I was reading through the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards this week, and I must say I found them inspirational to say the least, and also very very convicting. Hard to believe he began writing them when he was only 19. I guess we live in a far less profound and thoughtful time.
I want to consider one of them today, specifically number 4 which reads:
“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 avoid it.”
How can anyone read that and not be moved in some way? How much progress would there be in our Christian walks? How much less needless suffering for doing unrighteousness would there be? But we trifle with silly things most of the time.
While I am writing this and thinking it through, I hear the echoes of my college training, the emphasis on balance, I remember sitting in classes and hearing things which would imply that men like William Carey, who gave up his life to minister in India, were wrong, and foolish. We live in an age which looks down upon fanaticism; we live in such a time of the church where radical sacrifice and effort is unexpected.
It’s like we have forgotten Christ’ words, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:38-39). Or the similar words in Luke, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it (9:23-24).
The first thing which springs to mind is sin. Sin is that which does not ‘tend to the glory of God’, this includes, laziness, slothfulness, indiscipline, not taking responsibility, not forgiving etc… But more then that it includes our idols, this is perhaps why John ends his first epistle with the warning to keep away from idols. What are our idols? Safety, comfort, entertainment, constant frivolousness, no desire to speak or even think about lofty things? Could these perhaps be why the church is so weak in is impact in the world for the sake of Christ and His Cross?
Ask yourself the question, when last did you deny yourself anything? Or like Cain do we give of what we can spare, just part of our time we have to offer, just a bit of our money we don’t need, just a little here and a little there, instead of having our lives soaked with the Glory of God as the whole theme, so that while we study, we do it to this end, that He may be glorified. While we work, to this end, that others might see our Christian witness and demeanor and glorify God, oh I could go on and use every example of all the conditions of life you may find yourself in.
Friends listen to the words of Paul and be resolved to do it and repent when you see yourself slacking, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.(1 Corinthians 10:31)” Remind yourself weekly, daily if need be, but don’t forget, this is our purpose on earth, and this is the most satisfying thing to be doing. To quote John Piper, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him”