mentality by providing various activities/tasks to see your typical surroundings (workplace, cities, transit, etc.) in a different perspective [if you’re interested, definitely check it out. There’s quite a bit of interesting things there which could spice up some of our [especially my own] routine-driven, sometimes repetitive lifestyle(s).

Anyways, back on point: I believe my thoughts jumped to this because as strangers and exiles we shouldn’t think of this place as home. Strangers see things around them as unfamiliar, they have a mentality of learning and seeking to understand from the people around them. I know for me this mentality is not present enough–and I’m all too often content to stay within my Christian sub-culture. Exiles are ones who have been displaced for one reason or another, but all the while they long to be reunited with their true home–no matter how “at home” they may be in their new location. With this in mind, remember that we are to live as exiles, aware that we have been cast out of the garden yet long to return to the shalom–the abiding fullness, rightness, and flourishing that God created us to experience with Him–of His presence.

Tying it all back to the Resolution, keeping our thoughts fixed on the Gospel and the “other World” (the one that is to come as promised in the Word of God) helps remind us that this world and these circumstances are not all there is. This should motivate us to live differently, learn differently, and perceive the world around us as something to marvel at.

Mark Batterson has a couple of quotes that I have found particularly helpful in this regard: “When a routine becomes routine, change the routine” (and)

“Change of pace + Change of place = Change of perspective”

When you force yourself to look at things differently and when you slow down enough to observe–truly observe–your surroundings, I think you’ll be surprised at the majesty in the mundane.

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