It’s January 8 and I’ve already failed.

So how’s those New Year Resolutions coming along?

Me? I plead with Paul:

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want (like start exercising), but I do the very thing I hate (eat more donuts) . . . For I do not do the good I want (like pray more), but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing (like watching too much tv) . . . wrecthed man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death (that is prone to such weakness)? Romans 7:15b-19

Therefore, I take great comfort in what Tullian Tchividjian posted regarding an illustration of what it means to never stop trying to do better. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) journals his fight against sloth and to get up early in the morning to pray:

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.

So Don’t give up. Tomorrow is January 9!