Be Thou My Vision-Our Resolution
Heart to Heart

Be Thou My Vision-Our Resolution
by Candy Summers

[Taken from my seminar at the North County Christian Home Educators meeting January 2006]

New Year’s Resolutions

 New Year’s resolutions always seemed so silly to me as I listened to others issue half-hearted resolves which they never fully intended to keep—often breaking them shortly after their profession. It was not until after I received God’s merciful grace when I began to realize the importance of resolutions as I strove for sanctification in my daily walk. So now I wonder if maybe New Year’s resolutions were the world’s take on godly men’s daily resolve to walk closer with God in keeping His ways. But in sharp contrast, contrary to the world’s understanding, resolution, by its very definition, requires great solemnity and determined commitment. For indeed, resolution means “the effect of fixed purpose; firmness, steadiness or constancy in execution, implying courage…” Whereas resolve means “to make certain; to fix in purpose; to determine in mind…”
 What is it, then, that Christians should “make certain; to determine in mind; and to fix in purpose”? What comes to my mind is Philippians 2:12-16: “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure…. prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…”
 Furthermore, God again exhorts us in 2 Peter 1:2-11: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or shortsighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”
 When reading this scripture, I particularly noted that if these qualities abound, neither would we be barren or fruitless, but if lacking these qualities, blindness or shortsightedness will most certainly engulf us; whereby God commands us to be diligent to make certain His calling and choosing us.
 God’s Word certainly cuts to the chase, doesn’t it? In essence it purifies our vision so that we clearly see our purpose here on earth. Therefore with this exhortation to be diligent in making certain of our calling, we understand why great men of God resolved: “to make certain; to fix in purpose; to determine in mind” to know that which pleased God so as to exalt Him in all their ways. In essence, they set their sights on their eternal destiny, making God their focal point in all they did.

Vision

 Vision is “the faculty of seeing; any thing which is the object of sight.” What is the object of our sight? Are our sights rightly set upon an eternity with God? Are we heading toward that mark?
 Recently we passed a church’s marquee, which read, “If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U turns.” Of course, I had to point out to our children that in truth, God does not allow U turns; He demands them! For scripture warns us that the way to heaven is straight and narrow, so either we are on it or we are not, and if we are not on it, then we are most certainly not following God.
 This past year, I heard a church’s advertisement for heaven, promising their listeners that if only they would believe on Jesus, they would inherit eternal life. What an injustice to those who do not know that whether they believe in Jesus or not, they will live eternally—either with God or apart from God. The world’s resolutions are easily made and easily broken because they heed not their eternal destiny. But we, who have set our sights firmly on our eternal abode with Christ, make solid resolutions according to His desire for what sort of man we should be and how we should spend what little time we have on this earth. Psalm 103:15-16: “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone.” 2 Peter 3:10-11,14: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed…what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…therefore…be diligent to be found by Him…spotless and blameless.”
 Ephesians 5:15-17: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Colossians 1:9,10 “…be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
 Since our character, the very substance of our soul, is measured and defined by our daily habits, we can rightly say that our life reflects our vision. Therefore, others, just by watching how we live our life—the decisions we make, how we spend our time, with whom we spend our time, the words we speak, and each of our actions—can most certainly identify whether we are blind and short sighted or living with a vision of our eternal destination.
 With this understanding, diligence must be applied to determine if our daily habits are in alignment with God’s Word, and if not, we must resolve to make the necessary changes, solemnly dedicating ourselves to fulfilling our resolutions. For as Peter tells us, this is the power of consecration in which we remain fruitful and useful. And just as fruit trees must be pruned to remain fruitful, so we must subject our minds, bodies, and souls to God, offering ourselves up as living sacrifices, purposing always to glorify Him. Romans 12:1,2: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
 Generally speaking, this is the scripture that defines the walk of those who are truly Christlike. For as Jon and I continue to study scriptures, along with the lives of the great men of God throughout history (so that we may see more clearly how we should live), a succession of common resolutions consistently remains visible among the people of God. They lived their life from the viewpoint of the open grave, realizing the momentariness of their earthly existence and the folly of pursuing the fleeting pleasures of life’s vanity. They possessed profound humility, continually grieving and mourning over their sins, which they knew dishonored God. They continued to repent of their sins. Their delight was in the law of the Lord, which they meditated upon day and night. They steadfastly resolved to live in total obedience to God’s Word. And by way of contrast, they all strongly held to the belief that if a man’s life was not transformed into the likeness of God’s holiness, then that life was not God’s, his profession false, and his religion in vain. Succinctly speaking, the men of God possessed a reverence for God, which manifested itself in their diligent resolve to live a life of holiness to please Him. David clearly exemplified a man after God’s own heart and set the standard for which God’s people should follow in Psalm 119—a place of great importance for gaining insight into a life led by God’s Holy Spirit.
 Like these men of old, once God imparted His Holy Spirit to Jon and me, as Peter so clearly states, it was His Divine Power that compelled us to please Him in everything we did. This then is the transforming truth of the indwelling of Christ. So in light of God’s Word then, and from the examples of those who have intimately walked with God, Jon and I have determined and thereby earnestly strive to live our lives in accordance with God’s design, making Jesus Christ the sole object of our affections, our time, our desires, and our business. Strive being the key action, for as Paul lamented, though the spirit be willing, the flesh is weak. The sad truth remains that as long as we live in these corrupted bodies in this fallen world, our flesh will be in constant opposition to God’s Spirit, making strategic warfare imperative. Therefore we take every precaution to avoid preoccupation with this world, which so quickly cloaks our heavenly sights, by filling our minds with God’s Word and hiding His precepts in our hearts. So it is that we concur with David, to hide God’s Word in our hearts that we may not sin against Thee. Thus by filling our hearts continuously with God, we leave far less room for the world’s temptations to entangle our hearts and consequently hinder us from fulfilling His purpose.
 As brethren who serve the same God, by the same measure and as a second guard of resistance, we must continually exhort one another by asking: For whom do we live our life? Is Jesus Christ the sole object of our affections, our time, our desires, and our business? Are we seeking fulfillment and contentment apart from God, or do we, like the songwriter, long after Thee? “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after Thee; You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship Thee. You alone are my strength, my shield; to You alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship You.”
 This song, along with “Amazing Grace,” always brings tears to Jon’s eyes because, like John Newton’s dramatic transformation, after spending 28 years in rebellion to God, once God drew Jon to Himself and saved a wretch like him, Jon resolved to make up for lost time by spending the rest of his life pleasing and serving Him. And I, before I met Jon, had also resolved to spend my life in total commitment to God. Consequently, Jon and I are always reading God’s Word along with the writings and sermons of the Reformers and the Puritan theologians whom we find have the most depth! Besides meditating on the truth that God impresses upon us, we constantly discuss them with each other and then impart them to our children.
 If Jon is working on an electrical job, he calls me at lunchtime to discuss his latest discoveries with me from Jonathan Edwards’s The True Believer, Jeremiah Burroughs’s Gospel Worship, Christopher Love’s The Penitent Pardoned, John Calvin’s The Mysteries of Godliness, The Westminster Confession of Faith, The Essentials of A.W. Pink, Stephen Charnock’s The Existence and Attributes of God, and on and on and on. (Those were the books that we studied awhile ago. Presently we are studying The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses, The Dominion Covenant, What Jesus Demands of the World, A Commentary on Micah, The Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence, and Speeches, and rereading The Scots Worthies and By His Standard.)
 During the day I am reading these books to the children, unless Jon is at home, then we take turns reading them to the children, which we continue to do at night, as well. Each of us reads the Bible and selected theological books a couple of hours on our own, too. And I personally also spend a considerable amount of time each day before the computer researching and typing in scriptures. When waiting for the children to finish up lawn jobs, I am continuously occupied with godly books, usually biographies and church history books, and then after everyone is in bed, I am working at the computer once again typing in scriptures, then end my day with godly works and prayer.
 Do you, too, concur with David in Psalm 63:1,2: “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.”

