Maybe you’re like me and have no New Year’s resolutions given our past record on such resolutions have been rather abysmal. So, knowing myself, these thoughts from John Bunyan, written while he was in prison suffering for his faith, are ones I take into the New Year, so that I may be humble, vigilant, and faithful to my Savior Jesus Christ, through whose suffering and death, I have been made a new creation.
1. Of all the temptations that ever I met with in my life, to question the being of God, and truth of His gospel is the worst, and the worst to be borne; when this temptation comes, it takes away my girdle from me, and removeth the foundation from under me: Oh! I have often thought of that word, Have your loins girt about with truth; and of that, When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
2. Sometimes, when after sin committed, I have looked for sore chastisement from the hand of God, the very next that I have had from Him, hath been the discovery of His grace. Sometimes when I have been comforted, I have called myself a fool for my so sinking under trouble. And then again, when I have been cast down, I thought I was not wise, to give such way to comfort; with such strength and weight have both these been upon me.
3. I have wondered much at this one thing, that though God doth visit my soul with never so blessed a discovery of Himself, yet I have found again, that such hours have attended me afterwards, that I have been in my spirit so filled with darkness, that I could not so much as once conceive what that God and that comfort was, with which I have been refreshed.
4. I have sometimes seen more in a line of the Bible, than I could well tell how to stand under; and yet at another time, the whole Bible hath been to me as dry as a stick; or rather, My heart hath been so dead and dry unto it, that I could not conceive the refreshment, though I have looked it all over.
5. Of all fears, they are best that are made by the blood of Christ; and of all joy, that is the sweetest that is mixed with mourning over Christ: Oh! it is a goodly thing to be on our knees, with Christ in our arms, before God: I hope I know something of these things.
6. I find to this day seven abominations in my heart: 1. Inclining to unbelief; 2. Suddenly to forget the love and mercy that Christ manifesteth; 3. A leaning to the works of the law; 4. Wanderings and coldness in prayer; 5. To forget to watch for that I pray for; 6. Apt to murmur because I have no more, and yet ready to abuse what I have; 7. I can do none of those things which God commands me, but my corruptions will thrust in themselves. When I would do good, evil is present with me.
7. These things I continually see and feel, and am afflicted and oppressed with, yet the wisdom of God doth order them for my good: 1. They make me abhor myself; 2. They keep me from trusting my heart; 3. They convince me of the insufficiency of all inherent righteousness; 4. They show me the necessity of flying to Jesus; 5. They press me to pray unto God; 6. They show me the need I have to watch and be sober; 7. And provoke me to pray unto God, through Christ, to help me, and carry me through this world.