Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month, and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better.
The inspiring words were penned by the Puritan Pastor in colonial America. Famed for his role in the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards is also known for his resolutions, drafted shortly before his twentieth birthday. Biographers tell us that what prompted the young Edwards to articulate his desire for godliness was a need for answered prayer. The Puritan was divided over serving God as a professor or answering the sacred call as a pastor.
It is the season for resolutions in post-colonial America, too. The New Year is here, bringing with it the uncertainties of last year. The need for godly living in an increasing secular culture calls for a revival of the eighteenth-century common practice of resolution-writing.
Resolved, with due diligence and discipline, to know the heart of my Savior that I might faithfully proclaim Him. This one is mine. I do not presume to have the intellectual and spiritual might of Edwards, but I do wish to imitate the man as he was an imitator of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). My first resolution this year is to know the heart of my Redeemer better than last year.
What better place to start than the seventeenth chapter of John? The gospel writer invites his readers to witness a sacred moment in history when God the Son pours out his heart to God the Father, hours before the crucifixion. There, Jesus utters what is known as “the high priestly prayer” at the end of his earthly ministry. John, presumably within earshot, records a preview of the current intercessory ministry of Jesus, a concept upon which the author of Hebrews later expands.
The hour of trial had come (John 17:1). Christ was about to bear the sins of humanity. Resolved to bring eternal life to undeserving sinners (John 17:2) Christ anticipated the completion of his redeeming work (John 17:4). Our precious Savior did not ask for deliverance; his heart was set upon finishing his mission. After interceding for current and future disciples he willingly proceeded to lay down his life.
Space limitation prevents a full extraction of all the riches of this text, but it is evident that John, under divine inspiration, wants his readers to know the heart of the God- man. Jesus’ unwavering commitment to glorify the Father is on display. Although the content of the prayer is not to be duplicated by believers (mutual divine glory belongs exclusively to the members of the Trinity), the prayerfulness of Christ should be perpetuated.
Do you still write resolutions?