A Definitive Purpose

 When we ask our children what their purpose on earth is, they in unison respond with “Our purpose on earth is to glorify God and fully enjoy Him forever.” We then have them do a self- examination to determine if their daily habits are fulfilling their purpose.
 By way of contrast, if we labor at our own pursuits instead of His, we labor in vain, for the Lord clearly tells us that unless He builds the house, we labor in vain. In vain—to live without purpose, with no meaning, to waste one’s time for nothing, to be worthless—these immeasurable consequences call for careful consideration; therefore, we constantly focus our children’s minds to consider if their life’s work is pleasing, or if their life is being spent in vain—like pouring sand in a sieve or having everything we have labored for burned up in the end. That would truly be catastrophic.

Examine Ourselves

 Whom do we serve: God or Satan? Because if we are not serving God, then we are most certainly serving Satan. So who is our master? This can be easily ascertained by examining how we spend our time. Are we living our lives in such a way that our children see our obedience to God? Are we giving Him our best, our first, our all? Are we serving Him first, or are we placing everyone and everything else before Him and giving Him our leftovers? Are we hypocrites? Matthew 15:4-9: “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of me.’” Malachi 1:8: “‘But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?’ says the Lord of hosts.”
 Do we worship God in vain? Do we invalidate the Word of God by living according to our way of thinking instead of living as God commanded? When we call ourselves “Christian,” do we seriously consider that we are saying that we are like Christ? How did Christ spend His time? Actually, when He was not teaching those around Him, He was in communion with His heavenly Father. As we use His name, let us therefore wisely consider how we spend our time. Is our time emulating Christ’s time spent on earth? If not, let us cast aside all useless preoccupations and determine to use our time wisely, so as to represent Him faithfully.
 But we cannot discover our duty to our Sovereign unless we apply ourselves to searching out His mind presented forth in Holy Writ, which commands both our minds and wills to obey Him in all that we do. God’s Word was not only for the purpose of learning but also for doing, that we may be governed by it now and judged by it later. Therefore it is our manifest duty to search the scriptures, diligently applying ourselves with all our hearts, minds, and strength, not only to reading and meditating on it, but to further applying it to every facet of our lives. If we spend time reading and listening to expositions of the Word, but do not put it into practice in all that we do, we become like the man who forgets what he looks like once he turns away from his looking glass. The genuine Christian, on the other hand, not only hears Christ’s Words, but also lives by them.
 Do you and yours delight in the law of the Lord? For it is only in it that we can obtain the fullness of true happiness. Is it your family’s constant companion, counselor, commander, and chief friend? Do you earnestly pray for His Holy Spirit to reveal His truths to you and bring them to your remembrance throughout your days? Are you being perfected for every good work—the only work that is of any value and the only work that will not be burned up?

Making Careful Preparations

 Before launching on a long trip, I would dare say that most of us prudently research our destination, map out our path, and examine our vehicles to make certain that they are prepared for the journey, and when necessary, make the proper repairs and adjustments to assure the safe arrival of our families to the planned destination. Yet how ironic that we spend so much time preparing for a trip that lasts but a moment in time when compared to how negligently we attend to the well being of our family’s souls and their destination, which are unalterable once they pass on into eternity.
 In light of eternity, then, what are you doing to prepare your family for their destination? We are constantly reminding our children that every single thing that we do is either righteous or unrighteous, prudent or imprudent, valuable or worthless, followed by a loving exhortation to make the most of their fleeting time on this earth. It is most certainly true that we do not possess the power to save our own children, but we do possess the key to heaven, Jesus Christ, whom we constantly share with our children. It is true that there will be those who do not continue to follow our course, but our responsibility remains the same, regardless of the outcome.
 John 14:23,24: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.’”

