Sinful Introspection

Today I was listening to a podcast about what we can learn from Jonathan Edwards.

I love Jonathan Edwards. I am especially drawn to his resolutions. When he was a young man he came up with 70 resolutions for his life. They are a die hard commitment to a God glorifying life. Years ago, after first reading his resolutions, I came up with my own. I am a rule follower at heart so this kind of thing was right up my alley.

In this podcast, two Edwards scholars were asked about their take on the resolutions and if Christians today should make up their own. I was surprised to hear their responses.

They said no. They said these resolutions came from a time in Edwards’ life when he was full of youthful zeal for the Lord. This isn’t bad but later on in his life, Edwards realized that this kind of youthful zeal could easily turn into a prideful legalism.

One guy on the podcast said that Edwards can come across with these resolutions as someone expecting himself to live this super heroic Christian life. Edwards realized later that he was guilty of a kind of overemphasized introspection. It caused him to judge himself very severely. As he went along in life, Edwards learned more about living by grace.

I am very prone to this overemphasized introspection. What is this? It is looking inwardly at yourself, taking a microscope to your attitudes and actions, constantly seeing if you’re measuring up.

This is not the gospel. If we are saved by grace, we must live by grace. Let’s not try to take on the Holy Spirit’s job. He has promised to finish what he started. Philippians 1:6

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