John Piper on Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions

In Don’t Waste Your Life, Piper lists several of Edwards’ resolutions, which were written while Edwards was in his “early twenties to intensify his life for the glory of God.”

  • Resolution #5: “Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.”
  • Resolution #6: “Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.”
  • Resolution #17: “Resolved, that I will love so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.”
  • Resolution #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.”

This last resolution (#22) may strike us as blatantly self-centered, even dangerous, if we do not understand the deep connection in Edwards’s mind between the glory of God and the happiness of Christians. The violence he had in mind was what Jesus meant when he said in essence, “Better to gouge out your eye to kill lust and go to heaven than to make peace with sin and go to hell” (Matthew 5:29). And with regard to seeking his own happiness, keep in mind that Edwards was absolutely convinced that being happy in God was the way we glorify him. This was the reason we were created. Delighting in God was not a mere preference or option in life; it was our joyful duty and should be the single passion of our lives. Therefore to resolve to maximize his happiness in God was to resolve to show him more glorious than all other sources of happiness. Seeking happiness in God and glorifying God were the same.

–John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, p. 29-30

(For a complete list of Edwards’ resolutions, check out A Puritan’s Mind.)


About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

One Response to John Piper on Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions

  1. harmamae says:

    That is a very interesting thought. Too often I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking following God involves sacrifice and possible misery, and not happiness… because God can do what He wants with us. But I’m slowly learning it’s not that way at all…

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