Without Vision We Perish

 Since we are told that we will be engaged in constant spiritual warfare, as soldiers of the Cross, it is our duty to set our sights on our heavenly Commander-in-Chief who provides the only way for victory. For without a vision, our destiny is sealed because wandering aimlessly on the battlefield makes destruction eminent. So what’s the battle plan for victory?
 (1) Making God’s plan our own and abiding therein. Proverbs 29:18 KJV: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
 (2) Constantly checking our maneuvers to make certain that we do not deviate from His commands. Lamentations 3:40: “Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord.” Psalm 119:59,60: “I considered my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies. I hastened and did not delay to keep Your commandments.”
 To illustrate the importance of examining and probing our ways, let me compare it to a doctor’s examination. While most of us agree that we do not particularly appreciate these, we probably also agree that we prefer them to taking a chance that all is well when it might not be so. And if cancerous cells are found, I am fairly certain that most of us would direct our doctors to thoroughly examine and probe every nook and crevice of our body to identify and remove every life-threatening cell. So it is for the well being of every Christian that we examine and probe our ways to see if they are in alignment with God’s commands, and our duty as parents requires examination and probing into our children’s hearts as well—their thoughts, their motives, their secret sins.
 In keeping with our duty, Jon and I, therefore, help our children examine their lives and evaluate their actions with God’s Word, and where necessary, help them make resolutions to correct their present course, followed by daily and weekly evaluations of their successes and failures. If success is achieved, we praise God together. If failure occurs, confession of sin and prayer for victory is once again implemented. Furthermore, we share our own personal struggles and victories so that our children understand that this process continues throughout life, but most importantly, so that they are warned not to repeat the sins we have committed.
 We resolve to live our lives in obedience to God’s Word and dedicate ourselves to glorifying God, not just in word, but in deed, giving everything to God—our bodies, minds, possessions, and relationships—thus offering ourselves as living sacrifices. Striving to please Him in all our ways is the goal of every true believer. James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” James 2:17: “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”

Dads and Moms

 Before we make resolutions, each of us must examine our own lives in relation to our family’s to ascertain what resolutions are necessary to keep us on course. As dads and fathers, we must ask: Are we protecting our families from the influences of this world? Are we spending time each day leading our children into the green pasture of God’s Word and to the river of living water? Where are our families, and how are they spending their time? In what pastures are their minds grazing, and from which watering hole are they drinking? Are we leading our wives in God’s Word? Are we praying for them each day? Are we encouraging them in their walk?
 As mothers and as wives, are we encouraging, comforting, cultivating, and spiritually nurturing our family? Are we placing God’s Word first in our own lives and then first in our schooling? Are we teaching every subject from a biblical worldview, that is to teach it from God’s perspective, and then making it applicable to every facet of our children’s lives? Are we disciplining our children each day to follow God’s Word? How is our family spending their time? Are we teaching our children as God commanded, or have we relinquished that to others? Are we spending most of our time together as a family, or are peers and other adults influencing our children more than we are?
 As families, are we memorizing God’s Word together? Are we praying together each day, other than at meals? Are we exhorting each other to walk more in alignment with God’s Word? Are we making the most of our time to glorify God and serve Him?

Our Relationships

 Relationships wield a lot of power over our minds and actions; thus, it is imperative that we examine this area of our lives as well. So let us ask ourselves: Are our relationships outside our family honoring God? Can we concur with David that all our companions fear God and keep His Word? Psalm 119:63: “I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.”
 To reinforce this point, let me share that each of our relationships should be one of discipling, being discipled, or a combination thereof as iron sharpening iron. In light of this, we must ask ourselves these questions: Are our friends pointing us to walk closer with the Lord? Are our friends daily exhorting and encouraging us to sacrifice our selfish desires so as to serve God and our families? Are they pointing us toward our homes and toward our biblical responsibility of being leaders of our families (fathers) and keepers of our homes (mothers), or are they constantly encouraging us to do more activity outside our homes? For Amos 3:3 rightly says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
 Dads, are your friends leading, encouraging, and admonishing you to be sanctified, to love your wife, to train your children in the admonition of the Lord? Wives, are the other women around you leading you by their actions and encouraging you with their words to honor and submit to your husbands? By their example are they leading you home to be with your husband and children to provide them with lovely homes, lovely meals, and lovely companionship? Are you honored to call them your friend because of their commitment to God?
 Furthermore, are your children’s friends leading them to be obedient to you, their parents? Are your children’s friends leading them into the path of their Lord or into foolishness? Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, so it is far better for our children to be around adults than it is for them to be in the company of other fools, but even the adults in their lives ought to be mature Christians who set a righteous example.
 Many years ago, there was a woman who continued to invite our family to parties. As always, wherever we went we discussed God and His ways as they related to all things around us, but there was never any discourse between us about anything of spiritual value. Then a very crucial moment came when God’s light illuminated this relationship for what it really was. And it was this woman who said, “Candy, we have no theological common ground,” and she was so very right! For probably 15 years we had spent considerable time together, but never really had any theological common ground between us. We were literally worlds apart, yet I refused to face the truth and thus wasted the precious time God bought with His blood—for what, fun? And now in retrospect, I realize that the time spent wasn’t really that enjoyable because Jon and I are only really happy when we are able to discourse with others about what God is doing and has done and how we can better serve Him. What a valuable lesson this serves for myself and for my children. And you know what, God did a marvelous thing for us by separating us from this family.
 Throughout our lifetime, God has removed certain people from our lives, and although this sometimes included those whom we really liked, Jon and I continually praise God for every instance in which He has mercifully done this great work. For we can look back and see what a waste of time it was and what a detriment it could have been to us. When we reflect on the truth that it is much easier to pull someone down off the pinnacle than to lift someone up on the mount, we realize the great blessing of God’s merciful culling. Sounds rather harsh, doesn’t it? I can remember thinking the same thing many years ago when I heard a pastor’s New Year’s resolution to stop spending time with those who wasted his time and spend it only with those who were heeding the Gospel. As an immature Christian then, I thought it was harsh, too, yet now fully understand the wisdom of his resolution.
 Since our character is in part measured and defined by the people we associate with, ultimately, we must ascertain if the counsel and influence of our friends is godly, or maybe more importantly, we must ask ourselves if our friendships are approved by God, for He is the one who commands us not to be bound with unbelievers.
 2 Corinthians 6:14-18: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13: “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way, and the perverted mouth, I hate.”
 On the other hand, these truths apply to us as well. Can our friends say that we fear God and keep His Word? If we truly believe that every moment of our lives belongs to our Savior, then every moment with others should be in some way advancing His kingdom. So are we fulfilling our responsibility to others? Are we impacting those around us with God’s own Words even though it may not be politically expedient, or are we ashamed of the Gospel?
 Are we fearful of man and his thoughts about us, offending God by our words or lack thereof, rather than offending them? Let us remember that God’s commission to all His children is to make disciples and teach them to observe all that He commanded. So whether at home, in the business world, in the marketplace, in another’s home, in church, or along the way, it is our covenantal duty to impart truth.

