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Edwards on Broken Resolutions

January 7, 2013

Here’s a follow up from last week’s post. In these excerpts from Jonathan Edwards Diary he talks about the difficulties he faced keeping his resolutions. You can be encouraged that all spiritual giants face the same struggles in growth as we do. As Proverbs says, ” For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:” A righteous man will fall, but will get back up again. He will not wallow in his failure, but will climb back to his feet and continue to press forward. Most important to note is the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s work for any kind of spiritual growth to actually occur. Thanks to Nathan Busenitz for posting these selections.

“The last week I was sunk so low, that I fear it will be a long time before I am recovered. I fell exceedingly low in the weekly account [regarding keeping my resolutions]. I find my heart so deceitful, that I am almost discouraged from making any more resolutions. — Wherein have I been negligent in the week past; and how could I have done better, to help the dreadful low estate in which I am sunk?”

“I find, by experience, that, let me make resolutions, and do what I will, with never so many inventions, it is all nothing, and to no purpose at all, without the motions of the Spirit of God. . . . There [must be] no dependence on myself. Our resolutions may be at the highest one day, and yet, the next day, we may be in a miserable dead condition, not at all like the same person who resolved. So that it is to no purpose to resolve, except we depend on the grace of God. For, if it were not for his mere grace, one might be a very good man one day, and a very wicked one the next.” (January 2, 1722)

“It used to appear to me, that I had not much sin remaining; but now, I perceive that there are great remainders of sin. . . . Without the influences of the Spirit of God, the old serpent would begin to rouse up himself from his frozen state, and would come to life again.”(January 5, 1722)

“It seemed yesterday, the day before, and Saturday, that I should always retain the same resolutions to the same height. But alas! how soon do I decay! O how weak, how infirm, how unable to do anything of myself! What a poor inconsistent being! What a miserable wretch, without the assistance of the Spirit of God! While I stand, I am ready to think that I stand by my own strength, and upon my own legs; and I am ready to triumph over my spiritual enemies, as if it were I myself that caused them to flee: — when alas! I am but a poor infant, upheld by Jesus Christ; who holds me up, and gives me liberty to smile to see my enemies flee, when he drives them before me. And so I laugh, as though I myself did it, when it is only Jesus Christ leads me along, and fights himself against my enemies. And now the Lord has a little left me, how weak do I find myself! O let it teach me to depend less on myself, to be more humble, and to give more of the praise of my ability to Jesus Christ!”(January 15, 1722)

“I know, O Lord, that without thy help I shall fall, innumerable times, not withstanding all my resolutions, how often soever repeated.” (April 7, 1722)

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