Jonathan Edwards and Resolutions (53): The Pitfall of a Happy Frame of Mind
53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.
Happy New Year. Here's a resolution for you. It seems to be that Edwards would not just discipline himself to 'cast and venture [his] soul on the Lord Jesus Christ' in the bad times, but also in the good times and this is harder than you may think:
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:20-22)
24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
Literal wealth is certainly an appropriate takeaway from this passage, but I think the danger of this posture of trusting in yourself whether that be your own strength, health, security, and yes, your possessions are all appropriate applications from this passage.
Edwards seemed to know the potential pitfall of being in a 'best and happy frame of mind'. First, we should praise God for that frame of mind (it's not bad, it's good!), but we should be sure that we do not worship the gift instead of the Giver. Therefore, in a 'best and happy' frame of mind, Edwards put his trust in the Lord and intentionally devoted himself fully to Him. This is a sobering reminder in a culture hollowed out by trying to find gods in pleasure and happiness. We would do well to make Solomon's prayer our prayer:
8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God." (Proverbs 30:8-9)
May we find our happiness in our enjoyment of our Triune God alone. Then, we can enjoy gifts in a may that magnifies Christ.