God’s Plumbline

 Before we attempt to make any resolutions, though, let us be ever mindful of both our tendency to compare our actions with those around us instead of with God’s standards and our propensity to pride ourselves in the superiority of our piety compared to the world. Quite noticeably, compared to the world, most of us look pretty good. Unfortunately, this is particularly true of homeschooling families because just by keeping our children at home, we have a great advantage over the world, making our plight much more precarious. “…the complacency of fools shall destroy them” (Proverbs 1:32).
 After all, we reason, our children are not walking in the counsel of the wicked or standing in the path of sinners or sitting in the seat of scoffers. We may even pride ourselves on the fact that we have not exposed our children to much of the world because we do not allow them to watch television, or listen to rock music, or because we read a Bible story each day, or use a “Christian curriculum” or… This degenerate line of thinking leads us to rest on our laurels because compared to our instrument of measure, not only are we doing a marvelous job of parenting, but also our children are just great, when in the truth the stark reality of God’s plumbline exposes a far different conclusion in the eyes of God. And in fact, when we begin to enter into God’s presence, the closer we get to Him, the more His holy light reveals the terrible sin and negligence in our lives, thus efficaciously altering our perspective, so that we clearly see how dreadfully wretched we are, how pitifully feeble these attempts by themselves are, and how far off course we truly are compared to God’s will. Job, Isaiah, and Daniel all fell on their faces in God’s presence; let us humbly realize that our outward actions, although important and right, are not enough, in and of themselves.
 1 John 2:4-6: “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” Wow! To walk as He walked—blameless and upright!
 When the world commented on my lovely children, I used to say, “Oh, thank you, I homeschool.” Now I say, “Oh, thank you, it is by the grace of God! And I am thankful that He has allowed me to disciple my children in the admonition of His Word these past 27 years.”

Foremost Resolutions

 Our children’s first and foremost resolution should be to read God’s Word! Meditate upon it! Reflect upon it! Record it in their notebooks and their hearts! Diligently put it into practice! Jon not only holds our children accountable for their Bible reading, our children’s meditations on it, and their notes, but he has them to copy biblical truths from their Catechism each day so as to get them in the habit of thinking orderly about the doctrines of scripture. Moreover, he goes over them at night, having each of them look up and read the corresponding Bible verses once again with him.
 As parents, it is our solemn duty to train our children to revere the precious Words of our heavenly Father, to incline their ears to His Words, and to apply them to every facet of their lives. Only then will it be a light unto their path, so that their feet can walk in the course therein, that they may be equipped for every good work. Psalm 119:105,106: “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. I have sworn, and I will confirm it, that I will keep Your righteous ordinances.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
 Secondly, we must help our children in their resolution to incline their hearts and their ears to our instruction. As Jon always tells the children in our church, if you don’t listen to your parents whom you can see, you will never be able to hear your heavenly Father whom you cannot see. Indeed, God continuously commands children to treasure their parents’ instructions, with His guarantee that their obedience will bring them both wisdom and blessings “that it may be well with them.” To reinforce this command, from early childhood we have had our children practice running to us immediately after we called them so that they would be accustomed to make their heavenly Father’s business their foremost concern and duty—their immediate business—so that when He called them, they, like Samuel, were fully practiced to move directly in haste. And as God would call them into the paths of righteousness, they would immediately repent and reform their ways. Consider your children’s response to your calling. Do they respond immediately, or does the timing of their responses reflect the attitude that they will come when they are ready?
 I tried this only once with my father. It happened that I was sitting up in a tree with a new neighbor girl, much older and more sophisticated than I, when my father called for me. Normally I would have run to him as I was accustomed to doing, but this girl who sat alongside of me in this tree looked upon me as if my very existence in this new neighborhood rested upon this very response. Fearing man, instead of my father, both here and in heaven, I foolishly and rebelliously responded that I would come home when I was ready. I still shudder at the thought of my willful rebellion against my father, but ultimately against God.
 Trust me, when I say that when I finally went in to my father, he taught me a lesson that I have never forgotten, and rightly so, for what master would allow this overt rebellion from his servant? What king would allow this overt rebellion from any of his subjects? What employer would allow this rebellion from his employee? And what wise parent would allow this rebellion from his child? To this day, at forty-eight, I still heed my eighty-five-year-old father’s commands. Are you training your children to hear God and obey Him immediately? Delaying our obedience to fulfill our own desires is the greatest dishonor we can show to God.
 Parents often think that their child’s life is for child’s play, and although I am all for playing, I set my priorities in order. Foolishness is bound up in a child’s heart and must be driven far from him. This takes constant care and great diligence, for habits formed in youth rarely give way to godliness in later years. Youthful lusts and sins do not decrease all of a sudden when one becomes older and supposedly more mature. When a child is left in his sin, it forges another link in the chain that binds him to his master. Sin increases, not decreases, unless a thorough eradication takes place. It is far better and wiser to destroy the seedlings of sin before they become towering giants with roots of iron. I am all for allowing our children to run in the fields and woods, but a sapling allowed to sway in the wind will grow into a hard, crooked trunk that only an ax can fell. The world has encouraged parents to indulge their children in their youth before they take on the responsibility of adulthood. Yet this contemporary lie has turned our country’s young people into rebellious beasts who respect no authority and who indulge their lusts with everything imaginable. Let us take heed then that the longer we allow our children to delve in earthly things, the more earthly-minded they will become. If their little mind is not trained to look up, they will forever be bent toward the pleasures of this earth and eventually die with their heads in the gutter. How dreadful to be given a robust and strong beginning only to die in the gutter of sin and to be cast in the refuse pile.
 Life is serious business! So how are we training our children to live it out? While children are young, in the prime of their life, in the height of their vigor, should that not be the time to devote their best to their Lord in study and service? What our children are in their youth will most certainly be what they will become in their adulthood, except for a transformation from God. That is why it is absolutely vital to make the most of our time with our children in training them for the service of the Lord.
 God created us in His image and commanded us to take dominion over all the earth, over all His other creatures that we should order our lives according to His purposes so that our lives would have purpose in fulfilling His will. Not as those who are unfruitful, that while they were eating and drinking and living according to their own will and pleasures, the Son of Man returned to cast their worthless stubble into the fire. To live one’s entire life in opposition to the purpose for which we were created is a most miserable existence.
 What do we do when our fruit trees or our tomato vines bear no fruit? Being worthless for their purpose, we most certainly burn them. Yet if we, as God’s creations, do nothing but live our lives the way we see fit, not producing fruit for His kingdom, then we, too, deserve nothing more than these worthless, unfruitful creations in our own garden.
 Remember it is God who created us and upholds us by the power of His might, and any negligence of fulfilling our duty to give Him his full right to our lives is like robbing the King of His just dues. Have you ever impressed this truth upon your children? Every moment of our lives belongs to the Lord who bought us with the price of His own blood. He redeemed us; therefore, we owe everything to Him, including our minds, bodies, abilities, and time.
 With this understanding, Jon also has diligently adhered to reading a Proverb each night before we go to bed. Of course, there are certainly times in which we fail to do this, but a few nights of negligence does not deter us from getting back on track. Actually, Proverb’s thirty-one chapters make it perfect for daily readings, one for each day of the month, and perfect for leading us back on track. For when we miss a day or two, we just read the chapter that corresponds with that specific day’s date.
 Listen to the importance of Proverbs in Chapter 1:1-8: “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: to know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naïve, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

