Maybe, one of the main reasons we fail in our resolutions is because they are not grounded in the glory of God. We establish them in our own footing and to our own end and for our own praise. In doing so, we do not establish them at all. As man fails, so will his resolve when it is not built on the foundation of Christ.
Jonathan Edwards recognized this. His resolutions were mindful of man’s weakness, dependent on God’s grace, and yielding to Christ’s glory. In his preamble to his famous resolutions, he wrote this:
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.
Mindful of Man’s Weakness
Edwards was no waster of words. He could say so much with so very little. Notice that he was “sensible” of his own weaknesses. This is to say that he perceived and appreciated his own finitude. He didn’t “think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Rom. 12:3). Rather, he thought with “sober judgement.” He sensed his frailty, experienced fragility and delicacy.
We can easily become ensnared by the self-help moguls of our day into thinking that we can do whatever it is we want if we just set our minds to it. And, though some of us can do a great deal, none of us can do anything righteous unless we do all these things through Christ (Phil. 4:13). We can do nothing without God’s help.
Dependent on God’s Grace
If we can do nothing good without God, then we must entreat the Lord for help. This is what Edwards did. He sought God’s grace to enable him to be resolved. He did so in humility. “I do humbly entreat him.” Humility is a disposition of dependence. It says to God, I am nothing in myself, but I can be something in you. Humility is the water in which the anchor of grace holds.
Recognizing our own frailty is only the first step in being resolved. In our recognition of our weakness, we must fall upon the throne of God and ask Him to grant us strength. The psalmist said, “My help comes from the Lord” (Ps. 121:2). We should say no less. We should cast ourselves at the foot of the Lord.
Yielding to Christ’s Glory
In our ignorance, we might entreat God for that which He has not permitted. The Lord loves His glory and shares it with no one. For it is the greatest thing in all existence. All things will glorify Him in one way or another—even our resolutions. Edwards knew that even when he recognized his weakness and depended on God’s strength, he would still need to resolve himself to the glory of Christ.
Resolutions that are inconsistent with the will of God will fail. So, “as they are agreeable to his will,” they will be suitable for God’s grace and fitting for Christ’s glory. God will enable us to do only that which aligns with His will. He will not help us otherwise. So, when you consider your resolution, submit it to the scrutiny of God’s wisdom and yield to what God desires.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6). When resolving yourself to some end, be mindful of your weakness, depend on God’s grace, and yield to Christ’s glory.