Monday, July 15, 2013

How Jonathan Edwards Wrecked My Soul

That title is misleading. It needs to be more Edwardsean to be accurate. It should be titled How a Wrong-Headed Application of Jonathan Edwards Has Nearly Made Shipwreck of My Soul. Let me explain.

About seven years ago I read this Resolution of Jonathan Edwards:

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

Since that moment I have made it my ambition to not lose one moment of time for the glory of God. I have failed at this on numerous occasions. But one thing you could say about me is that I have been driven. I have been driven to take captive every moment in activity for God.

And it is wrecking my soul. Awe of God has been replaced by activity for God. I’m worn out and my joy in the Lord has faded. Activity for God, and even pursuing knowledge of Him, is not the same as savoring and treasuring Him.

What I failed to see is that Edwards’ prime resolution was this:

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 myriad’s 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 and how great soever.

For Edwards he wanted to take every moment captive to drink deeply of God. For me I wanted to take every moment captive to do stuff for God. There is a massive difference.

I wrote this on a notepad yesterday:

Maybe, smelling one rose and actually worshipping would do more for awe in my soul than a whole host of “doing great things for God”.

I’m slowly learning that the way to “improve every moment in the most profitable way I possibly can” is to find joy in God in whatever I am doing at any given moment. Edwards did not mean that we surrender joyous activity—like observing spiders—and get busy with “spiritual things” like Bible reading. What Edwards meant is that while we are doing things, like enjoying spider watching, we pursue joy in God. That’s how you improve a moment.

Last night I ate a bowl of grapes. They were really good. And I thought about how amazing it is that God would fill His creation with such tremendous things like grapes. And so I thanked God for giving us these little treasures. And I worshipped.

I think I’m learning.

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