Sins and Resolutions

 After these resolutions have been firmly fixed upon the minds of our children and set in place in their daily habits, it then becomes necessary to turn our attention toward their hearts, giving daily attention, through our careful observations, to their actions, their attitudes, their eyes, their expressions, their responses, in essence, their motives. Often our overindulgent inclination overlooks our offspring’s sins, further implicating ourselves in this dangerous negligence of our most sacred duty by justifying their behaviors. Let us then avoid this parental propensity of making idols of our children, realizing that we harm ourselves and our children when we play Santa Claus, who winks at sin because after all, “they’re just children.”
 Love is sacrificial. It takes nailing our inclinations to the cross for the sake of bringing others to the knowledge of their sins so that they realize that they need a Savior, and consequently, a Lord. Let us then be diligent to adhere to our covenantal duty of training our children to honor and obey His commandments. After all they are His, not ours, whereby any slighting of what He requires dishonors Him. Sin is not something that is up for speculation. God’s Word speaks clearly to everything under the sun; we just need to use His holy light upon our children’s hearts to expose the sin therein. John 5:30: “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
 Therefore, let us be diligent to help our children examine their hearts and recognize their sins. Then we must require confession to us, and then on their knees before God, confession, repentance, and prayer for forgiveness and deliverance from Him. When our children are young, I think that it is best to show them how to confess, repent, and pray by doing it with them. Even as our children have grown older, though, there are many times that Jon and I still pray with them for deliverance. After prayer, help them set resolutions with a plan of action, but with the understanding, that apart from Christ, they are powerless to render any change that would justify them before God. John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” However, let us also realize that God calls all men to repent, and so even those who are not His need to be careful not to store up more wrath for themselves on the Day of Judgment. Acts 17:30,31: “…God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness…”
 Besides mother’s daily training, as heads of their families, it is vitally important that fathers hold their children accountable to themselves each day, as well. Jon will come home from work and ask the children how their day went, if they were victorious in their walk with God in overcoming whatever particular sin they may need help with at that time, and if they are faithfully fulfilling their resolutions. As an added protection and further source of encouragement, we also exhort our children to hold each other accountable. Family units are a marvelous outworking of God’s merciful and wise design in provision for each person’s sanctification. Personal and corporate evaluations are imperative for efficacious sanctification.
 To help your children make the necessary resolutions in response to their particular sins, to set goals and abide in them with determined commitment, consider the following suggestions. However, because of limited space and time, I have only listed a few ideas for each resolution, when in fact, there are many ways in which I would deal with these sins in my own children to help them practice the ways of righteousness, so consider these then as a partial, very incomplete list of ideas which only serve as a starting point for you. As always, use scriptures to reinforce each resolution. To help with this, I strongly recommend Doorpost’s For Instruction in Righteousness: A Topical Reference Guide for Biblical Child Training, which lists scriptures for most biblical principles.

