Continuing my review of the sites that I have linked to... {Edit 2013:  Many of these blogs no longer function.  However, I am keeping some of the posts because (I trust) the points these blogs are making, along with my reflections, are helpful.}

A few weeks ago, I posted on Prophetic Reformation {edit 2013: no longer exists}, a wonderful site "dedicated to bringing mature Christian praxis to the prophetic arena, encouraging a greater understanding of the role of the prophetic in the church, and to also address issues that are a concern to pastors and church leaders concerning the use and abuse (including neglect) of the prophetic gifts and ministry that have taken place over previous years."

The site has recently been updated and is as good as ever. Even more excellent articles. There is also another site linked to it, with the glorious title "the days are coming!" {Edit 2013:  blog no longer exists.}

In a recent visit, one particular set of articles really caught my attention. They are entitled "Hidden Agenda?" Acknowledging that we are all prone to the suspicion of others as to our real motives, Jon says, "We each have a personal calling (as well as a corporate one) to live before God in integrity, uprightness and obedience to the leading of His Spirit."

He goes on to explain the role of truth in giving an anchor to our hearts: "What I am discovering, very slowly, is that in my giftedness that my self esteem needs can only ever be met by recognising the truth. That truth, that I need to visit regularly, is that I am in Christ, forgiven, accepted and loved. Nothing I do will make God ever love me more than He already does. Soberingly, nothing I ever do will make Him love me less either. What an amazing Lord!"

Jon has a challenging page where he describes his own "hidden agenda" and then he shares with us Jonathan Edwards' own resolutions, which speak very powerfully. It is impossible to say which are more important but let me share those which leapt out of the screen at me:

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God' s glory, 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 to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

47. Resolved, to endeavor, to my utmost, to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented and easy, compassionate and generous, humble and meek, submissive and obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable and even, patient, moderate, forgiving and sincere temper; and to do at all times, what such a temper would lead me to; and to examine strictly, at the end of every week, whether I have done so.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age, say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what am I the better for them, and what I might have got by them.

Legalism or vision?

It might be argued - why have resolutions? If we are free in Christ, why impose upon oneself additional rules and regulations?

However, if we are devoted to the Lord then surely it must be our desire to please Him! Not with man-made rules, but with biblical goals for our lives. We should have a reason to live, and a way to live which is in line with God's word. We should "examine ourselves", and seek to be "transformed from glory to glory." If we can summarise scriptural commands by writing for ourselves "resolutions" then that is a good thing. It prevents drift. "Resolutions", surely, is simply another way of describing personal vision. It is saying "this is what I live for and this is what I intend to do with my life."

For me, I have a vision for my life and ministry, and that causes me to commit to certain things.

My vision

My vision is: "To see the glory of God in the transformation of the community in which I live, and the church [my local church and the wider body of Christ] fulfilling her calling to the nations."

My vision is also to have "a Christ-centred and worshipping church, where the people have a clear vision of God through His Word, experience and enjoy Him by the power of the Holy Spirit; a people who know who they are in Christ and are being conformed to His image; a people who are baptised in the Holy Spirit, being witnesses to Christ, and enjoying the full measure of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; and a people with a clear vision of what church is, who are seeking the Lord and serving Him here and in the nations."

These things give me a reason to get up in the morning! God has given me a purpose on the earth. From this purpose, a lifestyle naturally flows (or should, by His grace - I'm not perfect by any means).
  • Complete devotion to the Lord. A lifestyle of worship and intimacy with Him. Seeking to live well-pleasing to Him. Seeking His presence at all times.
  • Redeeming the time - every moment to be used wisely for the glory of God.
  • Diligence in the study of the truth. My main book is God's word, but also to feed on the centuries of the wise study of men and women of God from past and present. To grow in understanding, application and enjoyment of the truth.
  • To be a man of prayer - following in the footsteps of my Master. To pray for the people, the community and for revival. To pray with people for them to enjoy their inheritance in the Holy Spirit.
  • To examine myself and allow Him to search me and know me. To be ruthless in rooting out sinful acts, thoughts and words.
  • To seek to grow up in Him, not to settle for staying in the same place, but daily maturing.
  • To be a diligent teacher of the truth of God's word. To be passionate for the growth of the whole body.
  • To live a life of love. Loving Him first, and my family, then the wider household of faith and the world that the Lord Jesus loves.
I don't live up to these things and I thank the Lord that with Him there is forgiveness. But it is helpful to consider my ways before Him, knowing why am I here and how must I live to please Him. I can then apply myself with all the strength He supplies.

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