In my study of Jonathan Edwards, I came across a biographical section where the town he ministered in experienced a “mini” revival. Edwards wrote:
“The town seemed to be full of the presence of God; it never was so full of love, nor so full of joy….There were remarkable tokens of God’s presence in almost every house…everyone [was] earnestly intent on the public worship.”
I know I’m far from perfect; even my worship is tainted with sin and selfishness. I also know that God is not finished with me.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
Sanctification is a process. I want to do my part, as Edwards pursued in his Resolutions, to strive for holiness.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
Maximum Human Effort (MHE)!
With this post, I’m still setting the groundwork for my study of Edwards’ Resolutions. When I came across the quote I posted above, I instantly felt a void in my own life and worship. Unfortunately, I also see it around me in the corporate setting.
The question is: What am I going to do about it?
…it never was so full of love, nor so full of joy….everyone [was] earnestly intent on the public worship.
I don’t want my life to be described as unloving, without joy, or spiritually comatose.
Where is my love – for God, for my brothers and sisters in Christ, for the lost, for the Word of God?
Where is my joy – in Christ’s resurrection, in my salvation, in the living hope & inheritance I have been promised, in Christian fellowship?
Where is my worship – intense, vibrant, true, spiritual, holy, sanctified?
As I contemplate my response to these questions, I realize I have an opportunity even now to practice love, joy, and worship. In the personal setting which I find myself currently, I can implement the following actions, attitudes, and goals:
- Prayer – for lost family members and friends; for my brothers and sisters in Christ; for the sick, hurting, and dying; for church and government leadership; for missionaries spreading the gospel across the globe.
- For my brothers and sisters in Christ – for their growth in love for the Lord and each other; for their sanctification; for their needs, spiritual and physical.
- Personal application – studying the attributes of God (producing not only a greater love for Christ, but also a deeper humility in my heart as I live Coram Deo); rehearsing God’s grace in my salvation and sanctification; thanking the Lord for “every good thing given and every perfect gift.” (James 1:17)
- In salvation – recognizing God’s grace and mercy; praising God for His love for me; thanking God for His choosing me.
- In fellowship – giving thanks to God for His blessing me with the fellowship of like-minded believers; praying that their joy may be made full.
- In hope – finding joy and peace in my eternal future with Christ.
- Prayer – seeking to apply the various focuses of prayer: praise, adoration, thanksgiving, confession, and supplication; asking God for wisdom (James 1:5); pursuing God’s will and desiring Him above all else (Psalm 37:4-5).
- Bible Study – observing the big picture, taking in all of God’s inspired Word, both Old and New Testaments; striving to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus; seeking ways to apply what I learn in my daily walk.
- Meditation – taking my study of the Bible and thinking over it throughout the day; recalling everything the Lord has done for me; praising and praying from memorized Scripture.
- Music – orally and/or audibly, praising and thanking God through Christ-honoring music; surrounding myself with lyrics that promote sanctification and the giving of thanks and praise to God.
I find myself with the opportunity to practice these things corporately tomorrow evening at Bible study. I hope my striving for greater love, joy, and worship will be evident & contagious! I pray that God would use me as an instrument of grace in His hand to edify my brothers and sisters and to spur them on to love and good deeds!
I want to share my musings on Edwards’ Resolutions soon, but for now, I will merely post the text from the First Resolution:
1. Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
Soli Deo Gloria!