A Child’s Resolutions

 1. Irreverent: I resolve to be reverent in word and action toward my parents. This is very serious because God requires children to honor their parents that it may be well with them. Have your children ask for your forgiveness and repeat either the word or action with reverence. Observe facial expressions, which often reveal an attitude not implied otherwise. The attitude of the heart is everything! Be most diligent with this command! Have your children go in prayer to humbly implore God’s forgiveness for this most horrid offense against Him and have them once again pray for deliverance.
 2. Disrespectful: I resolve to be humble, to honor and to respect others. When disrespect is shown, have your children ask for forgiveness, repeat their words or actions with respect, and then go to their room to pray once again for forgiveness and deliverance.
 3. Disobedient/Rebellious: I resolve to submit and obey. Explain that obedience comes from the heart, so unless their heart is in full accordance with the command, they are ultimately in rebellion because God looks upon the heart. Explain 1 Samuel 15:22,23: “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.” Define and read verses for rebellion and divination.
 4. Selfish: I resolve to become selfless, to sacrifice my own desires for God’s and for others as well, devoting myself to please God and my parents, and to help my parents and siblings. Give them examples of Jesus’ selfless love toward us. Give them plenty of daily opportunities to serve their family. Help them make a list of things they can do for each of their siblings and require them to put them into practice.
 5. Impatient: I resolve to be patient, to restrain my desires and to learn to wait. Do not indulge your child, but delay gratification so that they learn to wait. When my children were younger, when they became thirsty or hungry, we did not stop at the nearest fast food place to purchase drink or food, but instead trained them to wait until we arrived home. Restraining these basic needs are important, too. Have your children wait beside you, until you look to them to see what they need. Never allow them to abruptly interrupt your conversation with another, unless it is an emergency. Play games with the entire family so that they learn to wait patiently for their turn. When impatient during meals or for something else, have them wait until everyone else is served before you serve them.
 6. Discontent/Ungrateful/Covetedness: I resolve to be content, satisfied, and grateful. This is nothing more than selfishness and deserves diligent care. When this attitude is displayed, have them stop what they are doing and reflect on God’s goodness. At some point, help them list their blessings and keep them handy, so when they display discontentment or ungratefulness, they can look over their list of blessings and thank God for every one. Read about other’s trials, tribulations, and destitutions. Teach your children to see God’s blessings in all things, especially in trials. Read the story of Joseph. Give your children plenty of opportunities to be generous in gift giving, in serving desserts, in helping and giving to other family members. Do not allow this to go unchecked.
 7. Inattentive/Daydream: I resolve to be attentive, mindful, watchful, and focused on what my parents are telling me, to drop everything when I am called, and to make their wishes my highest priority. Constantly ask your children questions when reading, discussing, or teaching something. Have them keep a notebook for copying down important things that you say. Particularly say things quietly to train them to tune their ears to your words. Constantly help them to focus on the task at hand. Take away privileges if they fail to complete a task due to daydreaming.
 8. Foolish/Dramatic/Silly: I resolve to be wise, mature, and sober minded. Reprimand your children’s silliness. We do not want our children to grow up to be silly, foolish buffoons, so strongly discourage their foolishness. Make sure that your children consider before they speak. When they say something foolish, point out why it is foolish and help they think of something wise to say. Encourage them to emulate other’s poise and grace. Read stories to them about godly men and women who accomplished much for God’s kingdom.
 9. Doubleminded: I resolve to use scripture to determine right and wrong and to stand steadfast in His way. Help your children examine their decisions and hold them accountable to stand fast in truth and righteousness. Impress upon them that being tossed to and fro is a sign of an unregenerate heart. Teach them the importance of fearing God more than man.
 10. Gullible: I resolve to discern the fruit of others, to reflect upon their words and compare them with scripture. We shall know them by their fruit, not what appears at first, but over the long haul. Therefore, train your children to examine other’s words in light of God’s Word to determine truth. Use the story of Eve and the deception of the serpent to show the importance of reading scripture carefully so they know exactly what God says. Contrast the liberal media’s views with truth.
 11. Impetuous/Impulsive: I resolve to carefully consider before making decisions, to be prudent, to make wise judgments. Show the consequences of imprudence. Train your children to sit and think before taking action. If an impetuous action is made, stop them and send them to a chair to have them think about their decision and the consequence. Then have them carefully determine a more prudent course. Throughout their day, use the everyday moments that require decisions as lessons for teaching prudence.
 12. Overindulgent: I resolve to restrain, control, and discipline my lusts. Set reasonable limits on food intake, especially desserts, playing and resting. Do not allow your children’s lives to become singularly devoted to any one activity or sport. Help your children to be well rounded, with a variety of interests, but never solely obsessed with any one desire.
 13. Dishonest/Deceitful: I resolve to be honest. This is a serious sin, so impress upon them that liars will not enter God’s kingdom, nor are they welcome in your family. Let your children know that those who lie are truly traitors and cannot be trusted. Give them examples by calling them to eat when no food is ready. Tell them that you have a very special present for them when you do not. Allow them to think that they can play or have some special treat when they finish a task, only to tell them that you did not mean it. Then ask them how it feels to be deceived. This is a very serious offense and should be nipped in the bud immediately.
 14. Exaggerate: I resolve to be accurate and precise. Have your child avoid using words such as everybody, everything, always, many… Do not encourage exaggerated stories because you think your children are especially good storytellers. This in truth is lying and is not cute to God. Hold your children accountable to the facts and have them repeat things until they are accurate.
 15. Angry/Aggressive/Argumentative: I resolve to have self-control, to flee evil, to pray that God restrain my anger. This is all about selfishness and self-control. Parents should listen carefully to children’s arguments so that they can judge justly. Regardless of being wronged, though, children should learn to restrain their tempers so that they, like Cain, do not kill someone in anger. This needs to be dealt with immediately. Each of our children tried a temper tantrum once when they were around 18 months, but Jon picked them up and quickly spanked them most firmly. It was the last time they ever tried one again. However, tempers may continue to be dealt with in varying degrees even afterwards, so be diligent to hold them accountable for this sin. Hitting, screaming, and arguing are all manifestations of willful defiance, which needs to be brought under your submission. Nip it in the bud while they are young, or you will have an uncontrollable, dangerous teenager on your hands in a very few years.
 16. Unkind/Rude/Sarcastic/Teasing: I resolve to confess, repent, apologize; be courteous, kind, affectionate, tender, respectful, compassionate, and gentle; to edify and encourage. Have your children apologize for these sins and then have them say something edifying to the injured party followed by an act of kindness. Have them make lists of those things that they can praise in each other. Have them memorize Ephesians 4:29: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Train them to speak truth at all times so that others do not have to second-guess the meaning of their words. Sarcasm and teasing are really lies in disguise, so do not let this get started.
 17. Critical: I resolve to be merciful. Have them list things for which they can praise others.
 18. Inflexible: I resolve to be flexible, to show forbearance, and to be content in all things. Life is full of unexpected occurrences, so the sooner they learn to trust in God’s providential operation in their lives, the sooner they will learn contentedness in all things. Show them God’s wisdom in experiences contrary to your desires. Share Daniel, Joseph, and Jonah’s stories.
 19. Unforgiving/Revengeful: I resolve to forgive as Christ forgives. Look up the word forgiveness in the concordance and have your children copy corresponding verses. Do a thorough study of the sacrifices that were required in the Old Testament and the fullness of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins. List your children’s many sins and tell them that every one is worthy of death, but if they are His, God forgives them all. Point out the importance of the words in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lord, forgive us as we forgive our debtors.”
 20. Thoughtless/Dull: I resolve to be thoughtful, to be sensitive to others, to be considerate of other’s needs. Remind your children throughout the day to think of things that would be thoughtful for you and their siblings. Have them think of their grandparents by sending them cards or pictures. Have them do something special for an elderly relative or neighbor. Train them to look for ways in which they can help their family each day without being asked. Have them pick up other’s articles, clean other’s rooms, make each family member’s special dessert, paint pictures or make cards for them…
 21. Rough: I resolve to be gentle. Give them plenty of practice gently hugging their siblings, holding babies, helping elderly people, cleaning precious china...
 22. Competitive/Always Have to Be Right/Always Have to Win: I resolve to help others win, to work as a team. Give them tasks that require family team effort. Let them help the younger children win at games. Let them help them with school. Beat them at games and have them tell you how much they enjoyed playing with you.
 23.Greedy/Selfish: I resolve to be generous. Give your children plenty of opportunities to help, to share their things, to give their money to help those in need.
 24. Unfaithful: I resolve to be faithful, loyal, and steadfast, to defend. Show them how faithful Christ was even unto death. Read about the fidelity of honorable men like George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson… and their steadfast faithfulness to their duty to God and their fellow man even in the face of death.
 25. Anxious/Fearful: I resolve to trust God’s faithfulness. Constantly turn your child’s eyes to heaven. Teach them to pray constantly. Read Psalms with them. End their day with scripture and prayer.
 26. Irresponsible: I resolve to be responsible, to fulfill my duty, to remain steadfast during difficulties, to be reliable that others may count on me. Follow up to make sure that your children have completed their duties, having them redo them if needed.
 27. Careless: I resolve to be diligent, thorough, and meticulous. This just takes diligent observation to see that the child completes his tasks properly, and when carelessness is displayed, have them redo it right. Train them to pay attention to details and go beyond the actual request by giving more than required.
 28. Sloppy: I resolve to be neat and orderly. Essentially requires the same training as above.
 29. Lazy/Indolent: I resolve to be industrious. The reality of life is that he who does not work does not eat. If your children refuse to complete their responsibilities after numerous warnings, have them miss a meal. If dad does not work, we do not have money to purchase the food, and if we do not cook it, everyone will go hungry. Give all your children plenty of responsibilities. Even young children can dust chair and table legs, put things away, set the table, feed the animals, clean the bathroom sink, take out the trash, clean up their rooms, fold laundry...
 30. Procrastinate: I resolve to manage my time so as not to inconvenience others, to act quickly. Have your children practice coming quickly when called. Require your commands to be quickly and faithfully fulfilled. Have them learn to fulfill their duties and work before pleasure. If a task is not complete, delay play or meals until completed.
 31. Lustful: I resolve to keep my mind on pure and lovely things, to guard my eyes and ears, to flee evil, and to avoid idleness. Train your children to turn their heads away from billboards, magazine covers, and all forms of immodesty. Do not allow your children to be on their own without supervision. Keep them occupied. Do not allow them to listen to the radio, or watch television, or use the computer unsupervised. Better yet, just avoid these things. Our children are only allowed to listen to KSIV radio, and even then, we only allow them to hear certain broadcasts. We have not watched television for almost 18 years now, except to tape Andy Williams or watch special musicals on Channel Nine. And the children are only allowed to play a game on the computer about every two or three months, except when Sonia is helping me with something. And even with that kind of precaution, all of my children have been exposed to pictures and words that grieve my heart. So do not take this warning lightly. Parents cannot protect their children enough!
 32. Immodest/Excessive Primping: I resolve to dress in solitude, to keep myself properly covered, to look at myself only once in the morning after I am dressed, once before coming to the dinner table, and then before going somewhere outside our home, just to make certain that I am clean and neat.
 Once we determine our course, we need to make the necessary changes to stay on course and help our children to do the same. This requires just as much careful attention as maintaining a car on the road where one inattentive moment can thrust the entire family to their deaths.

