Burden of Virtues

I told a friend that one of my goals for 2015 was to go through 13-week journal based on Ben Franklin's strive for virtue. Following Franklin's example, each week I'd focus on a specific virtue, and note how often I failed.

My friend's response: "That sounds really depressing."

He was positively correct. And as I'm getting to the end of the 13-weeks, I'm absolutely glad I went through this depressing exercise.

How the Journal Works

Ben Franklin's Virtues Journal (from the Art of Manliness) has multiple parts:
  1. A virtue of the week, including some modern day applications. 
  2. A scheme or schedule for each day. 
  3. A place to plan what good things you will do for that day. 
  4. A place to record what good things you did that day. 

If you don't have a way to record points 2 - 4, this journal is a handy tool to use. However, in my daily journaling time, I usually cover points #3 and 4. And I use a steno pad and Google calendar to plan my scheme for the day.

Note:  My latest time management technique is based on this Big-Medium-Little idea, though I modify it slightly.

The Burden of Virtues

Franklin's goal was to make himself more virtues by his own attention and efforts. Maybe it worked for him, but it hasn't for me. I find myself committing the same sins over and over. I fall short of my own standard of virtue, much less God's.

But my own weaknesses and failures are exactly why I'm glad I did this exercise. Instead of driving me toward self-righteousness, I have been pushed towards Jesus.

Over the past few months, I have realized more and more that I can never be perfectly virtuous / righteous / good on my own. I need Jesus' righteousness credited to me. And that is exactly what Jesus offered through His life, death, and resurrection.

"We have all become like one who is unclean, 
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. 
We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, 
like the wind, take us away."  (Isaiah 64:6)
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

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