“Miller recounts the valiant efforts of Samuel Johnson (a literary giant of the 18th century) to fight sloth and to get up early in the morning to pray. Taken from Johnson’s diary and prayer journal, Jack gives us a record–through the years–of Johnson’s life-long resolutions, failures, and frustrations:1738: He wrote, ‘Oh Lord, enable me to redeem the time which I have spent in sloth.’”
1757: (19 years later) “Oh mighty God, enable me to shake off sloth and redeem the time misspent in idleness and sin by diligent application of the days yet remaining.”
1759: (2 years later) “Enable me to shake off idleness and sloth.”
1761: “I have resolved until I have resolved that I am afraid to resolve again.”
1764: “My indolence since my last reception of the sacrament has sunk into grossest sluggishness. My purpose is from this time to avoid idleness and to rise early.”
1764: (5 months later) He resolves to rise early, “not later than 6 if I can.”
1765: “I purpose to rise at 8 because, though, I shall not rise early it will be much earlier than I now rise for I often lie until 2.”
1769: “I am not yet in a state to form any resolutions. I purpose and hope to rise early in the morning, by 8, and by degrees, at 6.”
1775: “When I look back upon resolution of improvement and amendments which have, year after year, been made and broken, why do I yet try to resolve again? I try because reformation is necessary and despair is criminal.” He resolves again to rise at 8.
1781: (3 years before his death) “I will not despair, help me, help me, oh my God.” He resolves to rise at 8 or sooner to avoid idleness.
I too am encouraging one and all to pray this year, but resolves have a way of falling short, and for this, we remember the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus. He never fell short, and though we will try and fail many times in 2012, my hope is never in my resolutions, but in Christ’s perfect record that our Heavenly Father allows me to call my own.
So, I’m thankful for the hope of change in the New Year, but I’ve been there before, so I am more, much more thankful for the gospel.
Happy New Year everyone.