A Generational Vision

 Many parents feel that their children need to determine their own course according to their own desires, yet isn’t this what Adam and Eve determined? They just did what they wanted to do, consequently bringing death to themselves and to everyone thereafter. What course have you set? But even more importantly, why? Is it based on your preference or on your convictions, on your imagination or on God’s Word? We personally expect our children to follow the course we have laid out for them even after we are dead. Why? Because it comes directly from God’s Word, so of course we expect them to follow it forever. It is from God. And as Abraham’s children, we are following his calling in Genesis 18:19: “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice…”
 To tell our children that they cannot do something as long as they are living under our roof or can do such and such when they are on their own is plain foolishness. For if it is wrong while they are under our roof, then it is wrong wherever they are—period. And if it is not wrong, then why not let them do it? So if we pattern our lives according to God’s blueprint, we should expect that the house be built accordingly, for He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Consequently, our children’s lives should not be dictated by the culture in which they live or by our foolish imaginations, but by the Word of God. Therefore, knowing full well that the course we are headed on is the right one, we expect our children to follow the course we have laid for them even after we are dead. This is a generational vision!

A Man Who Lived by This Blueprint

 While studying America’s greatest theologian, Jonathan Edwards, we came across 70 of his resolutions, which he penned while still a young man. These became the guiding principles of his life, and ones that I considered most thoughtful and wise to emulate, so I had the children copy them into their copybooks. The following are excerpts from Jonathan’s resolutions taken from The Life and Diary of David Brainerd Edited by Jonathan Edwards with a Biographical Sketch of the Life and Work of Jonathan Edwards by Philip E. Howard, Jr.
  “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.
 -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… Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good of mankind in general.
 -Resolved, Never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, but what tends to the glory of God…
 -Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
 -Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failing as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their feelings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
 -Resolved, To think much, on all occasions, of my own dying.
 -Resolved, When I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom and of hell.
 -Resolved, If I take delight in it (theorem in divinity) as a gratification of pride or vanity…immediately to throw it by.
 -Resolved, …to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
 -Resolved, Never to do anything out of revenge.
 -Resolved, Never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.
 -Resolved, Never to speak evil of anyone so that it shall tend to his dishonor…except for some real good.
 -Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
 -Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
 -Resolved, To endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world, as I possibly can….
 -Resolved, Whenever I do any conspicuously evil action to trace it back till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully to endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
 -Resolved, To study the Scriptures …steadily, constantly, and frequently…
 -Resolved, To strive every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise to grace than I was the week before.
 -Resolved, Never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind…
 -Resolved, To be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust…Proverbs 20:6 “A faithful man, who can find?”
 -Resolved, To inquire every night…Wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed…
 -Resolved, To ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month, and year, wherein I could possible, in any respect, have done better.
 -Resolved, Never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s…
 -Re solved, That no other end but religion shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be…any otherwise than the religious end will carry it.
 -Resolved, Never to allow the least measure of fretting or uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved, to suffer to effects of it, so much as in the least alterations of speech, or motion of my eye; and to be especially careful of it with respect to any of our family.
 -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 so done.
 -Resolved, Constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or not; that, when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this, to repent of.
 -Resolved…to trust and confide in Him, and consecrate myself wholly to Him….
 -Resolved, When I fear misfortunes and adversity, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it, and let the event be just as Providence orders it. I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin.
 -Resolved, Not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation; but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness, and benignity.
 -Resolved, Never to do anything but my duty, and then, according to Ephesians 6:6-8 to do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord and not to man; knowing that whatever good man doth, the same shall he receive from the Lord.
 -Resolved, Very much to exercise myself in this, all my life long, namely, with the greatest openness of which I am capable, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to Him, all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrow, fears, hopes, desires, and everything, and every circumstance….
 -Resolved, After afflictions, to inquire, What am I the better for them? What good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them?
 -Resolved, To confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help.”
 Jonathan also set aside days of fasting and prayer with the purpose of examining himself. Several of his diary entries during these appointed times of self-examination were included in this same book as shining examples of his diligence over his soul. Jonathan took sin seriously, therefore determinedly committing his life to God, as we should. Again these are excerpts from his separate entries.
 -“I have not, in times past, in my prayers, enough insisted on the glorifying of God in the world, on the advancement of the kingdom of Christ, the prosperity of the Church, and the good of man…
 -…Earnestly to seek at all times for religious conversation, and for those with whom I can at all times with profit and delight and with freedom, so converse.
 -I observe, that there are some evil habits which do increase and grow stronger, even in some good people, as they grow older, habits that much obscure the beauty of Christianity…which prevails when they are young in Christ, and, the evil dispositions having an unobserved control, the habit at last grows very strong, and commonly regulates the practice until death by this means, old Christians are very commonly, in some respects, more unreasonable than those who are young, I am afraid of contracting such habits, particularly of grudging to give, and to do, and of procrastinating.
 -I need gentleness.
 -To set apart days of meditation on particular subjects as, sometimes, to set apart a day for the consideration of the greatness of my sins, to consider the dreadfulness and certainty of the future misery of ungodly men…”
 Evident throughout these resolutions was his ardent desire to please the One who had redeemed his life. Christ was his vision.

