Franklin Graham Spotlights 18th-Century New Year's Resolution to Transform Lives, World

(Photo: Reuters/Allison Shelley)Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, addresses the crowd at the Festival of Hope, an evangelistic rally held at the national stadium in Port-au-Prince, January 9, 2011.

People make many New Year resolutions, but there's one that an 18th-century American preacher, Jonathan Edwards, made that could transform the lives of Christians and this world forever, evangelist Franklin Graham says.

"New Year's is well known as a time for resolutions," Graham writes in a Facebook post. "People make resolutions to lose weight, to spend more time at the gym, etc. Less than 10% of people actually keep them."

Graham, who leads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, then mentions a list of 70 powerful resolutions – not just for New Year's, but for a lifetime – composed by Jonathan Edwards, 18th century revivalist preacher who graduated from Yale University and was president of what is now Princeton University.

"If we could just keep the first one, our lives and this world would be forever transformed," Graham says.

The first resolution, Graham writes, states: "I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory…whatever difficulties I meet."

Graham then concludes by wishing his followers a Happy New Year. "My goal for 2016 is to live for God no matter what. How about you? Share this if you agree. And … Happy New Year!"

The full text of the first resolution reads: "Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever."

The list of resolutions include: "Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the forementioned things. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live."

The list begins with this statement: "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."