In 1738, at the beginning of a new year, literary giant Samuel Johnson wrote the following in his diary: “Oh Lord, enable me to redeem the time which I have spent in sloth.” Nineteen years later, Johnson would record the following: “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.” What’s interesting is that, every year following, he would write some variation of this prayer. Finally, 38 years after writing the first resolution, he would record the following: “When I look back upon the resolution of improvement and amendments which have, year after year, been made and broken, why do I try and resolve again? I try because reformation is necessary, and despair is criminal.”

As I came across this story some 246 years later, I couldn’t help but think that Johnson is simply describing the human condition. It’s easy to start each year thinking, “This is the year!” We resolve to turn over a new leaf – to stop bad habits and pick up better ones. And, truth be told, some of those resolutions stick and we succeed, but more often than not, many fall short.

So what should we remember as we look toward a brand new year? I’m glad you asked. The gospel is the good news announcing to us all of Jesus’ never ending devotion to us in spite of our inconsistent devotion to Him. There’s nothing you could do or say that would ever stop the Father from loving you. Look at what Paul says in Romans 8, “Neither height nor depth, or anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:39)

This is good news.

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