Be Thou My Vision, O Lord

 May our vision be that of the beloved hymn:
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that thou art: Thou my best thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping thy presence my light. Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word; I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord: Thou my great Father, I thy true son, Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one. Riches I heed not, or man’s empty praise, I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord: Thou and thou only, first in my heart, High King of heaven, my treasure thou art. High King of heaven, my victory won, May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.”

God’s Final Direction

 Interestingly, after finishing this article, Sonia and I began organizing a myriad of my papers, and in the process ran across my prayer journal from 1979, just one year after my marriage to Jon. Ironically, I haven’t seen this journal or thought of it for years, yet God knew what a testimony it would be of His faithfulness in answering our prayers according to His will. God, then, found my entries to be a fitting end to this article; therefore, I will list a few of them here.
 Please note that each of my entries is followed by scripture. Even then I believed that unless the Lord build the house, I labor in vain, and only those things commissioned by God should be ardently pursued. Also, the things that I have italicized here were underlined in my journal. I am deleting the entries of specific prayers for marriages in trouble, comfort due to death, sanctification in life, peace to those who were dying.
 Entered on June 3, 1979
 1. Change me to be conformed to Your image. Romans 8:29: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
 2. Please let others be won when they observe my reverent and chaste behavior. 1 Peter 3:1,2: “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”
 3. Let everything I do reflect love of the truth. Titus 2:7: “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine…”
 4. Give me the wisdom that I lack in conduct and in speech. James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
 5. Let me love Jon unconditionally.
 
 June 4, 1979
 1. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me. Psalm 25:5: “Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.”
 2. Let me organize my daily hours so I can meditate on Your Word. Psalm 1:2: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night.”
 3. I admit to You, Lord, that I need to change. Help. Psalm 25:12: “What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way that he shall choose.”
 4. Guide me, Lord. Watch over me. Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shall go. I will guide thee with Mine eye.” Proverbs 1:3: “To receive instruction in wise behavior.” Proverbs 1:5: “A man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” Proverbs 1:8: “Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
 
 June 5, 1979
 1. Search me and know my heart; Know my thoughts and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23,24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
 2. Give me wisdom. Proverbs 2:3-6: “Yea if thou criest after knowledge and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understandeth the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
 3. Proverbs 1:10: “If sinners entice you, do not consent.” Proverbs 1:32: “For the waywardness of the naïve shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them.”

Remember, It Is God Who Is Faithful

 Let us remember that we can never successfully achieve anything on our own strength apart from God’s Holy Spirit, including our most determined resolutions. We must never trust in our flesh. But on the other hand, let us take encouragement in the fact that although we are weak, He is strong; and although we are unfaithful, He will never fail us. Another one of my entries displays this truth both through my struggle and my victory in keeping my resolutions. A Christian does not give up in the face of failure, but understanding his condition, looks to God for His strength.
  “Dear God, thank You for answering my prayers so quickly. Last week, I prayed to you on Wednesday, October 19, 1983 and begged You to give me a burning desire to search Your scriptures for Your mighty truths and restore the desire I had to know You more than anything. The following day on Thursday, Satan persecuted me and gave me feelings of doubt and rebellion, jealousy, fear, and depression. You, dear heavenly Father, restored my confidence by Friday, and on Sunday—Shoo Wee—did the desire of flame burn inside me. I was going full blast searching Your scriptures until 1:00 a.m., and I can hardly wait until tomorrow’s lessons. You have so much to teach me, Father. I’m sorry that I’ve wasted so much time. Please forgive me, and please keep this flame of desire burning.”
 God is so merciful and faithful to His children! This burning desire burns stronger with each passing year, for indeed, I spend most of my day in the scriptures and in books written by godly theologians, voraciously consuming about three books a week, while reading from many others each day as well. And even at this rate, it is not enough to satisfy my hunger for more of God’s precious truths. Praise God!
 And this last entry, which I am sharing with you now, makes we weep in gratitude for God’s magnificent mercy and faithfulness. Five months before I conceived my first child, I wrote: “Please find me a fulfilling, profitable job, dear Lord! Let me know what You want me to do. You know I love children and people.”
 Above this prayer I wrote, “Thank You, Father, for the most wonderful job I could ever want—to be mother, and to be wife and friend and lover of Jon!”

January 2007 Resolution

 And now Lord, with every breath I take, enable me to make the most of every moment with my children and with everyone else around me by teaching them to observe all that You have commanded. Be Thou My Vision always!